As part of the CY 2014 Medicare end stage renal disease (ESRD) prospective payment system (PPS) final rule, published on December 2, 2013, CMS has adopted updates to three Medicare durable medical equipment (DME), prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) policies.

  • 3-Year Minimum Lifetime Requirement (MLR).CMS previously issued regulations providing that, effective for items classified as DME after January 1, 2012, the item must have an expected life of at least 3 years to be considered “durable.” The final ESRD PPS rule clarifies the treatment of a “grandfathered item” classified as DME on or before January 1, 2012 if that product is subsequently modified (e.g., upgraded, refined, or reengineered). Specifically, effective April 1, 2014, if a grandfathered product is modified, and the modified product has an expected life that is shorter than that of the original product, the modified item will lose its grandfathered status and it will be subject to the 3-year MLR requirement. The impact of the loss of grandfathered status on coverage would depend on the new expected lifetime of the modified product. For instance, if a grandfathered product covered as DME prior to 2012 with a lifetime of four years is modified, resulting in a product with a lifetime of 2.5 years, this product would lose its grandfathered status and no longer meet the definition of DME because the 3-year MLR would not be met. On the other hand, if this modification reduced the lifetime of the product to 3.5 years, the product would lose its grandfathering status but would satisfy the 3-year rule and continue to meet the definition of DME.
  • Reclassification of Routinely-Purchased DME. The final clarifies the definition of routinely purchased equipment at §414.220(a)(2) to address inconsistencies in how CMS has classified certain expensive items as routinely purchased, rather than capped rental. CMS adopted its proposal to reclassify as capped rental items about 80 DME and DME accessory HCPCS codes added after 1989 that are currently classified as routinely purchased (although CMS agreed with commenters that E0760, Osteogenesis Ultrasound Stimulator, should remain classified as routinely purchased equipment). The complete list of codes subject to this provision is set forth in Table 11. The effective dates for the reclassifications are: (1) April 1, 2014, for items not included in DMEPOS competitive bidding (which is 3 months later than CMS initially proposed); (2) July 1, 2016, for (a) items furnished in all areas of the country if the item is included in a Round 2 competitive bidding program (CBP) and not in a Round 1 Recompete CBP, and (b) for items included in a Round 1 Recompete CBP but furnished in an area other than one of the nine Round 1 Recompete areas; and (3) January 1, 2017, for items included in a Round 1 Recompete CBP and furnished in one of the nine Round 1 Recompete areas. 
  • Fee Schedules for Splints, Casts, and Certain IOLs. CMS has adopted its proposal to implement on a budget-neutral basis Medicare fee schedules for splints and casts, and intraocular lenses (IOLs) inserted in a physician’s office. This provision is effective for services furnished on or after April 1, 2014. In future years, the fee schedule amounts will be updated by the percentage increase in the CPI-U for the 12-month period ending with June of the preceding year, reduced by the multifactor productivity adjustment.

CMS also has adopted certain technical amendments to DMEPOS payment regulations.