Highmark Commercial Medical Policy - Pennsylvania

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Medical Policy: E-38-021
Topic: Continuous Rental of Life Sustaining Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
Section: Durable Medical Equipment
Effective Date: June 25, 2018
Issue Date: June 25, 2018
Last Reviewed: May 2018

This policy presents life sustaining DME items that may be rented continuously as long as the need exists for the equipment

This policy is designed to address medical guidelines that are appropriate for the majority of individuals with a particular disease, illness, or condition. Each person's unique clinical circumstances may warrant individual consideration, based on review of applicable medical records.

Policy Position Coverage is subject to the specific terms of the member’s benefit plan.

While some items of durable medical equipment (DME) are for purchase only, numerous DME items can be rented or purchased. However, when an item of DME is rented, the total rental payments may not exceed the allowable purchase price of the item, unless the item has been identified as life sustaining DME. Life sustaining DME items can be continuously rented as long as the need exists for the equipment.

The following items are identified as life sustaining DME:

  • Air Fluidized beds
  • Portable gaseous oxygen system
  • Portable liquid oxygen system
  • Stationary liquid oxygen system
  • Volume control ventilator (invasive or non-invasive)
  • Negative pressure ventilator
  • Pressure support ventilator (invasive or non-invasive)
  • Respiratory assist device (invasive or non-invasive)
  • Oxygen concentrator
  • Portable oxygen concentrator
  • Portable gaseous oxygen system; home compressor used to fill cylinders
Procedure Codes
E0194, E0431, E0433, E0434, E0439, E0465, E0466, E0472, E1390, E1391, E1392, K0738

Refer to medical policy E-25 Home Pulse Oximetry Device for additional information.

Place of Service: Inpatient/Outpatient

Experimental/Investigational (E/I) services are not covered regardless of place of service.

Continuous Rental of Life Sustaining Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is typically an outpatient procedure which is only eligible for coverage as an inpatient procedure in special circumstances, including, but not limited to, the presence of a co-morbid condition that would require monitoring in a more controlled environment such as the inpatient setting.

The policy position applies to all commercial lines of business

Denial Statements


Medical policies do not constitute medical advice, nor are they intended to govern the practice of medicine. They are intended to reflect Highmark's reimbursement and coverage guidelines. Coverage for services may vary for individual members, based on the terms of the benefit contract.

Discrimination is Against the Law
The Claims Administrator/Insurer complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. The Claims Administrator/Insurer does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. The Claims Administrator/ Insurer:
  • Provides free aids and services to people with disabilities to communicate effectively with us, such as:
    • Qualified sign language interpreters
    • Written information in other formats (large print, audio, accessible electronic formats, other formats)
  • Provides free language services to people whose primary language is not English, such as:
    • Qualified interpreters
    • Information written in other languages
If you need these services, contact the Civil Rights Coordinator.

If you believe that the Claims Administrator/Insurer has failed to provide these services or discriminated in another way on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, you can file a grievance with: Civil Rights Coordinator, P.O. Box 22492, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, Phone: 1-866-286-8295, TTY: 711, Fax: 412-544-2475, email: CivilRightsCoordinator@highmarkhealth.org. You can file a grievance in person or by mail, fax, or email. If you need help filing a grievance, the Civil Rights Coordinator is available to help you.

You can also file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal, available at https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/portal/lobby.jsf, or by mail or phone at:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
1-800-368-1019, 800-537-7697 (TDD)

Complaint forms are available at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/file/index.html.

Insurance or benefit/claims administration may be provided by Highmark, Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Coverage Advantage, Highmark Health Insurance Company, First Priority Life Insurance Company, First Priority Health, Highmark Benefits Group, Highmark Select Resources, Highmark Senior Solutions Company or Highmark Senior Health Company, all of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

Highmark retains the right to review and update its medical policy guidelines at its sole discretion. These guidelines are the proprietary information of Highmark. Any sale, copying or dissemination of the medical policies is prohibited; however, limited copying of medical policies is permitted for individual use.

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