Highmark Commercial Medical Policy - Pennsylvania

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Medical Policy: S-155-024
Topic: Gastric Electrical Stimulation, Gastric Pacing
Section: Surgery
Effective Date: April 9, 2018
Issue Date: July 23, 2018
Last Reviewed: June 2018

Gastric electrical stimulation is performed using an implantable device designed to treat chronic drug-refractory nausea and vomiting secondary to gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic etiology. The procedure may also be referred to as gastric pacing or Enterra Therapy.

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.

Gastric Electrical Stimulation may be considered medically necessary when ALL of the following criteria are met:

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated the device as a Humanitarian Use Device (HUD); and
  • The FDA has approved the device for marketing under the Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE); and
  • The device has local Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval; and
  • Appropriate informed consent has been obtained from the individual; and
  • The device is not specifically excluded from coverage.
Procedure Codes
43647, 43648, 43881, 43882

Gastric electrical stimulation may be considered medically necessary when provided in accordance with the HDE specifications of the FDA for the treatment of chronic intractable nausea and vomiting secondary to severe gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic etiology when ALL of the following criteria are met:

    • Significant delayed gastric emptying as documented by standard scintigraphic imaging of solid food; and
    • Individual is refractory to or intolerant of at least two (2) anti-emetic and prokinetic drug classes; and
    • No mechanical obstruction is found on diagnostic testing; and
    • Individual's nutritional status is sufficiently low that ALL of the following criteria for total parenteral nutrition are met: 
      • Adequate trials of dietary adjustment, oral supplements, or tube enteral nutrition have been demonstrated that the individual can receive less than or equal to 30% of his/her caloric needs orally and/or tube; and
      • The individual must be in a stage of wasting as indicated by:
        • Weight loss greater than 10% within six (6) months; and
        • Serum albumin is less than 3.4 grams; and
        • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) level is less than ten (10) mg; and
        • Phosphorus level is less than 2.5 mg (normal phosphorous is 3-4.5 mg).

Gastric electrical stimulation is considered experimental/investigational and, therefore, non-covered for all other indications including, but not limited to, initial treatment of gastroparesis and treatment of obesity. The safety and/or effectiveness of this service cannot be established by review of the available published literature.


Procedure Codes
43647, 43648, 43881, 43882, 64590, 64595, 95980, 95981, 95982

Refer to medical policy G-24 Obesity for additional information.

Place of Service: Inpatient/Outpatient

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

Gastric Electrical Stimulation 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

Services that do not meet the criteria of this policy will be considered experimental/investigational (E/I). A network provider can bill the member for the experimental/investigational service. The provider must give advance written notice informing the member that the service has been deemed E/I. The member must be provided with an estimate of the cost and the member must agree in writing to assume financial responsibility in advance of receiving the service. The signed agreement must be maintained in the provider’s records.

Outpatient HCPCS (C Codes)

C1767 C1778    


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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