Medicare reimburses for procedures and services deemed “reasonable and necessary.” By statute, Medicare only may pay for items and services that are “reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury, or to improve the functioning of a malformed body member,” unless there is another statutory authorization for payment (e.g., colorectal cancer screening).1 Medical necessity is determined by evidence-based clinical standards of care, which guide the physician’s diagnostic and treatment process for certain patient populations, illnesses, or clinical circumstances.
Explore this issue:December 2008
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National Coverage Determinations
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) develop national coverage determinations (NCDs) through an evidence-based process with opportunities for public participation. In some cases, CMS’ own research is supplemented by an outside technology assessment and/or consultation with the Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC).