Coverage Reminder - Safety Lancets Non-covered

Posted August 30, 2013

Questions about Medicare coverage of safety lancets used in assisted living facilities have recently arisen. Safety Lancets are devices used to obtain samples for conducting blood glucose monitoring. They are safety-engineered with features designed to safeguard users from blood-borne pathogens. The DME MACs have been told that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require that residential settings, such as group homes or assisted living facilities, provide lancets with safety-engineered features in order to safeguard their employees.

Safety lancets are considered to be precautionary items (i.e. they are necessary for the safety of the user when assisting a patient in using a home blood glucose monitor) and are not covered regardless of the setting or who is making use of them. Safety lancets are not needed in order to avoid an adverse medical outcome on the beneficiary who requires the test and are therefore not needed for the beneficiary's personal home blood glucose monitor to function. Services provided in group homes, assisted living facilities, and other similar residential facilities that furnish personal assistance or custodial care are not covered by Medicare. The cost of furnishing safety lancets in order to safeguard employees is part of the cost of providing assisted living services and is the responsibility of the facility. DMEPOS suppliers are not required to furnish safety lancets under Medicare payment rules since these items fall outside the scope of the DME benefit.

Refer to the Glucose Monitors Local Coverage Determination and the related Policy Article for additional information.

Last Updated May 31 , 2017