RETIRED - Correct Coding - Definitions Used for Off-the-Shelf versus Custom Fitted Prefabricated Orthotics (Braces) - Revised

IMPORTANT: THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS OUTDATED INFORMATION.Content Provided on this page contains outdated information and instruction and should not be considered current. Noridian is providing this archived information for research purposes only. This archived article contains previously issued instructions that have since been updated or are no longer applicable for Medicare billing purposes.

Joint DME MAC Publication

As part of the 2014 HCPCS update codes were created describing certain off-the-shelf (OTS) orthotics. Some of these codes parallel codes for custom fitted versions of the same items. Refer to the appropriate Local Coverage Determination (LCD) for a list of codes.

When providing these items suppliers must:

  • Provide the product that is specified by the ordering physician, i.e. (1) type of orthosis and (2) method of fitting (OTS or custom fitted)
  • Be sure that the medical record justifies the need for the type of product and method of fitting
  • Be sure only to use the code that accurately reflects both the type of orthosis and the appropriate level of fitting
  • Have detailed documentation that justifies the code selected for custom fitted versus OTS codes)

The following definitions will be used for correct coding of these items.

Off-the-shelf (OTS) orthotics are:

  • Items that are prefabricated 
  • They may or may not be supplied as a kit that requires some assembly. Assembly of the item and/or installation of add-on components and/or the use of some basic materials in preparation of the item does not change classification from OTS to custom fitted 
  • OTS items require minimal self-adjustment for fitting at the time of delivery for appropriate use and do not require expertise in trimming, bending, molding, assembling, or customizing to fit an individual
  • This fitting does not require expertise of a certified orthotist or an individual who has equivalent specialized training in the provision of orthoses to fit the item to the individual beneficiary

The term "minimal self-adjustment" is defined at 42 CFR §414.402 as an adjustment the beneficiary, caretaker for the beneficiary, or supplier of the device can perform and that does not require the services of a certified orthotist (that is, an individual who is certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics, Inc., or by the Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification) or an individual who has specialized training.  For example, adjustment of straps and closures, bending or trimming for final fit or comfort (not all-inclusive) fall into this category.

Fabrication of an orthosis using CAD/CAM or similar technology without the creation of a positive model with minimal self-adjustment at delivery is considered as OTS.

Custom fitted orthotics are:

  • Devices that are prefabricated 
  • They may or may not be supplied as a kit that requires some assembly. Assembly of the item and/or installation of add-on components and/or the use of some basic materials in preparation of the item does not change classification from OTS to custom fitted 
  • Classification as custom fitted requires substantial modification for fitting at the time of delivery in order to provide an individualized fit, i.e., the item must be trimmed, bent, molded (with or without heat), or otherwise modified resulting in alterations beyond minimal self-adjustment 
  • This fitting at delivery does require expertise of a certified orthotist or an individual who has equivalent specialized training in the provision of orthosis to fit the item to the individual beneficiary

Substantial modification is defined as changes made to achieve an individualized fit of the item that requires the expertise of a certified orthotist or an individual who has equivalent specialized training in the provision of orthotics such as a physician, treating practitioner, an occupational therapist, or physical therapist in compliance with all applicable Federal and State licensure and regulatory requirements. A certified orthotist is defined as an individual who is certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics, Inc., or by the Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification.

Use of CAD/CAM or similar technology to create an orthosis without a positive model of the patient may be considered as custom fitted if the final fitting upon delivery to the patient requires substantial modification requiring expertise as described in this section. 

A certified orthotist is defined as an individual who is certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics, Inc., or by the Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification.

Kits are:

  • A collection of components, materials and parts that require further assembly before delivery of the final product 
  • The elements of a kit may be packaged and complete from a single source or may be an assemblage of separate components from multiple sources by the supplier

A summary classification algorithm is included at the end of this document to assist in determinations about the type of product and correct code selection.

Refer to the Contractor Supplier Manual, applicable Local Coverage Determination and related Policy Article for additional information about other coverage, coding and documentation requirements.

For questions about correct coding, contact the PDAC Contact Center at (877) 735-1326 during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday, or e-mail the PDAC by completing the DME PDAC Contact Form located on the PDAC website: https://www.dmepdac.com/.

Classification Algorithm – Overview of Criteria

Determining Proper Coding of Prefabricated Orthotics

The following question and answer relates to whether a prefabricated orthotic is properly billed using a code for a custom fitted orthotic versus one furnished off-the-shelf and does not address medical necessity for the item. The descriptors for the HCPCS codes for custom fitted orthotics include the following nomenclature:

  • Off-the-shelf (OTS) - Prefabricated item that requires minimal self-adjustment such as being trimmed, bent, molded, assembled, or otherwise adjusted to fit the beneficiary. Minimal self-adjustment does not require the expertise of a certified orthotist or an individual with equivalent expertise.
  • Custom fitted - Prefabricated item that requires substantial modification e.g., has been trimmed, bent, molded, assembled, or otherwise customized to fit a specific patient by certified orthotist or an individual with equivalent expertise.

Question:  Is the prefabricated orthotic furnished with custom fitting that is and can only be provided by an individual with expertise or furnished off-the-shelf (OTS)?

Answer:   Classification depends on (1) what must be done at final fitting and (2) who must do it.  Expertise of a qualified practitioner and substantial modification at the time of delivery qualify the items for classification as custom fitted.  Fail either one of these criteria and the item is classified as off-the-shelf.

 

Last Updated Wed, 05 Jun 2019 09:59:16 +0000