HIGHMARK COMMERCIAL MEDICAL POLICY - PENNSYLVANIA

 
 

Medical Policy:
G-26-008
Topic:
Electroconvulsive Therapy
Section:
Miscellaneous
Effective Date:
October 1, 2018
Issued Date:
October 1, 2018
Last Revision Date:
September 2018
Annual Review:
June 2017
 
 

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a standard psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced in patients to provide relief from psychiatric illnesses. ECT is usually used as a last line of intervention for major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, mania and catatonia.

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

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be considered medically necessary for members diagnosed with any of the following conditions.

  • Catatonia; or
  • Certain acute schizophrenic, psychotic or catatonic exacerbations; or
  • Major depression (unipolar, bipolar, or mixed episode); or
  • Mania. 

ECT is considered not medically necessary for the treatment of the following because its effectiveness for these indications has not been established (not an all-inclusive list):

  • Body dysmorphic disorder; or
  • Complex regional pain syndrome; or
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder; or
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Note: The number of sessions undertaken during a course of ECT usually ranges from 6 to 12 and is usually given twice a week. 

Multiple monitored ECT during one treatment session is not medically necessary because its effectiveness has not been established.

00104 90870



The member must meet ALL of the following before an ECT may be considered medically necessary:

  • Member has one of the qualifying psychiatric conditions listed in the policy section above; and
  • Member is at least 12 years of age; and
  • At least ONE of the following criteria must be met:
    • Member is unresponsive to effective medications, given for adequate dose and duration, that are indicated for the member's condition (e.g., antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc., as appropriate); or   
    • Member is unable to tolerate effective medications or has a medical condition for which medication is contraindicated; or
    • Member has had favorable responses to ECT in the past; or
    • Member is unable to safely wait until medication is effective (e.g., due to life-threatening inanition, psychosis, stupor, extreme agitation, high suicide or homicide risk, etc.); or  
    • Member is experiencing severe mania or depression during pregnancy; or
    • Member prefers ECT as a treatment option in consultation with the psychiatrist.
00104 90870



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Place of Service: Inpatient/Outpatient

Electroconvulsive therapy 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 not be considered medically necessary. A network provider cannot bill the member for the denied service unless: (a) the provider has given advance written notice, informing the member that the service may be deemed not medically necessary; (b) the member is provided with an estimate of the cost; and (c) the member agrees in writing to assume financial responsibility in advance of receiving the service. The signed agreement must be maintained in the provider’s records.



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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 or other circumstances may warrant individual consideration, based on review of applicable medical records, as well as other regulatory, contractual and/or legal requirements.

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.

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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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)

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  • 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.