CORRECT CODING – INTERFERENTIAL CURRENT (IFC) THERAPY DEVICES
Interferential Current (IFC) Therapy is a form of electrotherapy in which two currents are applied and “crossed” resulting in a different frequency at the interference (crossing) point. This approach allows a higher frequency current to be applied to the skin to overcome skin resistance with a lower frequency current created in the underlying tissue. Lower frequency currents are thought to produce stronger effects with less discomfort. A recent product review identified inconsistent HCPCS coding for these products.
IFC devices can be configured to allow use for pain relief like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS). Other settings can be selected to mimic the effects of neuromuscular stimulators (NMES) used for the treatment of disuse atrophy. For claims submitted to the DME MACs the following HCPCS codes must be used when billing for IFC devices:
When used as TENS:
TRANSCUTANEOUS ELECTRICAL NERVE STIMULATION (TENS) DEVICE, FOUR OR MORE LEADS, FOR MULTIPLE NERVE STIMULATION
When used as NMES:
NEUROMUSCULAR STIMULATOR, ELECTRONIC SHOCK UNIT
Supplies (leads, electrodes, batteries, etc.) used with IFC devices are billed using the existing TENS and NMES supply codes. A TENS supply allowance (A4595) includes electrodes (any type), conductive paste or gel (if needed, depending on the type of electrode), tape or other adhesive (if needed, depending on the type of electrode), adhesive remover, skin preparation materials, batteries (9 volt or AA, single use or rechargeable), and a battery charger (if rechargeable batteries are used).
Not otherwise classified (NOC) or miscellaneous codes must not be used to bill Medicare for IFC devices or for supplies used with an IFC device.
Refer to the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation LCD and related Policy Article for additional information on coverage, coding and documentation. CMS Manual System, Pub. 100-03, Medicare National Coverage Determinations Manual, Chapter1, Sections 10.2, 160.12, 160.13, 160.27 also contain information about TENS and NMES.
For questions about correct coding, contact the Pricing, Data Analysis, and Coding (PDAC) contractor 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 at https://www.dmepdac.com/
Published by Noridian as the PDAC, April 2017. Republished by Palmetto GBA as the PDAC, January 2019.