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Renal Dialysis Overview

Revised: 08-23-2017

Review Latest Manual Revisions to quickly see if MHCP coverage, rates and billing procedures have changed.

  • Overview
  • Eligible Providers
  • Eligible Recipients
  • Covered Services
  • Noncovered Services
  • Billing
  • Definitions
  • Legal References
  • Overview

    This section includes information on coverage policy and billing for MHCP fee-for-service recipients receiving renal dialysis and related services for end-stage renal disease (ESRD). DHS follows Medicare guidelines for coverage. For dually eligible Medicare patients, refer to the coverage policy and billing requirements from Medicare.

    Eligible Providers

    The following providers may enroll as ESRD providers with MHCP:

  • • Medicare approved ESRD facilities in hospitals
  • • Renal transplant centers
  • • Renal dialysis facilities and centers
  • • Outpatient hospitals
  • • Self-dialysis units
  • • Special purpose renal dialysis facilities
  • • Medical supply providers approved by DHS to provide ESRD services. DHS will approve only those medical suppliers who have provided home dialysis equipment and supplies to Medicare beneficiaries in the past 12 months.
  • Provider Type Home Page Links
    Review related web pages for the latest news and additions, forms and quick links.

  • Eligible Recipients

    All renal dialysis recipients must apply for Medicare benefits as soon as dialysis begins. Refer recipients as soon as possible to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to apply for Medicare.

    For recipients 18 years old or under, a Medicare application is not required if both parents are undocumented immigrants. The provider must keep a letter signed by the parents stating they are not applying for Medicare on behalf of their minor child because they are undocumented.

    Additional exceptions include:

  • • All MHCP recipients are eligible for acute and maintenance dialysis.
  • • Medicare covered patients who have not reached age 65, who suffer from end-stage renal disease. ESRD benefits include all Part A and B items and services covered under the Medicare program. For dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid recipients, MA pays the coinsurance and deductibles amounts.
  • • MA recipients under 65 years old who do not meet the two year disability requirements, but need dialysis or renal transplantation for treatment of end-stage renal disease, may be eligible for Medicare when one of the following conditions are met:
  • • Entitlement begins after a three month waiting period if a transplant or dialysis is not needed before the three month period ends
  • • Entitlement begins before the three month waiting period if the patient needs a transplant, receives self-dialysis training, and begins the first course of self-dialysis after
  • Covered Services


    Composite claims are only billable by Medicare-approved ESRD facilities. Recipients may choose to receive their dialysis at a facility or perform their own home dialysis after receiving self-dialysis training certification.

    MHCP covers the following services:

  • • Services provided in a renal dialysis facility (same as Medicare guidelines)
  • • Personnel (physician, licensed registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, technician, social worker, dietician)
  • • Equipment and supplies (dialysis machine and maintenance, disposable supplies)
  • • Some laboratory services (refer to the laboratory services section)
  • • Certain injectable drugs (such as heparin and its antidote) and biologicals
  • • Overhead and general administrative services
  • Physician Services

    ESRD monthly capitation payment (MCP)
    The monthly capitation payment (MCP) is a comprehensive monthly payment that covers all physician services provided in connection with uncomplicated and complicated renal dialysis sessions in outpatient maintenance facilities and at home.

  • • MCP is a global physician service payment for outpatient dialysis and ongoing evaluation and management services related to outpatient dialysis
  • • Payment for physician services furnished to patients on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and continuous cycle peritoneal dialysis (CCPD) are covered under the MCP capitation rate. The monthly payment for CAPD and CCPD include:
  • • Payment for both supervisory and direct care services routinely provided in connection with an ordinary course of maintenance dialysis
  • • For services related to the renal care of the patient
  • • Interpretation of the following tests:
  • • Bone mineral density studies
  • • Non-invasive vascular diagnostic studies of hemodialysis access
  • • Nerve conduction studies
  • • Electromyography studies
  • • All non-dialysis procedures are excluded from the MCP
  • Fee-for-service
    The following services are not included in the MCP and providers may bill separately on a fee-for-service basis:

  • • Physician services of a non-supervisory nature (non-routine) that represent treatment beyond those provided in connection with the ordinary course of renal dialysis treatments
  • • Specific surgical services
  • • Interpretation of tests (not included in the MCP) with a professional component (e.g., electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, biopsies, 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, spirometry and complete pulmonary function test)
  • • Complete evaluation for renal transplantation. The physician assessment of whether the recipient meets preliminary criteria as a renal transplant candidate is included under the MCP, but the complete evaluation for renal transplantation is excluded from the MCP
  • • Evaluation of potential living transplant donors
  • • Non-renal related physician's services. These services may be furnished by the physician providing renal care or by another physician
  • • Training of recipients to perform home or self-dialysis
  • • Covered physician services furnished to hospital inpatients, including services related to inpatient dialysis, by a physician who elects not to continue to receive MCP during the period of inpatient stay. In these cases, the physician receives a prorated portion of the MCP for that month
  • • All physician services before the initiation of outpatient dialysis
  • • When inpatient dialysis is necessary, the physician can be paid on a fee-for-service basis if the condition for which the recipient was hospitalized was not chronic renal disease. If the recipient was only hospitalized to receive maintenance dialysis (e.g., the only diagnosis on the claim is ESRD), the dialysis is considered an outpatient service and reimbursed under the MCP
  • Transportation To and From Facilities

    For Medicare recipients, follow transportation coverage guidelines as determined by Medicare. MHCP covers the least costly mode of transportation medically necessary for the recipient. Coverage policy and billing instructions are in the Transportation Services section of this manual.

  • • Patients receiving maintenance dialysis on an outpatient basis do not generally require ambulance transportation
  • • Ambulance transportation must meet the criteria outlined in Transportation Services
  • • Ambulance transportation of ESRD patients to and from Medicare approved renal dialysis facilities may be covered when certain medical necessity conditions are met. Example of a condition includes, but are not limited to, the patient is confined to bed before and after the ambulance trip
  • • Physicians must determine the medical necessity for ambulance and special transportation for dialysis treatment
  • • Patients may receive special transportation with an approved Level of Need Assessment conducted by Minnesota Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
  • Recipients not eligible for special transportation may use common carrier transportation by contacting MNET (Metro) or their local county agency (Greater Minnesota). Refer to the Access Services section of this manual.

    Payment Limitations

    MHCP limits payments in the following:

  • • MHCP covers dialysis and related services for the first three months of therapy under fee-for-service. Recipients must submit a formal application to the Social Security Administration to apply for Medicare coverage for dialysis services. If SSA denies Medicare coverage, attach a copy of the denial to the ESRD claim.
  • • When used in the treatment of life threatening drug overdose, hemoperfusion is a covered service for patients with or without renal dialysis. Hemoperfusion is also covered when used in conjunction with deferoxamine (DFO) to treat aluminum toxicity.
  • • Apheresis is covered in renal patients only when performed as plasma exchange in the treatment of glomerulonephritis associated with antiglomerular basement membrane antibodies and advancing renal failure or pulmonary hemorrhage.
  • • All E/M services related to the patient's ESRD, rendered on a day when dialysis is performed and all other patient care services rendered during the dialysis procedure are included in the dialysis procedure.
  • • If the facility fails to furnish any part of the items and services covered under the composite rate, either directly or under arrangements, payment cannot be made for any part of the services provided.
  • • Medicare must approve separately billable drugs for coverage and may only be billed by an ESRD facility if they are actually administered in the facility by the facility staff.
  • • Payment may not be made directly to home health agencies for dialysis-related services provided in the home or a facility.
  • • EPO is not separately covered when administered in a renal dialysis facility under the "incident to" provision.
  • • Artificial kidney machines, accessories and dialysis supplies can only be used for dialysis patients. DHS pays for rental only, no purchase of equipment unless SSA denies Medicare coverage for the recipient.
  • • Water purification systems are covered for patients on home hemodialysis. DHS will cover either a deionization or reverse osmosis system, but not both for the same patient at the same time.
  • Noncovered Services

    The following are not covered when provided by a dialysis facility:

  • • Items or services not medically necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of ESRD or do not improve the patient's condition
  • • Hemoprofusion used to improve the results of hemodialysis or in conjunction with DFO to remove iron overload
  • • Apheresis used before or after kidney transplant services
  • • Missed appointments. If the facility prepares for a dialysis treatment, but the treatment is never provided, no payment is made
  • Billing

    Refer to the Renal Dialysis Billing page.


    Acute Dialysis: Dialysis given to patients who are not ESRD patients, but who require dialysis because of temporary kidney failure due to a sudden trauma, ingestion of certain drugs or back-up dialysis under special circumstances.

    Apheresis: Autologous procedure when performed as plasma exchange in the treatment of glomerulonephritis.

    Biological: A medicinal preparation made from the living organisms and their products. These include serum, vaccines and antitoxins.

    Composite Rate: A payment option for dialysis services to patients who receive staff-assisted dialysis or home dialysis treatment from a renal dialysis facility.

    Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD): A variation of peritoneal dialysis, which is a continuous dialysis process using the patient's peritoneal membrane as a dialyze. The solution exchange is performed manually by the patient. The exchange is performed three to five times per day.

    Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD): A treatment modality which combines the advantages of long dwell, continuous steady state dialysis of CAPD and the advantages of automation inherent in intermittent peritoneal dialysis (IPD).

    Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT): A short-term treatment in critically ill patients with acute or chronic renal failure. It is an alternative treatment to the standard intermittent hemodialysis treatment. CRRT is covered only as an inpatient in the critically ill setting using FDA approved procedures and machines.

    Dialysis: A process by which waste products are removed from the body by diffusion from one fluid compartment to another across a semi-permeable membrane. There are two types of renal dialysis:

  • Hemodialysis: A process by which blood passes through an artificial kidney machine and the waste products diffuse across a man-made membrane into a bath solution, known as dialysate, after which the cleansed blood is returned to the patient's body.
  • Peritoneal Dialysis: A process by which fluid (dialysate) waste products pass from the patient's body through peritoneal membrane into the peritoneal abdominal cavity where the bath solution is introduced and removed periodically.
  • Drugs: A substance recognized in an official pharmacopeia or formulary which is used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease.

    End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): Or "chronic kidney failure" is a stage of renal impairment requiring either a regular course of dialysis or kidney transplantation to maintain life.

    Epoetin (EPO): A biologically engineered protein which stimulates the bone marrow to make new red blood cells. Chronic renal failure patients with symptomatic anemia considered for EPO therapy should have a hematocrit less or equal to 36% or hemoglobin less than 10 grams when therapy is initiated.

    Hemofiltration (diafiltration): A process that removes fluid, electrolytes, and other toxic substances from the blood by filtration through hollow artificial membranes. The process requires an arteriovenous access.

    Hemoperfusion: A process which removes substances from the blood through the dialysis membrane by using a charcoal or resin artificial kidney.

    Home Dialysis Equipment: Home dialysis equipment includes all the medically necessary home dialysis equipment prescribed by the physician including, but not limited to, artificial kidney and automated peritoneal dialysis machines, and support equipment.

    Inpatient Dialysis: Dialysis furnished to ESRD patients on a temporary inpatient hospital basis.

    Intermittent Peritoneal Dialysis (IPD): A process where waste products pass from the body through the peritoneal membrane into the peritoneal cavity where the dialysate is introduced and removed periodically by a machine.

    Maintenance Dialysis: Dialysis treatments given to patients with ESRD in order to sustain life. Maintenance dialysis is generally required two to three times per week.

    Outpatient Dialysis: Dialysis provided on an outpatient basis at a renal dialysis center or facility. Includes:

  • • Staff-assisted dialysis
  • • Self dialysis
  • • Home dialysis
  • • Self-dialysis and home dialysis training
  • Renal Dialysis Facility: A Medicare certified facility where maintenance dialysis is furnished to outpatients.

    Self-dialysis: Performed with little or no professional assistance by the ESRD patient including a helper, where applicable, who has completed an appropriate course.

    Staff-assisted Dialysis: Dialysis performed by the staff of the center or facility.

    Ultrafiltration: Process where excess fluid is removed through the dialysis membrane by means of pressure. Not a substitute for dialysis.

    Legal References

    Minnesota Rules 9505.0170
    Minnesota Rules 9505.0210

    Minnesota Rules 9505.0392

    42 CFR 413 subp.A-I

    42 CFR 414.300-414.335

    42 CFR 405 subp.U, 405.2100-405.2184

    CPT codes, descriptions and other data only are copyright 2002 American Medical Association (or such other date of publication of CPT). All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Apply.

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