240.1.1 – Manual Manipulation (Rev. 1, 10-01-03) B3-2251.1
Coverage of chiropractic service is specifically limited to treatment by means of manual manipulation, i.e., by use of the hands. Additionally, manual devices (i.e., those that are hand-held with the thrust of the force of the device being controlled manually) may be used by chiropractors in performing manual manipulation of the spine. However, no additional payment is available for use of the device, nor does Medicare recognize an extra charge for the device itself. No other diagnostic or therapeutic service furnished by a chiropractor or under the chiropractor’s order is covered. This means that if a chiropractor orders, takes, or interprets an x-ray, or any other diagnostic test, the x-ray or other diagnostic test, can be used for claims processing purposes, but Medicare coverage and payment are not available for those services. This prohibition does not affect the coverage of x-rays or other diagnostic tests furnished by other practitioners under the program. For example, an x-ray or any diagnostic test taken for the purpose of determining or demonstrating the existence of a subluxation of the spine is a diagnostic x-ray test covered under §1861(s)(3) of the Act if ordered, taken, and interpreted by a physician who is a doctor of medicine or osteopathy.
Manual devices (i.e., those that are hand-held with the thrust of the force of the device being controlled manually) may be used by chiropractors in performing manual manipulation of the spine. However, no additional payment is available for use of the device, nor does Medicare recognize an extra charge for the device itself. Effective for claims with dates of service on or after January 1, 2000, an x-ray is not required to demonstrate the subluxation. However, an x-ray may be used for this purpose if the chiropractor so chooses. The word “correction” may be used in lieu of “treatment.” Also, a number of different terms composed of the following words may be used to describe manual manipulation as defined above: • Spine or spinal adjustment by manual means; • Spine or spinal manipulation; • Manual adjustment; and • Vertebral manipulation or adjustment. In any case in which the term(s) used to describe the service performed suggests that it may not have been treatment by means of manual manipulation, the carrier analyst refers the claim for professional review and interpretation.