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MP 8.03.10 Cognitive Rehabilitation

Medical Policy    
Original Policy Date
Last Review Status/Date
Reviewed with literature search/3:2014
  Return to Medical Policy Index


Our medical policies are designed for informational purposes only and are not an authorization, or an explanation of benefits, or a contract.  Receipt of benefits is subject to satisfaction of all terms and conditions of the coverage.  Medical technology is constantly changing, and we reserve the right to review and update our policies periodically.


Cognitive rehabilitation is a therapeutic approach designed to improve cognitive functioning after central nervous system insult. It includes an assembly of therapy methods that retrain or alleviate problems caused by deficits in attention, visual processing, language, memory, reasoning, problem solving, and executive functions. Cognitive rehabilitation consists of tasks designed to reinforce or re-establish previously-learned patterns of behavior or to establish new compensatory mechanisms for impaired neurologic systems. Cognitive rehabilitation may be performed by a physician, psychologist, or a physical, occupational, or speech therapist.


Cognitive rehabilitation must be distinguished from occupational therapy (CPT codes 97535-97537); occupational therapy describes rehabilitation that is directed at specific environments (ie, home or work). In contrast, cognitive rehabilitation consists of tasks designed to develop memory, language, and reasoning skills that can then be applied to specific environments, as described by occupational therapy codes.

Sensory integrative therapy may be considered a component of cognitive rehabilitation. However, sensory integration therapy is considered separately in Policy No. 8.03.13.


Cognitive rehabilitation (as a distinct and definable component of the rehabilitation process) may be considered medically necessary in the rehabilitation of patients with traumatic brain injury.

Cognitive rehabilitation (as a distinct and definable component of the rehabilitation process) is considered investigational for all other applications, including, but not limited to, stroke, postencephalitic or postencephalopathy patients, autism spectrum disorders, seizure disorders, and the aging population, including Alzheimer patients.

Policy Guidelines

For services to be considered medically necessary, they must be provided by a qualified licensed professional and must be prescribed by the attending physician as part of the written care plan. In addition, there must be a potential for improvement (based on pre-injury function), and patients must be able to actively participate in the program. (Active participation requires sufficient cognitive function to understand and participate in the program, as well as adequate language expression and comprehension, i.e., participants should not have severe aphasia.) Ongoing services are considered necessary only when there is demonstrated continued objective improvement in function.

Duration and intensity of cognitive rehabilitation therapy programs vary. One approach for comprehensive cognitive rehabilitation is a 16-week outpatient program consisting of 5 hours of therapy a day, 4 days a week. In this approach, cognitive group treatment occurs for three 2-hour sessions each week and three 1-hour individual sessions (total of 9 hours per week). (In one study, control patients received 12 to 24 hours per week of comprehensive standard outpatient rehabilitation services.) Cognitive rehabilitation programs for specific defects, e.g., memory training, are less intensive and generally have 1 or 2 sessions (30 or 60 minutes) per week for 4 to 10 weeks.

Cognitive rehabilitation is identified by the following CPT code:

97532: Development of cognitive skills to improve attention, memory, problem solving (include compensatory training), direct (one on one) patient contact by the provider, each 15 minutes.

Sensory integration therapy, explicitly identified by CPT code 97533, is addressed separately in policy No. 8.03.13.

Benefit Application
BlueCard/National Account Issues

Cognitive rehabilitation may be managed through a case management approach.

Contractual limitations on rehabilitative services may apply.


This policy was originally created in 1997 and has been updated periodically with literature review. The most recent update with literature review covered the period through February 19, 2014.

This policy was originally based on a 1997 TEC Assessment.(1) The Assessment addressed a broad range of patient indications resulting from neurologic insults, including traumatic brain injury, stroke, postencephalopathy, and aging (including Alzheimer disease). Eighteen controlled trials were reviewed, primarily focusing on stroke and traumatic brain injury. No controlled trials were available that specifically addressed the remaining patient indications. No clear answer regarding the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation emerged from the Assessment. The evidence was conflicting either because of study design, low power to detect differences, or variation in treatment. The Assessment concluded that data in the published peer-reviewed literature were inadequate to validate the effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation either as an isolated component or as 1 component of a multimodal rehabilitation program.

In 2013, the Cognitive Rehabilitation Task Force of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) published a systematic review of cognitive rehabilitation in medical conditions affecting cognitive function.(2) Of 11 clinical conditions reviewed, there was evidence to support a practice guideline only for children and adolescents with brain tumors who undergo surgical resection and/or radiation therapy (see Practice Guidelines and Position Statements sections below). A practice option (based on lower quality evidence) for patients with seizure-related cognitive impairments is discussed next.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A 2008 TEC Assessment was completed on cognitive rehabilitation in traumatic brain injury.(3) The objective of this Assessment was to determine whether there was adequate evidence to demonstrate that cognitive rehabilitation results in improved health outcomes. In this TEC Assessment, cognitive test performance was not considered a health outcome. Results of instruments assessing daily functioning or quality of life were considered health outcomes.

For the Assessment’s main evidence review, RCTs of cognitive rehabilitation were selected. A nonrandomized study of a comprehensive holistic program of cognitive rehabilitation also was included. Two studies of comprehensive holistic cognitive rehabilitation were reviewed. The 1 randomized study identified found no difference in the outcomes of return to work, fitness for military duty, quality of life, and measures of cognitive and psychiatric function at 1 year.(4) Rates of returning to work exceeded 90% for both the intervention and control groups, raising the question of whether patients included in the study were not severely injured enough to be able to demonstrate an effect of rehabilitation. The other study of comprehensive rehabilitation was nonrandomized.(5) The intervention group showed greater improvements in functioning, as assessed by a questionnaire that evaluated community integration, home integration, and productivity assessed on completion of the intervention. However, there were many differences in baseline characteristics between intervention and control groups, particularly regarding time since injury. Patients were not followed up beyond completion of the intervention program.

Eleven RCTs of cognitive rehabilitation for specific cognitive defects showed inconsistent support for cognitive rehabilitation. (Please refer to the 2008 TEC Assessment for further details of these studies, including citations.) Of these 11 studies, 8 reported on health outcomes. Three of the studies showed statistically significant differences between intervention groups and control groups on 1 outcome. However, 2 studies were extremely small. Findings were inconsistent across other outcomes measured, and in 1 study, significant findings after the intervention were no longer present at 6 months of follow-up. All 11 studies also reported outcomes of various cognitive tests. These were not considered to be valid outcomes for the purposes of assessing health benefit. Evaluation of these studies assessing cognitive test outcomes was plagued by numerous methodologic problems, such as small sample size, lack of long-term follow-up, minimal interventions, and multiple outcomes. Seven of the studies reported at least 1 outcome showing that cognitive rehabilitation was associated with better performance on a specific cognitive test. Of these positive studies, 2 had no follow-up beyond the time of treatment, and 2 had sample sizes smaller than 20. In only 1 study was there consistency across several cognitive test scores showing better performance with cognitive rehabilitation.

In summary, randomized trials reviewed in the 2008 TEC Assessment did not show strong evidence for efficacy in the treatment of traumatic brain injury. Several clinical trials of specific cognitive rehabilitation interventions evaluated cognitive tests rather than health outcomes.

Since the TEC Assessment was completed, an additional RCT was published in 2008 comparing a comprehensive neuropsychologic rehabilitation program with standard rehabilitation.(6) This study was intended to be a more rigorous evaluation of the nonrandomized study(5) reviewed in the 2008 TEC Assessment. Sixty-eight patients were randomized to the 2 intervention groups. Principal outcomes were the Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ) and the Perceived Quality of Life (PQOL) scale. Effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated by an interaction between intervention and pre- to posttreatment. Such an interaction was significant for the CIQ (p=0.042) and the PQOL (p=0.049) but not for any of the secondary neuropsychologic outcomes. It should be noted that the increment of improvement in the CIQ (from 11.2 to 12.9) was smaller than was observed in the prior nonrandomized trial (11.6 to 16.1). The proportion of patients having a clinically significant improvement in CIQ (4.2 points) is not reported but is likely to be less than the 52% reported in the prior nonrandomized study. Follow-up assessments also were done at 6 months after treatment, but these were not subjected to formal statistical analysis. It appears that the standard treatment group had further improvements in the CIQ such that their mean follow-up CIQ score is very similar to the intervention group (12.9 vs 13.2) and the difference is likely to be nonsignificant. For the PQOL, it appears that the differences observed at the end of treatment were maintained or increased somewhat by 6 months. This randomized trial, thus, has mixed findings of efficacy of comprehensive neuropsychologic rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury.

A 2013 Cochrane review assessed cognitive rehabilitation for executive dysfunction (planning, initiation, organization, inhibition, problem solving, self-monitoring, error correction) in adults with nonprogressive acquired brain damage.(7) Sixteen RCTs (total N=660; 395 traumatic brain injury, 234 stroke, 31 other acquired brain injury) were included in pooled analyses. No statistically significant effects on measures of global executive function or individual component functions were found.

Dementia, including Alzheimer Disease

The use of cognitive training (task-focused) or rehabilitation (strategy-focused) in Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia was evaluated in a 2013 Cochrane review.(8) Evidence from 11 RCTs did not demonstrate improved cognitive function, mood, or activities of daily living in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease or vascular dementia with cognitive training. One high-quality RCT(9) of cognitive rehabilitation in 69 patients with early-stage Alzheimer disease (Mini-Mental Status Exam [MMSE] ≥18) showed short-term improvements in patient-rated goal performance and satisfaction, and 6-month improvements in patient-rated memory performance.

In 2003, Spector et al(10) published a randomized trial of 115 patients who were randomized to a cognitive stimulation program or to a control group. The intervention program ran for 7 weeks, and patients were only evaluated at completion. The treatment group had significantly higher scores on the principal outcome, MMSE, with a group difference of 1.14 points. Differences were also significant for secondary outcomes, a quality-of-life score for Alzheimer disease and an Alzheimer disease assessment scale. The study did not assess any outcomes beyond the 7-week period of treatment, and the authors speculated that the intervention would need to be continued on a regular basis beyond 7 weeks. Results of this trial are not definitive in determining whether cognitive rehabilitation therapy is effective among patients with dementia. Limitations of the existing literature were discussed in a 2006 meta-analysis on cognitive training in Alzheimer disease.(11) One study reported on patients who had not yet developed dementia.

In a 2002 study, 2832 seniors living independently with good functional and cognitive status were randomized to 1 of 3 training groups (memory, reasoning, processing speed) or a no-contact control group.(12) Although selected cognitive functioning measures showed immediate improvements, no significant improvements were found on everyday functioning measures at 2 years. A controlled study reported on 25 mildly impaired patients on cholinesterase inhibitors.(13) Patients were assigned to either cognitive rehabilitation or equivalent therapist contact in a mental stimulation program. Beneficial effects were observed for cognitive rehabilitation on tasks that duplicated those used in training, although generalized functional improvements were not reported. Moreover, the differences between the 2 interventions were not completely clear in that both used methodologies considered to be cognitive rehabilitation. Another randomized study of 54 patients evaluated the combined effect of a cognitive-communication therapy plus an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor as compared with drug treatment alone.(14) A positive effect for the drug plus cognitive rehabilitation group was found in the areas of discourse abilities, functional abilities, emotional symptoms, and overall global performance. Beneficial effects were reported up to 10 months after active intervention. Although available evidence on cognitive rehabilitation for Alzheimer disease and related dementias is inadequate to permit conclusions, this last study provides some encouraging evidence. Additional collaborative data are needed to form conclusions about the effectiveness of a combined treatment of cognitive rehabilitation and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in patients with Alzheimer disease. A Cochrane systematic review published in 2011 evaluated cognition-based interventions for healthy older people and people with mild cognitive impairment.(15) Reviewers concluded that there was little evidence on the effectiveness and specificity of such interventions, as improvements observed were similar to effects seen with active control interventions.

Kurz et al (2012) conducted an RCT of patients with Alzheimer disease and early dementia.(16) The population comprised 201 patients with clinical evidence of dementia and a MMSE score of at least 21 out of 30 points who were randomized to a 12-week cognitive rehabilitation program or standard medical management (site-specific). There were baseline imbalances between groups, with the intervention group having a lower mean age and higher scores on measures of functional status and quality of life. Outcomes were assessed at 3 and 9 months after intervention and included a range of measures of functional status, quality of life, cognition, and caregiver burden. There were no between-group differences on any outcome measure. There also were no group differences on subgroup analyses by age, gender, education level, or baseline cognitive ability, except that depression scores improved significantly for females, but not males, in the intervention group.


The 2013 systematic review by ACRM’s Cognitive Rehabilitation Task Force evaluated cognitive rehabilitation for postencephalitis cognitive deficits.(2) Eight identified studies were considered poor quality evidence, insufficient for forming conclusions.

Two small, uncontrolled series (1997) reported favorable results with cognitive rehabilitation.(17,18) These data are inadequate to change the conclusions of the earlier TEC Assessment.


Three Cochrane reviews assessed the effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation for recovery from stroke.(19-21) Each separately evaluated spatial neglect, attention deficits, and memory deficits. The most recent updates of these reviews made the following conclusions:

  • Spatial neglect: A 2013 update identified 23 RCTs with 628 patients.(19) There was very limited evidence of short-term improvements on tests of neglect with cognitive rehabilitation. However, for reducing disability due to spatial neglect and increasing independence, effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation remained unproven.
  • Attention: A 2013 update identified 6 RCTs with 223 patients.(20) There was limited evidence of short-term improvement in divided attention (ability to multitask), but no indication of short-term improvements in other aspects of attention. Evidence for persistent effects of cognitive rehabilitation on attention or functional outcomes was lacking.
  • Memory: This review has not been updated since 2007.(21) At that time, there were 2 controlled studies of cognitive rehabilitation for memory deficits due to stroke (total N=18). Memory strategy training had no significant effect on memory impairment or subjective memory complaints.

A 2001 review of the rehabilitative management of poststroke visuospatial inattention also concluded that long-term impacts of visual scanning and perceptual retraining techniques on overall recovery and functional outcome were unclear.(22)

Epilepsy/Seizure Disorders

The 2013 systematic review by ACRM’s Cognitive Rehabilitation Task Force evaluated cognitive rehabilitation in epilepsy.(2) Based on 2 comparative studies (1 randomized; total N=156)), the Task Force recommended cognitive rehabilitation for attention and memory deficits as a “possibly effective” practice option for seizure-related attention and memory deficits. The randomized trial(23) prospectively enrolled 50 patients with focal seizures who were receiving carbamazepine monotherapy. Patients were randomized to a retraining method, aimed at retraining impaired cognitive functions (n=19); a compensation method, aimed at teaching compensatory strategies (n=17); or a waiting-list control group (n=8). Both interventions focused on divided attention (ability to multi-task). At 6-month follow-up, performance on cognitive tests improved more in both intervention groups compared with control. No difference in inhibitory capacity was observed. Self-reported cognitive complaints, absentmindedness, and quality of life improved more with cognitive rehabilitation. Overall, rehabilitation methods were similarly effective.

The nonrandomized study(24) assessed short-term effects of cognitive rehabilitation on memory deficits in 2 retrospective, matched cohorts of temporal lobe epilepsy surgical patients. Mean age (SD) was 36 (10) years; mean age (SD) at onset of epilepsy was 4 (1) years; and mean IQ was 105. Patients who received cognitive rehabilitation (n=55) participated in a 1-month program comprising educational sessions about brain function and cognitive exercises. A cohort of 57 patients received no cognitive rehabilitation. Statistically significant improvements in verbal learning and recognition were observed in right-resected patients who received cognitive rehabilitation. Cognitive rehabilitation had nonsignificant effects in left-resected patients. Limitations of the study include its retrospective design and baseline imbalances in memory and attention deficits (more severe deficits in the control cohort).

Koorenhof et al (2012) studied left temporal lobe epilepsy surgical patients.(25) Twenty (87%) of 23 recruited surgical candidates completed a total of 4 hours of pre- and/or postoperative memory training and up to 40 sessions of Lumosity©, a web-based cognitive training program. Three to 6 months after surgery, statistically significant improvements on verbal learning and recall tests were observed. After training, patients reported subjective improvements in memory failures (repeated-measures MANOVA, p<0.3) and memory nuisance (p<0.005). Preoperative memory training was not associated with better outcomes than postoperative training. Improvements in verbal learning were associated with improved mood (r= -0.58, p<0.008).

Chiappedi et al (2011) reported a retrospective cohort study of 156 children (mean age [SD], 7.6 [6.4] years) with developmental disorders (eg, cerebral palsy, congenital anomalies) and epilepsy who received comprehensive rehabilitation in Italy.(26) Programs comprised physical therapy, psychomotor rehabilitation including cognitive training, and/or speech and language rehabilitation. Most patients (62%) had severe disability, most (62%) had severe or profound cognitive deficits, and 22% had daily seizures. Because patients were heterogeneous, validated assessment tools were not identified; instead, response to rehabilitation was defined by the treating physician as present or absent. More children who received speech and language rehabilitation responded compared with those who did not (p<0.001). The proportion of responders was similar between groups that did or did not receive psychomotor rehabilitation (p=0.10). In multivariate analysis, negative predictors of treatment response were severity of impairment (odds ratio [OR], 0.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01 to 0.14) and daily seizures (OR=0.22; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.58).

Autism Spectrum Disorders

In 2013, Reichow et al reported a systematic review of psychosocial interventions administered by nonspecialists for children and adolescents with intellectual disability (IQ<70) or lower-functioning autism-spectrum disorders.(27) Five comparative trials in patients with autism-spectrum disorders (total N=255) who received cognitive rehabilitation, training, and support were included. Improvements in school performance and developmental outcomes were inconsistent across trials.

Wang et al (2013) conducted a pilot study of a novel virtual reality-cognitive rehabilitation intervention in 4 children (mean age, 7.4 years) with autism.(28) Children with autism, who are difficult to engage, may respond better to virtual reality approaches than to traditional cognitive rehabilitation. Mean nonverbal IQ ranged from 93 to 139. Each child viewed training programs on laptop computers equipped with tracking webcams; the child’s image and movements were projected into virtual environments where he/she was required to manipulate virtual objects. Outcomes were measures of contextual processing, defined as “the ability to determine an object’s meaning or relevance in a particular context,” and of abstraction and cognitive flexibility, executive functions considered components of contextual processing. After 4 to 6 weeks, all children demonstrated statistically significant improvements in contextual processing and cognitive flexibility. Abstraction scores at baseline were at or close to maximum.

Eack et al conducted a feasibility study of a comprehensive cognitive rehabilitation intervention, called Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, in 14 “high-functioning” adults (mean age [SD], 25 [6] years) with autism-spectrum disorders.(29) Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, originally developed for schizophrenic patients, provides social interaction and cognitive training focused on attention, memory, and problem solving. Mean full scale IQ of the patient sample was 118 (range, 92-157). Eleven (79%) of 14 patients completed 18 months of treatment. Statistically significant changes from baseline were observed in mean composite measures of neurocognition, cognitive style, social cognition, and social adjustment. All components of neurocognition (eg, processing speed, working memory) improved statistically except attention/vigilance.

Clinical Input Received Through Physician Specialty Societies and Academic Medical Centers

In response to requests, input was received from 2 physician specialty societies and 5 academic medical centers while this policy was under review in 2009 and 2010. While the various physician specialty societies and academic medical centers may collaborate with and make recommendations during this process through the provision of appropriate reviewers, input received does not represent an endorsement or position statement by the physician specialty societies or academic medical centers, unless otherwise noted. The strongest support was for use of cognitive rehabilitation as part of the treatment of those with traumatic brain injuries. The level of support varied for other diagnoses such as use in poststroke patients.

Ongoing Clinical Trials

Online site, currently lists more than 200 studies of cognitive rehabilitation for the following clinical conditions: acquired brain injury; breast, ovarian, and pediatric cancer survivorship; cancer chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment; postmalaria cognitive impairment in children; cocaine abuse; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson disease; posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans; schizophrenia; sickle cell disease; and stroke.


For patients with traumatic brain injury, there are numerous RCTs evaluating the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation. However, these trials have methodologic limitations and report mixed results, indicating that there is not a uniform or consistent evidence base supporting the efficacy of this technique. Based on review of published trials, together with clinical input and consideration of limited alternative treatments, use of cognitive rehabilitation as a distinct and definable component of the rehabilitation process may be considered medically necessary as part of the treatment of those with traumatic brain injury.

For other indications, evidence on cognitive rehabilitation is insufficient to permit conclusions, and clinical input did not uniformly favor cognitive rehab. Therefore, use of cognitive impairment in disease states other than traumatic brain injury is considered investigational.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements

American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group, Cognitive Rehabilitation Task Force

Based on a 2013 systematic review, the Task Force recommended process-based cognitive rehabilitation strategies (eg, attention process training, strategy acquisition and internalization, self-monitoring, and corrective feedback) to treat attention and memory deficits in children and adolescents with brain cancers who undergo surgical resection and/or radiation therapy.(2)

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

NICE guidance (2013) on stroke rehabilitation recommends cognitive rehabilitation for visual neglect and memory and attention deficits that impact function.(30) Interventions should focus on relevant functional tasks, eg, errorless learning and elaborative techniques (mnemonics, encoding strategies) for memory impairments.

Institute of Medicine

The Institute of Medicine published a report in October 2011 titled “Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury”(31) that included a comprehensive review of the literature and recommendations. The report concluded that … “current evidence provides limited support for the efficacy of CRT interventions. The evidence varies in both the quality and volume of studies and therefore is not yet sufficient to develop definitive guidelines for health professionals on how to apply CRT in practice.” The report recommended that standardization of clinical variables, intervention components, and outcome measures was necessary in order to improve the evidence base for this treatment. They also recommended future studies with larger sample sizes and more comprehensive sets of clinical variables and outcome measures.

Veterans Administration

The VA/Department of Veterans Affairs published guidelines on the treatment of concussion/mild traumatic brain injury in 2009.(32) These guidelines address cognitive rehab in the setting of persistent symptoms. The guidelines state:

“Individuals who present with memory, attention, and/or executive function problems which did not respond to initial treatment (e.g., reassurance, sleep education, or pain management) may be considered for referral to cognitive rehabilitation therapists with expertise in TBI rehabilitation (e.g., speech and language pathology, neuropsychology, or occupational therapy) for compensatory training [Strength of Recommendation = C]; and/or instruction and practice on use of external memory aids such as a personal digital assistant (PDA) [Strength of Recommendation = C].”

Medicare National Coverage

There is no national coverage determination (NCD). In the absence of an NCD, coverage decisions are left to the discretion of local Medicare carriers.


  1. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center (TEC). Cognitive rehabilitation. TEC Assessments 1997; Volume 12, Tab 6.
  2. Langenbahn DM, Ashman T, Cantor J post An evidence-based review of cognitive rehabilitation in medical conditions affecting cognitive function. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2013; 94(2):271-86.
  3. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center (TEC). Cognitive rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury in adults. TEC Assessments 2008; Volume 23, Tab 3.
  4. Salazar AM, Warden DL, Schwab K post Cognitive rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury: A randomized trial. Defense and Veterans Head Injury Program (DVHIP) Study Group. JAMA 2000; 283(23):3075-81.
  5. Cicerone KD, Mott T, Azulay J post Community integration and satisfaction with functioning after intensive cognitive rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004; 85(6):943-50.
  6. Cicerone KD, Mott T, Azulay J post A randomized controlled trial of holistic neuropsychologic rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2008; 89(12):2239-49.
  7. Chung CS, Pollock A, Campbell T post Cognitive rehabilitation for executive dysfunction in adults with stroke or other adult non-progressive acquired brain damage. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013; 4:CD008391.
  8. Bahar-Fuchs A, Clare L, Woods B. Cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013; 6:CD003260.
  9. Clare L, Linden DE, Woods RT post Goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation for people with early-stage Alzheimer disease: a single-blind randomized controlled trial of clinical efficacy. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2010; 18(10):928-39.
  10. Spector A, Thorgrimsen L, Woods B post Efficacy of an evidence-based cognitive stimulation therapy programme for people with dementia: randomised controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry 2003; 183:248-54.
  11. Sitzer DI, Twamley EW, Jeste DV. Cognitive training in Alzheimer's disease: a meta-analysis of the literature. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2006; 114(2):75-90.
  12. Ball K, Berch DB, Helmers KF post Effects of cognitive training interventions with older adults: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2002; 288(18):2271-81.
  13. Loewenstein DA, Acevedo A, Czaja SJ post Cognitive rehabilitation of mildly impaired Alzheimer disease patients on cholinesterase inhibitors. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2004; 12(4):395-402.
  14. Chapman SB, Weiner MF, Rackley A post Effects of cognitive-communication stimulation for Alzheimer's disease patients treated with donepezil. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2004; 47(5):1149-63.
  15. Martin M, Clare L, Altgassen AM post Cognition-based interventions for healthy older people and people with mild cognitive impairment. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011; (1):CD006220.
  16. Kurz A, Thone-Otto A, Cramer B post CORDIAL: cognitive rehabilitation and cognitive-behavioral treatment for early dementia in Alzheimer disease: a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 2012; 26(3):246-53.
  17. Lindgren A, Hagstadius S, Abjornsson G. Neuropsychological rehabilitation of patients with organic solvent-induced chronic toxic encephalopathy. a pilot study. Neuropsychol Rehabil 1997; 7(1):1-22.
  18. Schmidt J, Drew-Cates J, Dombovy M. Anoxic encephalopathy: outcome after inpatient rehabilitation. J Neurologic Rehabilitation 1997; 11(3):189-95.
  19. Bowen A, Hazelton C, Pollock A post Cognitive rehabilitation for spatial neglect following stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013; 7:CD003586.
  20. Loetscher T, Lincoln NB. Cognitive rehabilitation for attention deficits following stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013; 5:CD002842.
  21. Nair RD, Lincoln NB. Cognitive rehabilitation for memory deficits following stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007; (3):CD002293.
  22. Diamond PT. Rehabilitative management of post-stroke visuospatial inattention. Disabil Rehabil 2001; 23(10):407-12.
  23. Engelberts NH, Klein M, Ader HJ post The effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation for attention deficits in focal seizures: a randomized controlled study. Epilepsia 2002; 43(6):587-95.
  24. Helmstaedter C, Loer B, Wohlfahrt R post The effects of cognitive rehabilitation on memory outcome after temporal lobe epilepsy surgery. Epilepsy Behav 2008; 12(3):402-9.
  25. Koorenhof L, Baxendale S, Smith N post Memory rehabilitation and brain training for surgical temporal lobe epilepsy patients: A preliminary report. Seizure 2012; 21(3):178-82.
  26. Chiappedi M, Beghi E, Ferrari-Ginevra O post Response to rehabilitation of children and adolescents with epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 2011; 20(1):79-82.
  27. Reichow B, Servili C, Yasamy MT post Non-specialist psychosocial interventions for children and adolescents with intellectual disability or lower-functioning autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review. PLoS Med 2013; 10(12):e1001572; discussion e72.
  28. Wang M, Reid D. Using the virtual reality-cognitive rehabilitation approach to improve contextual processing in children with autism. ScientificWorldJournal 2013; 2013:716890.
  29. Eack SM, Greenwald DP, Hogarty SS post Cognitive enhancement therapy for adults with autism spectrum disorder: results of an 18-month feasibility study. J Autism Dev Disord 2013; 43(12):2866-77.
  30. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Stroke rehabilitation (CG162), June 2013. Available online at: Last accessed February, 2014.
  31. Institute of Medicine National Academies Press. Cognitive rehabilitation therapy for traumatic brain injury. 2011. Available online at: Last accessed February, 2014.
  32. Department of Veteran Affairs Department of Defense. VA/DoD clinical practice guideline for management of concussion/mild traumatic brain injury . Washington (DC): Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Defense; 2009.





CPT  97532  Development of cognitive skills to improve attention, memory, problem solving (include compensatory training), direct (one on one) patient contact by the provider, each 15 minutes 
ICD-9 Procedure  93.89  Rehabilitation, not elsewhere classified 
ICD-9 Diagnosis  850–854  Intracranial injury 
  331  Alzheimer’s disease 
HCPCS  No Code   
ICD-10-CM (effective 10/1/15) S06.0-S06.9x9- Traumatic brain injury, code range
ICD-10-PCS (effective 10/01/15)   ICD-10-PCS codes are only used for inpatient services. There is no specific ICD-10-PCS code for this therapy.
  F06ZDZZ Physical Rehabilitation Speech
  F07Z4ZZ Physical Rehabilitation Motor Treatment
  F08Z6ZZ Physical Rehabilitation – Activities of Daily Living Treatment
Type of Service  Therapy 
Place of Service  Inpatient 



Cognitive Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation, Cognitive  

Policy History 
Date Action Reason
11/01/97 Add to Therapy Section New policy
10/15/00 Replace policy New CPT codes
12/18/02 Replace policy Policy updated; no change in policy statement. Rationale expanded, new references provided
11/9/2004 Replace policy Policy updated; no change in policy statement. New references provided
12/14/05 Replace policy Policy updated; no change in policy statement. New references provided
12/12/06 Replace policy Policy updated with literature review; no change in policy statement. Reference numbers 25-27 added
04/09/08 Replace policy  Policy updated with 2008 TEC Assessment and with literature search in March 2008; no change in policy statement. Rationale section rewritten. Reference numbers 2, 3, 4, and 16 added.
05/13/10 Replace policy Policy updated with literature search; references 5, 11, and 19 added. Clinical input reviewed. Policy statement changed to medically necessary for traumatic brain injury when specific conditions are met.
2/09/12 Replace policy Policy updated with literature review. Rationale rewritten, references 13, 20, 21 added. No change to policy statement.
03/14/13 Replace policy Policy updated with literature review through January 2013, no new references added. Policy statement unchanged.
3/13/14 Replace policy Policy updated with literature review through February 19, 2014. References 2, 7-8, and 23-30 added; references 20 and 31 updated. Investigational policy statement revised to include epilepsy/seizure disorders and autism spectrum disorders.


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