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General Laws

[Subsection (a) effective until October 1, 2015. For text effective October 1, 2015, see below.]

Section 12. (a) Utilization review conducted by a carrier or a utilization review organization shall be conducted pursuant to a written plan, under the supervision of a physician and staffed by appropriately trained and qualified personnel, and shall include a documented process to (i) review and evaluate its effectiveness, (ii) ensure the consistent application of utilization review criteria, and (iii) ensure the timeliness of utilization review determinations.

A carrier or utilization review organization shall adopt utilization review criteria and conduct all utilization review activities pursuant to said criteria. The criteria shall be, to the maximum extent feasible, scientifically derived and evidence-based, and developed with the input of participating physicians, consistent with the development of medical necessity criteria pursuant to the provisions of section 16. Utilization review criteria shall be applied consistently by a carrier or a utilization review organization.

Adverse determinations rendered by a program of utilization review, or other denials of requests for health services, shall be made by a person licensed in the appropriate specialty related to such health service and, where applicable, by a provider in the same licensure category as the ordering provider.

[Subsection (a) as amended by 2012, 224, Sec. 199 effective October 1, 2015. See 2012, 224, Sec. 304. For text effective until October 1, 2015, see above.]

(a) Utilization review conducted by a carrier or a utilization review organization shall be conducted under a written plan, under the supervision of a physician and staffed by appropriately trained and qualified personnel and shall include a documented process to: (i) review and evaluate its effectiveness; (ii) ensure the consistent application of utilization review criteria; and (iii) ensure the timeliness of utilization review determinations.

A carrier or utilization review organization shall adopt utilization review criteria and conduct all utilization review activities under said criteria. The criteria shall be, to the maximum extent feasible, scientifically derived and evidence-based, and developed with the input of participating physicians, consistent with the development of medical necessity criteria under section 16. Utilization review criteria shall be applied consistently by a carrier or a utilization review organization and made easily accessible and up-to-date on a carrier or utilization review organization’s website to subscribers, health care providers and the general public; provided, however, that a carrier shall not be required to disclose licensed, proprietary criteria purchased by a carrier or utilization review organization on its website, but must disclose such criteria to a provider or subscriber upon request. If a carrier or utilization review organization intends either to implement a new preauthorization requirement or restriction or amend an existing requirement or restriction, the carrier or utilization review organization shall ensure that the new or amended requirement or restriction shall not be implemented unless the carrier’s or utilization review organization’s website has been updated to reflect the new or amended requirement or restriction.

Adverse determinations rendered by a program of utilization review or other denials of requests for health services, shall be made by a person licensed in the appropriate specialty related to such health service and, if applicable, by a provider in the same licensure category as the ordering provider.

(b) A carrier or utilization review organization shall make an initial determination regarding a proposed admission, procedure or service that requires such a determination within two working days of obtaining all necessary information. For purposes of this section, “necessary information” shall include the results of any face-to-face clinical evaluation or second opinion that may be required. In the case of a determination to approve an admission, procedure or service, the carrier or utilization review organization shall notify the provider rendering the service by telephone within 24 hours, and shall provide written or electronic confirmation of the telephone notification to the insured and the provider within two working days thereafter. In the case of an adverse determination, the carrier or utilization review organization shall notify the provider rendering the service by telephone within 24 hours, and shall provide written or electronic confirmation of the telephone notification to the insured and the provider within one working day thereafter.

(c) A carrier or utilization review organization shall make a concurrent review determination within one working day of obtaining all necessary information. In the case of a determination to approve an extended stay or additional services, the carrier or utilization review organization shall notify by telephone the provider rendering the service within one working day, and shall provide written or electronic confirmation to the insured and the provider within one working day thereafter. A written or electronic notification shall include the number of extended days or the next review date, the new total number of days or services approved, and the date of admission or initiation of services. In the case of an adverse determination, the carrier or utilization review organization shall notify by telephone the provider rendering the service within 24 hours, and shall provide written or electronic notification to the insured and the provider within one working day thereafter. The service shall be continued without liability to the insured until the insured has been notified of the determination.

(d) The written notification of an adverse determination shall include a substantive clinical justification therefor that is consistent with generally accepted principles of professional medical practice, and shall, at a minimum: (1) identify the specific information upon which the adverse determination was based; (2) discuss the insured’s presenting symptoms or condition, diagnosis and treatment interventions and the specific reasons such medical evidence fails to meet the relevant medical review criteria; (3) specify any alternative treatment option offered by the carrier, if any; and (4) reference and include applicable clinical practice guidelines and review criteria.

(e) A carrier or utilization review organization shall give a provider treating an insured an opportunity to seek reconsideration of an adverse determination from a clinical peer reviewer in any case involving an initial determination or a concurrent review determination. Said reconsideration process shall occur within one working day of the receipt of the request and shall be conducted between the provider rendering the service and the clinical peer reviewer or a clinical peer designated by the clinical peer reviewer if said reviewer cannot be available within one working day. If the adverse determination is not reversed by the reconsideration process, the insured, or the provider on behalf of the insured, may pursue the grievance process established pursuant to sections 13 and 14. The reconsideration process allowed herein shall not be a prerequisite to the formal internal grievance process or an expedited appeal required by section 13.

[Subsection (f) added by 2012, 224, Sec. 200 effective October 1, 2013. See 2012, 224, Sec. 305.]

(f) Upon request by an insured or insured’s treating health care provider, a carrier or utilization review organization shall make a determination regarding whether a proposed admission, procedure or service is medically necessary within 7 working days of obtaining all necessary information, except that a carrier or utilization review organization may choose not to perform such a review if the carrier or utilization review organization determines that the admission, procedure or service will be covered. Nothing in this subsection shall:— (i) require a treating health care provider to obtain information regarding whether a proposed admission, procedure or service is medically necessary on behalf of an insured; (ii) restrict the ability of a carrier or utilization review organization to deny a claim for an admission, procedure or service if the admission, procedure or service was not medically necessary, based on information provided at the time of claim; or (iii) shall restrict the ability of a carrier or utilization review organization to deny a claim for an admission, procedure or service if other terms and conditions of coverage are not met at the time of service or time of claim.

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