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  • Dispute Resolution for Medicaid Managed Care Plans > Initial Adverse Determination

    EmblemHealth will send a written notice of action on the date of denial when a service authorization request for a health care service, procedure or treatment is given an adverse determination (denial) on the following grounds:

    • Service does not meet, or no longer meets, the criteria for medical necessity, based on the information provided to us.
    • Service is considered to be experimental or investigational (rare disease and out-of-network services).
    • Service is approved, but the amount, scope or duration is less than requested.
    • Service is not a covered benefit under the member's benefit plan.
    • Service is a covered benefit under the member's benefit plan, but the member has exhausted the benefit for that service.

    All notices of action shall be in writing, in easily-understood language, and be accessible to non-English speaking and visually impaired members. Oral interpretation and alternate formats of written material for members with special needs are available. We will make reasonable effort to provide oral notice to the member and provider at the time the initial adverse determination is made. The member will have assistance available and provided to file complaints, complaint appeals and action appeals.

    The written notice will be sent to the member and provider and will include:

    • The reasons for the determination, including the clinical rationale, if any.
    • Instructions on how to initiate internal appeals (standard and expedited appeals) and eligibility for external appeals.
    • Notice of the availability, upon request of the member or the member's designee of the clinical review criteria relied upon to make such determination.
    • A description of what additional information, if any, must be provided to, or obtained by, EmblemHealth in order for EmblemHealth to make an appeal determination.
    • The description of the Action to be taken.
    • A statement that EmblemHealth will not retaliate or take any discriminatory action against the member if an appeal is filed.
    • The process and time frame for filing/reviewing an appeal with EmblemHealth, including the member's right to file an expedited review.
    • The member's right to contact the DOH, with 1-800 number regarding their complaint.
    • A Fair Hearing notice including aid to continue rights.
    • A statement that notice is available in other languages and formats for special needs and how to access these formats.
    • The member's right to file an action appeal, including:
    • The member's right to designate a representative to file action appeals on his/her behalf.
    • Notice that an expedited review of the action appeal can be requested if a delay would significantly increase the risk to a member's health, a toll-free number for filing an oral action appeal and a form, if used by EmblemHealth, for filing a written action appeal.
    • The time frames within which the action appeal determination must be made.
    • The notice entitled "Managed Care Action Taken" for denial of benefits or for termination or reduction in benefits, as applicable, containing the member's fair hearing and aid continuing rights.

    For actions based on issues of medical necessity or an experimental or investigational treatment, the written notice of action shall also include:

    • A clear statement that the notice constitutes the initial adverse determination and specific use of the terms "medical necessity" or "experimental/investigational", "rare disease", "clinical trial" or in certain instances, "out of network."
    • A statement that the specific clinical review criteria relied upon in making the determination is available upon request.
    • A statement that the member may be eligible for an external appeal.

    For actions based on a determination that a requested out of network service is not materially different from an alternate service available from a Participating Provider, the notice of Action shall also include:

    • Notice of the required information for submission when filing an Action Appeal as provided for in PHL 4904(1-a).
    • A statement that the Enrollee may be eligible for an External Appeal.
    • A statement that if the denial is upheld on Action Appeal, the Enrollee will have 4 months from the receipt of the final adverse determination to request an External Appeal.
    • A statement that if the denial is upheld on an expedited Action Appeal, the Enrollee may request an External Appeal or request a standard Action Appeal.
    • A statement that the Enrollee and the contractor may agree to waive the internal appeal process and the Enrollee will have 4 months to request an External Appeal from receipt of written notice of that agreement.

    Notices of action regarding denial of an expedited review request shall specify that the request will be reviewed under standard time frames and shall include a description of the standard time frames.

    When an adverse determination is rendered without provider input, the provider has the right to reconsideration. The reconsideration shall occur within one business day of receipt of the request (except for retrospective, which is within 30 days) and shall be conducted by the member's health care provider and the clinical peer reviewer making the initial determination.

    In general, denials, grievances, and appeals must be peer-to-peer — that is, the credential of the licensed clinician denying the care must be at least equal to that of the recommending clinician. In addition, the reviewer should have clinical experience relevant to the denial (e.g., a denial of rehabilitation services must be made by a clinician with experience providing such service or at least in consultation with such a clinician, and a denial of specialized care for a child cannot be made by a geriatric specialist).

    In addition:

    i. A physician board-certified in child psychiatry should review all inpatient denials for psychiatric treatment for children under the age of 21.

    ii. A physician certified in addiction treatment must review all inpatient LOC/continuing stay denial for SUD treatment.

    iii. Any appeal of a denied BH medication for a child should be reviewed by a board-certified child psychiatrist.

    iv. A physician must review all denials for services for a Medically Fragile child and such determinations must take into consideration the needs of the family/caregiver.

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    Glossary terms found on this page:

    An activity of EmblemHealth or its subcontractor that results in:

    • Denial or limited authorization of a service authorization request, including the type or level of service
    • Reduction, suspension or termination of a previously authorized service
    • Denial, in whole or in part, of payment for a service
    • Failure to provide services in a timely manner
    • Failure of EmblemHealth to act within the time frames for resolution and notification of determinations regarding complaints, action appeals and complaint appeals

    Oral or written request for EmblemHealth to review or reconsider an action by EmblemHealth or its subcontractor.

    A determination by EmblemHealth or its agents that an admission, extension of stay or other health care service has been reviewed and, based on the information provided, is not medically necessary.

    Oral or written request from a member or their designee for EmblemHealth to review or reconsider a decision made by the plan.

    Services that have been approved for payment based on a review of EmblemHealth's policies.

    A health insurance product offered by a health plan company that is defined by the benefit contract and represents a set of covered services. Also called a health benefit plan.

    Services available to a member as defined in his or her contract. Benefit design includes the types of benefits offered, limits (e.g., number of visits, percentage paid or dollar maximums applied) and subscriber responsibility (cost sharing components).

    A physician who possesses a current and valid license to practice medicine or a health care professional other than a licensed physician who:

    • Where applicable possesses a current and valid nonrestricted license, certificate or registration or, where no provision for a license, certificate or registration exists, is credentialed by the national accrediting body to the profession
    • Is in the same profession and the same or similar specialty as the health care provider who typically manages the medical condition or disease or provides the health care service or treatment under review

    A statement that provides additional clarification of the clinical basis for a noncertification determination. The clinical rationale should relate the noncertification determination to the patient's condition or treatment plan, and should supply a sufficient basis for a decision to pursue an appeal.

    Occurs when a clinical professional reviews information about a patient's health.

    The written screens, decision rules, medical protocols or guidelines used by the utilization management agent as an element in the evaluation of medical necessity and appropriateness of requested admissions, procedures and services under the auspices of the applicable health benefit plan.

    Initial oral or written communication from a member or their designee or provider that expresses discontent with any aspect of their care or coverage with EmblemHealth. Specifically, it is dissatisfaction with:

    • A determination made by the plan, other than a determination of medical necessity or a determination that a service is considered experimental or investigational
    • Treatment experienced through the plan, its providers or contractors
    • Any concern with the plan, its benefits, employees or providers.

    Services rendered by a physician whose opinion or advice is requested by another physician for further evaluation or management of the patient.

    A legal agreement between an individual member or an employer group and a health plan that describes the benefits and limitations of the coverage.

    A business entity that performs delegated functions on behalf of the insurer or managed care organization.

    A rejection of an entire claim or part of a claim.

    A person authorized by the insured to assist in obtaining access to, or payment to, the insured for health care services. If the insured has already received health care services and has no liability for payment of services, a designee will not be authorized for the purpose of requesting an external appeal.

    A determination of whether or not a person meets the requirements to participate in the plan and receive coverage under the plan.

    An individual who is enrolled and eligible for coverage under a health plan contract. Also called a member.

    Oral or written request to review or reconsider an initial adverse determination when waiting for a standard decision could seriously harm the enrollee's life, health or their ability to regain maximum function. For pre-service expedited requests, the practitioner may act on behalf of the member. Also called a fast track appeal.

    Written request for an independent entity that has been certified by the State to conduct a review of a denial of coverage, based on lack of medical necessity or that the service requested is experimental and investigational.

    Final determination made on a first level utilization review appeal, where an initial adverse determination has been upheld.

    A request to change an adverse determination that was based on administrative policies, procedures or guidelines.

    A professionally licensed individual, facility or entity giving health-related care to patients. Physicians, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, pharmacies, chiropractors, nurses, nurse-midwives, physical therapists, speech pathologist and laboratories are providers. All network providers are health care providers, but not all providers are network providers.

    Initial determination made by a utilization management agent for a denial of a service authorization request on the basis that the requested service is not medically necessary or an approval of a service authorization in an amount, duration or scope is less than requested.

    Service provided after the patient is admitted to the hospital. Inpatient stays are those lasting 24 hours or more.

    An organization comprised of individual physicians or physicians in group practices that contracts with the managed care organization on behalf of its member physicians to provide health care services. Also called an Independent Practice Association.

    A permit (or equivalent) to practice medicine or a health profession that is: 1) issued by any state or jurisdiction in the United States and 2) required for the performance of job functions.

    Acronym for Medicare Advantage. An alternative to the traditional Medicare program in which private plans run by health insurance companies provide health care benefits that eligible beneficiaries would otherwise receive directly from the Medicare program.

    Any form of health plan that uses selective provider contracting to have patients seen by a network of contracted providers and that requires prior approval of certain services.

    An individual and each of his or her eligible dependents, including Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled or participate in a benefit program and who are entitled to receive covered services from the practitioner pursuant to such benefit program and the terms of the practitioner's agreement.

    The group of physicians, hospital, and other medical care providers that a specific plan has contracted with to deliver medical services to its members.

    The use of health care providers who have not contracted with the health plan to provide services. Depending on the member's contract, out-of-network services may not be covered.

    A physician, hospital or other provider who has signed an agreement to covered services to EmblemHealth plan members. A participating provider is a member of the EmblemHealth network of providers applicable to the member's certificate. Therefore, they are more commonly referred to as network providers. Payment is made directly to a participating provider. Please consult the EmblemHealth Directory or go online to search for participating providers.

    A medical practitioner or covered facility recognized by EmblemHealth for reimbursement purposes. A provider may be any of the following, subject to the conditions listed in this paragraph:

    • Doctor of medicine
    • Doctor of osteopathy
    • Dentist
    • Chiropractor
    • Doctor of podiatric medicine
    • Physical therapist
    • Nurse midwife
    • Certified and registered psychologist
    • Certified and qualified social worker
    • Optometrist
    • Nurse anesthetist
    • Speech-language pathologist
    • Audiologist
    • Clinical laboratory
    • Screening center
    • General hospital
    • Any other type of practitioner or facility specifically listed in the member's Certificate of Insurance as a practitioner or facility recognized by EmblemHealth for reimbursement purposes

    A provider must be licensed or certified to render the covered service. The covered service must be within the scope of the Provider's license or certification.

    A request for inpatient review, made while the member is still in the facility, of a case that was denied on the basis of medical necessity.

    A request by the member or their provider (on the member's behalf) to have a service provided. This includes a:

    • Request for referral
    • Request for non-covered service
    • Request for prior authorization for coverage of a new service
    • Request for concurrent review for continued, extended or additional services than what is currently authorized.

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