Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 38.2. Insurance
Chapter 35.1. Health Carrier Internal Appeal Process and External Review

§ 38.2-3565. Minimum qualifications for independent review organizations.

A. An independent review organization shall have and maintain written policies and procedures that govern all aspects of both the standard external review process and the expedited external review process and that include, at a minimum:

1. A quality assurance mechanism in place that: ensures that external reviews are conducted within the specified time frames and required notices are provided in a timely manner, ensures the selection of qualified and impartial clinical reviewers to conduct external reviews on behalf of the independent review organization and suitable matching of reviewers to specific cases and that the independent review organization employs or contracts with an adequate number of clinical reviewers to meet this objective, ensures the confidentiality of medical and treatment records and clinical review criteria, and ensures that any person employed by or under contract with the independent review organization adheres to the requirements of this chapter;

2. A toll-free telephone service to receive information on a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week basis that is capable of accepting, recording, or providing appropriate instruction to incoming telephone callers; and

3. Provisions for maintaining records and providing reports to the Commission in accordance with the requirements set out in § 38.2-3568.

B. All clinical reviewers assigned by an independent review organization to conduct external reviews shall be physicians or other appropriate health care providers who shall meet the following minimum qualifications:

1. Be an expert in the treatment of the covered person's medical condition that is the subject of the external review;

2. Be knowledgeable about the recommended health care service or treatment through recent or current actual clinical experience treating patients with the same or similar medical condition of the covered person;

3. Hold a nonrestricted license in their health care field in a state and, for physicians, a current certification by a recognized American medical specialty board in the area or areas appropriate to the subject of the external review; and

4. Have no history of disciplinary actions or sanctions, including loss of staff privileges or participation restrictions, that have been taken or are pending by any hospital, governmental agency or unit, or regulatory body that raise a substantial question as to the clinical reviewer's physical, mental, or professional competence or moral character.

C. An independent review organization may not own or control, be a subsidiary of, or in any way be owned or controlled by, or exercise control with, a health benefit plan, a national, state, or local trade association of health benefit plans, or a national, state, or local trade association of health care providers.

D. Neither the assigned independent review organization nor any clinical reviewer assigned by the independent organization may have a material professional, familial, or financial conflict of interest with any of the following that is the subject of the external review:

1. The health carrier;

2. The covered person or his authorized representative;

3. Any officer, director, or management employee of the health carrier;

4. The health care provider, the health care provider's medical group, or the independent practice association recommending the health care service or treatment;

5. The facility at which the recommended health care service or treatment would be provided; or

6. The developer or manufacturer of the principal drug, device, procedure, or other therapy being recommended.

E. An independent review organization shall be accredited by a nationally recognized private accrediting entity that has standards that the Commission has determined are equivalent to or exceed the minimum qualifications of this section. The following shall apply with regard to accrediting entities:

1. Upon request, a nationally recognized private accrediting entity shall make its current accreditation standards available to the Commission or the NAIC. The Commission shall initially and periodically review the accreditation standards of the nationally recognized private accrediting entity to determine whether the entity's standards are, and continue to be, equivalent to or exceed the minimum qualifications established under this section;

2. The Commission may accept a review conducted by the NAIC for the purpose of this determination. The Commission may exclude any private accrediting entity that is not reviewed by the NAIC; and

3. The Commission may approve independent review organizations that are not accredited by a nationally recognized private accrediting entity only if there are no acceptable nationally recognized private accrediting entities providing independent review organization accreditation.

F. An independent review organization shall be unbiased. An independent review organization shall establish and maintain written procedures to ensure that it is unbiased.

2011, c. 788.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.