A. Each utilization review agent shall:

Terms Used In Arizona Laws 20-2532

  • Action: includes any matter or proceeding in a court, civil or criminal. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Adverse decision: means a utilization review determination by the utilization review agent that a requested service or claim for service is not a covered service or is not medically necessary under the plan if that determination results in a documented denial or nonpayment of the service or claim. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Claim: means a request for payment for a service already provided. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Covered service: means a service that is included in a policy, evidence of coverage or similar document that specifies which services, insurance or other benefits are included or covered. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Department: means the department of insurance. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Director: means the director of the department of insurance. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Health care insurer: means a disability insurer, group disability insurer, blanket disability insurer, health care services organization, hospital service corporation, prepaid dental plan organization, medical service corporation, dental service corporation or optometric service corporation or a hospital, medical, dental and optometric service corporation. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • including: means not limited to and is not a term of exclusion. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Person: includes a corporation, company, partnership, firm, association or society, as well as a natural person. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Process: means a citation, writ or summons issued in the course of judicial proceedings. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Provider: means the physician or other licensed practitioner identified to the utilization review agent as having primary responsibility for providing care, treatment and services rendered to a patient. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Service: means a diagnostic or therapeutic medical or health care service, benefit or treatment. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Utilization review: means a system for reviewing the appropriate and efficient allocation of inpatient hospital resources, inpatient medical services and outpatient surgery services that are being given or are proposed to be given to a patient, and of any medical, surgical and health care services or claims for services that may be covered by a health care insurer depending on determinable contingencies, including without limitation outpatient services, in-office consultations with medical specialists, specialized diagnostic testing, mental health services, emergency care and inpatient and outpatient hospital services. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Utilization review agent: means a person or entity that performs utilization review. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Utilization review plan: means a summary description of the utilization review guidelines, protocols, procedures and written standards and criteria of a utilization review agent. See Arizona Laws 20-2501

1. Adopt a written utilization review plan with standards and criteria that apply to all utilization review decisions and that are objective, clinically valid and compatible with established principles of health care.

2. Establish the utilization review plan with input from physician advisors who represent major medical specialties and who are certified or board eligible under the standards of the appropriate American medical specialty board.

3. Include in the adopted utilization review plan a process for prompt initial reconsideration of an adverse decision and a process for appeals that meet the requirements of this article. This paragraph does not apply to utilization review activities limited to retrospective claims review.

B. Deviations from the written standards and criteria in the utilization review plan are permitted if the utilization review agent determines that the member and other members with similar symptoms and diagnoses would materially benefit from new treatments available because of medical or technological advances made since the adoption of the utilization review plan and made in accordance with accepted medical standards. This subsection does not apply to utilization review activities limited to retrospective claims review. Nothing in this subsection creates a private right or cause of action against a health care insurer or utilization review agent for failure to deviate from the utilization review plan.

C. A health care insurer who utilizes the services of an outside utilization review agent shall adopt a utilization review plan pursuant to subsections A and B of this section. The utilization review plan adopted and filed by the health care insurer who utilizes the services of an outside utilization review agent is deemed adopted by that utilization review agent.

D. A health care insurer who utilizes the services of an outside utilization review agent is responsible for the utilization review agent’s acts that are within the scope of the written and filed utilization review plan, including the administration of all patient claims processed by the utilization review agent on behalf of the health care insurer.

E. Notwithstanding section 20-2502, subsection B, each utilization review agent shall file a notice with the director that provides a specific description and the published date of the source of the written standards and criteria of the utilization review plan and that certifies that the utilization review plan in use complies with the requirements of this section, is available for review and inspection at a designated location in this state or at an office accessible to authorized representatives of the director in another state and is the complete utilization review plan with all standards and criteria on which utilization review decisions are based. A copy of any portion of the utilization review plan on which any adverse decisions have been based shall be made before the effective date of any modification and the utilization review agent shall retain a copy at the designated location for review and inspection for a period of five years after the date of the modification. If at any time a complete change in the written standards and criteria occurs, the utilization review agent shall file a new certification notice with the director.

F. On or before March 1 of each year after the year in which the utilization review agent filed the notice prescribed in subsection E of this section, the utilization review agent or the agent’s successor shall submit a signed and notarized annual report to the director that includes the designated location for review and inspection by the director or the director’s authorized representative and that certifies that:

1. The utilization review plan and all modifications remain in compliance with the requirements of this section.

2. The utilization review agent will conduct all utilization reviews in accordance with the plan.

3. All adverse decisions made in the prior year were based on the plan in effect on the date of those decisions.

G. On written request, the utilization review agent shall provide copies to any member or the member’s treating provider of:

1. Those portions of the utilization review agent’s utilization review plan that are relevant to the request for a covered service or claim for a covered service.

2. The protocols or guidelines that were used if the standards and criteria adopted are based on protocols or guidelines developed by an American medical specialty board.

H. Any person who requests records pursuant to subsection G of this section shall direct the request to the utilization review agent and not to the department.

I. If the utilization review plan is copyrighted by a person other than the utilization review agent, the health care insurer shall make a good faith effort to obtain permission from that person to make copies of the relevant material. If the health care insurer is unable to secure copyright permission, the utilization review agent shall provide a detailed summary of the relevant portions of the utilization review plan.

J. Health care insurers having utilization review activities limited to retrospective claims review shall be required to adopt only those procedures and sources of review that are traditionally associated with and necessary for retrospective claims review.