Section 395.0199, Florida Statutes 2003
395.0199 Private utilization review.--
(1) The purpose of this section is to:
(a) Promote the delivery of quality health care in a cost-effective manner.
(b) Foster greater coordination between providers and health insurers performing utilization review.
(c) Protect patients and insurance providers by ensuring that private review agents are qualified to perform utilization review activities and to make informed decisions on the appropriateness of medical care.
(d) This section does not regulate the activities of private review agents, health insurers, health maintenance organizations, or hospitals, except as expressly provided herein, or authorize regulation or intervention as to the correctness of utilization review decisions of insurers or private review agents.
(2) A private review agent conducting utilization review as to health care services performed or proposed to be performed in this state shall register with the agency in accordance with this section.
(3) Registration shall be made annually with the agency on forms furnished by the agency and shall be accompanied by the appropriate registration fee as set by the agency. The fee shall be sufficient to pay for the administrative costs of registering the agent, but shall not exceed $250. The agency may also charge reasonable fees, reflecting actual costs, to persons requesting copies of registration.
(4) Each applicant for registration must comply with the following requirements:
(a) Upon receipt of a completed, signed, and dated application, the agency shall require background screening, in accordance with the level 2 standards for screening set forth in chapter 435, of the managing employee or other similarly titled individual who is responsible for the operation of the entity. The applicant must comply with the procedures for level 2 background screening as set forth in chapter 435, as well as the requirements of s. 435.03(3).
(b) The agency may require background screening of any other individual who is an applicant, if the agency has probable cause to believe that he or she has been convicted of a crime or has committed any other offense prohibited under the level 2 standards for screening set forth in chapter 435.
(c) Proof of compliance with the level 2 background screening requirements of chapter 435 which has been submitted within the previous 5 years in compliance with any other health care licensure requirements of this state is acceptable in fulfillment of the requirements of paragraph (a).
(d) A provisional registration may be granted to an applicant when each individual required by this section to undergo background screening has met the standards for the Department of Law Enforcement background check, but the agency has not yet received background screening results from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a request for a disqualification exemption has been submitted to the agency as set forth in chapter 435 but a response has not yet been issued. A standard registration may be granted to the applicant upon the agency's receipt of a report of the results of the Federal Bureau of Investigation background screening for each individual required by this section to undergo background screening which confirms that all standards have been met, or upon the granting of a disqualification exemption by the agency as set forth in chapter 435. Any other person who is required to undergo level 2 background screening may serve in his or her capacity pending the agency's receipt of the report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, the person may not continue to serve if the report indicates any violation of background screening standards and a disqualification exemption has not been requested of and granted by the agency as set forth in chapter 435.
(e) Each applicant must submit to the agency, with its application, a description and explanation of any exclusions, permanent suspensions, or terminations of the applicant from the Medicare or Medicaid programs. Proof of compliance with the requirements for disclosure of ownership and control interests under the Medicaid or Medicare programs shall be accepted in lieu of this submission.
(f) Each applicant must submit to the agency a description and explanation of any conviction of an offense prohibited under the level 2 standards of chapter 435 by a member of the board of directors of the applicant, its officers, or any individual owning 5 percent or more of the applicant. This requirement does not apply to a director of a not-for-profit corporation or organization if the director serves solely in a voluntary capacity for the corporation or organization, does not regularly take part in the day-to-day operational decisions of the corporation or organization, receives no remuneration for his or her services on the corporation or organization's board of directors, and has no financial interest and has no family members with a financial interest in the corporation or organization, provided that the director and the not-for-profit corporation or organization include in the application a statement affirming that the director's relationship to the corporation satisfies the requirements of this paragraph.
(g) A registration may not be granted to an applicant if the applicant or managing employee has been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or has entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense prohibited under the level 2 standards for screening set forth in chapter 435, unless an exemption from disqualification has been granted by the agency as set forth in chapter 435.
(h) The agency may deny or revoke the registration if any applicant:
1. Has falsely represented a material fact in the application required by paragraph (e) or paragraph (f), or has omitted any material fact from the application required by paragraph (e) or paragraph (f); or
2. Has had prior action taken against the applicant under the Medicaid or Medicare program as set forth in paragraph (e).
(i) An application for registration renewal must contain the information required under paragraphs (e) and (f).
(5) Registration shall include the following:
(a) A description of the review policies and procedures to be used in evaluating proposed or delivered hospital care.
(b) The name, address, and telephone number of the utilization review agent performing utilization review, who shall be at least:
1. A licensed practical nurse or licensed registered nurse, or other similarly qualified medical records or health care professionals, for performing initial review when information is necessary from the physician or hospital to determine the medical necessity or appropriateness of hospital services; or
2. A licensed physician, or a licensed physician practicing in the field of psychiatry for review of mental health services, for an initial denial determination prior to a final denial determination by the health insurer and which shall include the written evaluation and findings of the reviewing physician.
(c) A description of an appeal procedure for patients or health care providers whose services are under review, who may appeal an initial denial determination prior to a final determination by the health insurer with whom the private review agent has contracted. The appeal procedure shall provide for review by a licensed physician, or by a licensed physician practicing in the field of psychiatry for review of mental health services, and shall include the written evaluation and findings of the reviewing physician.
(d) A designation of the times when the staff of the utilization review agent will be available by toll-free telephone, which shall include at least 40 hours per week during the normal business hours of the agent.
(e) An acknowledgment and agreement that any private review agent which, as a general business practice, fails to adhere to the policies, procedures, and representations made in its application for registration shall have its registration revoked.
(f) Disclosure of any incentive payment provision or quota provision which is contained in the agent's contract with a health insurer and is based on reduction or denial of services, reduction of length of stay, or selection of treatment setting.
(g) Updates of any material changes to review policies or procedures.
(6) The agency may impose fines or suspend or revoke the registration of any private review agent in violation of this section. Any private review agent failing to register or update registration as required by this section shall be deemed to be within the jurisdiction of the agency and subject to an administrative penalty not to exceed $1,000. The agency may bring actions to enjoin activities of private review agents in violation of this section.
(7) No insurer shall knowingly contract with or utilize a private review agent which has failed to register as required by this section or which has had a registration revoked by the agency.
(8) A private review agent which operates under contract with the federal or state government for utilization review of patients eligible for hospital or other services under Title XVIII or Title XIX of the Social Security Act is exempt from the provisions of this section for services provided under such contract. A private review agent which provides utilization review services to the federal or state government and a private insurer shall not be exempt for services provided to nonfederally funded patients. This section shall not apply to persons who perform utilization review services for medically necessary hospital services provided to injured workers pursuant to chapter 440 and shall not apply to self-insurance funds or service companies authorized pursuant to chapter 440 or part VII of chapter 626.
(9) Facilities licensed under this chapter shall promptly comply with the requests of utilization review agents or insurers which are reasonably necessary to facilitate prompt accomplishment of utilization review activities.
(10) The agency shall adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section.
History.--s. 1, ch. 90-187; s. 184, ch. 91-108; s. 6, ch. 91-201; ss. 17, 98, ch. 92-289; ss. 39, 71, ch. 98-171; s. 67, ch. 2000-349; s. 25, ch. 2001-53; s. 2, ch. 2001-67; s. 148, ch. 2001-277.
Note.--Former s. 395.0172.