Internal first level review of adverse determinations
See bold sections below:
A. Right to internal review. Every grievant who is dissatisfied with an adverse determination shall have the right to request internal review of the adverse determination by the health care insurer within 180 days of the date of the adverse determination. Nothing in this rule precludes the health care insurer and grievant from resolving a request prior to completion of the internal review.
B. Acknowledgement of request. Upon receipt of a request for first level internal review of an adverse determination, the health care insurer shall date and time stamp the request, and within three days after receipt send the grievant an acknowledgment that the request has been received. The acknowledgment shall contain the name, address and direct telephone number of an individual representative of the health care insurer who may be contacted regarding the grievance.
C. Full and fair internal review. To ensure that a grievant receives a full and fair internal review, the health care insurer must:
(1) allow the grievant to review the claim file;
(2) allow the grievant to present evidence and submit evidence, including but not limited to written comments, documents, records and other materials relating to the request for benefits;
(3) as soon as possible but no less than five days in advance of the date of the internal review of adverse benefit determination, provide the grievant, free of charge, with:
(a) copies of all documents, policies, guidance, statements, records and other information relevant to the request for benefits; and
(b) all evidence or rationale, considered, relied upon, or generated by the health care insurer.
(4) allow the grievant a reasonable opportunity to respond before the adverse determination is reviewed and if the evidence or rationale is not provided to the grievant in time for the grievant to have a reasonable opportunity to respond, provide additional time at the grievant’s request in order for the grievant to prepare a response.
D. Conflict of interest. The health care insurer must ensure that all claims and internal reviews are handled in a manner designed to ensure the independence and impartiality of the person(s) involved in making the decisions in such a way that decisions regarding hiring, compensation, termination, promotion, or other similar matters with respect to any individual (such as a claims adjudicator or a medical expert) must not be made based upon the likelihood that the individual will support the denial of benefits.
E. Utilization review. In the case of an adverse determination involving utilization review, the health care insurer shall designate one or more appropriate clinical peer(s) of the same or similar specialty as would typically manage the case being reviewed to review the adverse determination. The clinical peer(s) shall not have been involved in the initial adverse determination. If more than one clinical peer is involved in the review, a majority of the individuals reviewing the adverse determination shall be health care professionals who have appropriate expertise.
Medical Necessity Appeals-Deadlines
F. Timeframe for internal reviews of adverse determinations. Upon receipt of a request for internal review of an adverse determination, the health care insurer shall conduct either a standard or expedited internal review, as appropriate.
(1) Expedited internal review. Whenever a request involves an urgent care situation, a health care insurer shall complete an expedited internal review as required by the medical exigencies of the case, but in no case later than 72 hours from the time the internal review request was received.
(2) Standard internal review. In all cases that do not require expedited review, both the standard first level internal review and, if requested, the internal panel’s review, as described in 184.108.40.206 NMAC, shall be completed within 30 days after receipt of a request for internal review conducted prior to service and within 60 days after receipt of a request involving a post-service claim.
(a) The timeframe for completing an internal panel review may be extended, at the grievant’s request, to afford the grievant a reasonable opportunity to respond to any new or additional rationale or evidence provided to the grievant by the health care insurer during the internal review process.
(b) The health care insurer shall not unreasonably deny a request by the grievant to postpone the internal panel review for up to 30 days.
(c) The timeframe for completing both internal reviews shall be extended during the period of any such postponement.
(d) The health care insurer shall have three days after concluding the postponed internal review to issue its determination.
G. Additional requirements for expedited internal review of an adverse determination.
(1) In an expedited review, all information required to be exchanged shall be transmitted between the health care insurer and the grievant by the most expedient method available.
(2) If an expedited review is conducted during a patient’s hospital stay or approved course of treatment, health care services shall be continued without cost (except for applicable co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles) to the grievant until the health care insurer makes a final decision and notifies the grievant.
(3) A health care insurer shall not conduct an expedited review of an adverse determination made after health care services have been provided to a grievant.
H. Failure to comply with deadline. If the health care insurer fails to comply with the deadline for completion of an internal review, unless such deadline is postponed by the grievant, the requested health care service shall be deemed approved, provided that the requested health care service reasonably appears to be a covered benefit under the applicable health benefits plan.
I. New Mexico Health Care Purchasing Act. For grievants who are covered under the New Mexico Health Care Purchasing Act, the health care insurer must provide both a first level review and a review by a panel.