The intent of the requirement is that the denial or appeal notice be written in language that can be easily understood by members. Because abbreviations/acronyms may include terms that are not easily understood, even when spelled out, they must be explained. NCQA is updating the explanation under each applicable factor of the referenced elements to read:
The denial [appeal] notification states the reason for the denial [upholding the denial] in terms specific to the member’s condition or request and in language that is easy to understand, so the member and practitioner understand why the organization denied the request [upheld the denial] and have enough information to file an appeal.
An appropriately written notification includes a complete explanation of the grounds for the denial, in language that a layperson would understand, and does not include abbreviations, acronyms or health care procedure codes that a layperson would not understand. The organization is not required to spell out abbreviations/acronyms if they are clearly explained in lay language. Denial [Appeal] notifications sent only to practitioners may include technical or clinical terms.
NCQA will post an update in December for the 2018 and 2019 HP and UM-CR-PN and 2018 MBHO publications to reflect this change.