FAQ Directory: Utilization Management, Credentialing and Provider Network

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3.15.2019 What factors are scored “Met” for UM 8, Element A if an upheld denial was sent to MAXIMUS?

UM 8, Element A MAXIMUS

Factors 7-13 should be scored as “Met” for upheld denials sent to MAXIMUS.

3.15.2019 If a benefit provision is used as the basis for the denial, how must it be cited in the notification?

Citing a benefit provision

Referencing benefit documents such as the member handbook or Certificate of Coverage by title alone is not specific enough to meet the requirement. Because benefit documents are often large and complex, the organization must direct members to the specific location of the information, either by section title or page number.

The reference must still support the organization’s decision and relate to the reason for the request

2.15.2019 May an organization send a single denial letter to a member and a practitioner that contains the reason for the denial in both layman terms (for the member) and clinical terms (for the practitioner)?

Language in denial letters

Yes. The organization may send a single letter to the member and practitioner that includes the specific reason for the denial, in language that would be easily understood by the member. The letter may also include, in a separate section, additional clinical or technical language directed toward a practitioner.

When NCQA reviews the letter to ascertain if the reason for the denial would be easy for the member to understand, it considers both the written reason and the context of the language and whether the information can be understood in context.
 

12.15.2018 What date on the delegation agreement is considered the “mutually agreed-upon” date?

Mutually Agreed-Upon Dates in the Delegation Contract

NCQA considers the implementation date as the date when the delegate can start performing delegated activities. But because the organization and delegate may have mutually agreed on and implemented delegated activities before signing the delegation agreement, NCQA is changing the policy for evidence of the implementation date.

When reviewing a delegation agreement, NCQA will consider the effective date or start date specified in the agreement as the mutually agreed-upon implementation date, for Element A (of the delegation standards), factor 1. This date may be before or after the signature date on the delegation agreement. If the agreement does not contain an effective date/start date, NCQA considers the date when the agreement was signed as the mutually agreed-upon implementation date.

NCQA may also accept other evidence of the implementation date: a letter, meeting minutes or other form of communication between the organization and the delegate that references their agreement on the delegated activity start date.

If an organization references the effective date/start date of the delegation agreement as the implementation date, NCQA will require submitted evidence for all other delegation factors to conform to that date as the implementation date.

The language in the explanation will be updated in a future Policy Update for applicable 2019 publications.

10.15.2018 Because NCQA raised the UM must-pass threshold from 50% to 80%, will NCQA create an 80% scoring option for requirements without such a scoring option?

80% must-pass threshold for UM elements

No. To keep scoring simple, NCQA set a threshold of 80% or higher for all UM must-pass elements, rather than setting a specific threshold for each element based on its scoring options. If an element does not have an 80% option, the “or higher” applies. Keep in mind that an organization may miss the requirements for a few files and still score 100% on the element. For additional information on file review scoring, refer to the scoring table in each element or to the file review worksheet in the Interactive Review Tool (IRT).

9.15.2018 If an organization terminated an arrangement with an NCQA-Accredited/Certified/Recognized delegate more than 90 calendar days before it submitted the completed survey tool, is the organization eligible for automatic credit for the portion of the look-back period when activities were performed by the delegate?

Terminated arrangements more than 90 calendar days before submission

Yes. For non-file review requirements, if the arrangement was terminated more than 90 calendar days before submission of the completed survey tool, the organization is eligible for automatic credit for the portion of the look-back period when the NCQA-Accredited/ Certified/Recognized delegate conducted activities. For file review requirements, automatic credit is applied if the delegate processed (or handled) the file, regardless of when the delegation arrangement was terminated.

9.15.2018 In the 2019 HPA Standards and Guidelines, NCQA added a fifth bullet to the factor 2 Explanation and revised the factor 3 Explanation in UM 7, Elements C, F and I. Will NCQA give organizations a grace period for the added information in factors 2 and 3 of UM 7, Elements C, F and I?

Revised Look-back Period for UM 7, Elements C, F, I (factors 2 and 3)

The intent of the added language in factors 2 and 3 was to clarify the minimum information required for expedited appeals. NCQA recognizes these are new requirements, and for this reason, has added the following language to the scope of review:

Organizations must implement the changes in factors 2 and 3 for files processed on or after 11/1/18.

NCQA will post an update in December for the 2019 HP publication to reflect this change.

8.24.2018 How long does it take to earn Utilization Management Accreditation?

The typical evaluation time frame is 12 months from application submission to decision, depending on an organization’s readiness. Some organizations may already be working within NCQA guidelines.

8.24.2018 How do I get started with Utilization Management Accreditation?

If you are not currently accredited and want to learn more, contact NCQA. If you are currently accredited and want to talk to someone about your status or about renewing or adding accreditations, submit a question through My NCQA.

8.24.2018 Where can I find information to help me get started with Utilization Management Accreditation?

8.24.2018 What organizations are eligible for Utilization Management Accreditation?

Utilization Management Accreditation is for organizations that provide full scope utilization management services. Eligible organizations:

  • Must not be licensed as an HMO, POS, PPO or EPO.
  • Must not be eligible for NCQA Accreditation as a health plan or an MBHO.
  • Must perform utilization management functions directly or through a contract.
  • Must perform utilization management activities for at least 50% of the members.
Note: “Members” refers to membership of clients and organizations.

8.24.2018 Where can I find the Utilization Management Standards and Guidelines?