Nebraska Revised Statute 44-1313

Chapter 44 Section 1313

44-1313.

Independent review organization; minimum qualifications; clinical reviewers; qualifications; limitation on ownership or control; conflict of interests; presumption of compliance; director; powers; duties.

(1) To be approved under section 44-1312 to conduct external reviews, an independent review organization shall have and maintain written policies and procedures that govern all aspects of both the standard external review process and the expedited external review process set forth in the Health Carrier External Review Act that include, at a minimum:

(a) A quality assurance mechanism in place that:

(i) Ensures that external reviews are conducted within the specified timeframes and that required notices are provided in a timely manner;

(ii) Ensures the selection of qualified and impartial clinical reviewers to conduct external reviews on behalf of the independent review organization and suitable matching of reviewers to specific cases and that the independent review organization employs or contracts with an adequate number of clinical reviewers to meet this objective;

(iii) Ensures the confidentiality of medical and treatment records and clinical review criteria; and

(iv) Ensures that any person employed by or under contract with the independent review organization adheres to the requirements of the act;

(b) A toll-free telephone service to receive information on a twenty-four-hours-per-day, seven-days-per-week basis related to external reviews that is capable of accepting, recording, or providing appropriate instruction to incoming telephone callers during other than normal business hours; and

(c) An agreement to maintain and provide to the director the information set out in section 44-1315.

(2) All clinical reviewers assigned by an independent review organization to conduct external reviews shall be physicians or other appropriate health care providers who meet the following minimum qualifications:

(a) Be an expert in the treatment of the covered person's medical condition that is the subject of the external review;

(b) Be knowledgeable about the recommended health care service or treatment through recent or current actual clinical experience treating patients with the same or similar medical condition of the covered person;

(c) Hold a nonrestricted license in a state of the United States and, for physicians, a current certification by a recognized medical specialty board in the United States in the area or areas appropriate to the subject of the external review; and

(d) Have no history of disciplinary actions or sanctions, including loss of staff privileges or participation restrictions, that have been taken or are pending by any hospital, governmental agency or unit, or regulatory body that raise a substantial question as to the clinical reviewer's physical, mental, or professional competence or moral character.

(3) In addition to the requirements set forth in subsection (1) of this section, an independent review organization may not own or control, be a subsidiary of, in any way be owned or controlled by, or exercise control with a health benefit plan, a national, state, or local trade association of health benefit plans, or a national, state, or local trade association of health care providers.

(4)(a) In addition to the requirements set forth in subsections (1), (2), and (3) of this section, to be approved pursuant to section 44-1312 to conduct an external review of a specified case, neither the independent review organization selected to conduct the external review nor any clinical reviewer assigned by the independent review organization to conduct the external review may have a material professional, familial, or financial conflict of interest with any of the following:

(i) The health carrier that is the subject of the external review;

(ii) The covered person whose treatment is the subject of the external review or the covered person's authorized representative, if applicable;

(iii) Any officer, director, or management employee of the health carrier that is the subject of the external review;

(iv) The health care provider or the health care provider's medical group or independent practice association recommending the health care service or treatment that is the subject of the external review;

(v) The facility at which the recommended health care service or treatment would be provided; or

(vi) The developer or manufacturer of the principal drug, device, procedure, or other therapy being recommended for the covered person whose treatment is the subject of the external review.

(b) In determining whether an independent review organization or a clinical reviewer of the independent review organization has a material professional, familial, or financial conflict of interest for purposes of subdivision (4)(a) of this section, the director shall take into consideration situations in which the independent review organization to be assigned to conduct an external review of a specified case or a clinical reviewer to be assigned by the independent review organization to conduct an external review of a specified case may have an apparent professional, familial, or financial relationship or connection with a person described in subdivision (4)(a) of this section, but that the characteristics of that relationship or connection are such that they are not a material professional, familial, or financial conflict of interest that results in the disapproval of the independent review organization or the clinical reviewer from conducting the external review.

(5)(a) An independent review organization that is accredited by a nationally recognized private accrediting entity that has independent review accreditation standards that the director has determined are equivalent to or exceed the minimum qualifications of this section shall be presumed in compliance with this section to be eligible for approval under section 44-1312.

(b) The director shall initially review and periodically review the independent review organization accreditation standards of a nationally recognized private accrediting entity to determine whether the entity's standards are, and continue to be, equivalent to or exceed the minimum qualifications established under this section. The director may accept a review conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for the purpose of the determination under this subdivision.

(c) Upon request, a nationally recognized private accrediting entity shall make its current independent review organization accreditation standards available to the director or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in order for the director to determine if the entity's standards are equivalent to or exceed the minimum qualifications established under this section. The director may exclude any private accrediting entity that is not reviewed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

(6) An independent review organization shall be unbiased. An independent review organization shall establish and maintain written procedures to ensure that it is unbiased in addition to any other procedures required under this section.