Tuesday, November 22, 2016


The contracting provider agreement requires providers to cooperate in utilization review and medical necessity determinations. Utilization review is the process of determining the appropriateness of services rendered to and payments made on behalf of members. Appropriateness of service and payment determinations consist of the following activities:


Medical necessity policy applies to all services rendered to BCBSKS members and includes any services or supplies used to diagnose and/or treat illness or injury. The service should be widely accepted by a peer group of practicing providers, based on scientific criteria and determined to be reasonably safe. Health care professionals should discuss all appropriate treatment alternatives available to patients regardless of benefit coverage limitations. To be determined medically necessary, the service must be consistent with the diagnosis and treatment of the condition; be in accordance with standards of good health care practice; and not be for the convenience of the patient or provider. The following procedures/equipment would be subject to medical necessity and utilization review:

1. Established procedures/equipment of questionable current usefulness in the treatment of a specific condition(s).

2. Procedures/equipment which tend to be redundant when performed/supplied in combination with other procedures/equipment; or procedures/equipment which are unlikely to provide additional medical benefits, or are contradicting to one another.

3. Specific procedures/equipment or patterns of care which vary significantly from a peer group.


Before admitting a member to a hospital for elective (non-obstetrical, non-life threatening) inpatient care, medical information will need to be supplied to BCBSKS in order to certify medical necessity. A length of stay will be assigned at the time of pre-certification and will be subject to concurrent review. Concurrent review is the process of obtaining current medical information to review for the medical necessity of a requested extension to the length of stay or course of treatment. For the most accurate and complete information, all pre-admission certification should be validated through the BCBSKS provider portal (Availity®).

BCBSKS pre-admission certification and concurrent review activity are conducted in compliance with URAC guidelines. This includes the availability of either the expedited or standard appeal to services denied for medical necessity during the pre-admission certification and concurrent review processes. To initiate an appeal (phone or fax), you must have complete information since the time frame begins with the appeal request. These appeal options are only available prior to claim submission and are subject to time frames as established by BCBSKS, Department of Labor, and URAC. All pre-admission certification appeals for professional and hospital services will be reviewed concomitantly.


Under certain circumstances, pre-certification/prior authorization may be required for outpatient services/procedures. BCBSKS will notify contracting providers at least 30 days in advance of such requirement.

Pre-certification/prior authorization may also be required for other outpatient services such as home medical equipment and case management, including those services specified by employers, and outpatient procedures which necessitate a greater level of facility care than is usually needed.

Following provider notification, continued failure to complete pre-certification/prior authorization activities will result in a 50 percent Maximum Allowable Payment (MAP) reduction up to $200 with the member held harmless. Compliance audits will take place on a post-payment basis, which may result in refunds.


Case management is a process that identifies and coordinates alternative treatment plans to enhance care through effective administration of available health care resources in the most cost-efficient manner. The process is accomplished through the development of a treatment plan by the patient or legal representative, the physician, other health care providers, and the BCBSKS case manager.


BCBSKS will identify any trends or patterns of patient care, i.e., through data analysis, which appear inconsistent with overall patterns or trends. Prepayment review will be implemented if attempts to work with the provider have failed to resolve the issue. Specific utilization guidelines may be applied to individual prepay members. Prepayment review means all claims will be reviewed before payment and records will be required.


The provider agrees to use (to the extent possible) those inpatient, extended care, ancillary services and other health facilities and health professionals which have contracted with BCBSKS. Providers agree to render services to members in the most appropriate and economical setting consistent with the member’s diagnosis, treatment needs, and medical condition.

Actions taken for providers' lack of compliance will range from provider education to financial assessments and finally requesting contract cancellation. In the event members request referrals to non-contracting providers, providers should have patients sign a statement acknowledging full understanding of the non-contracting referral and the patient’s financial responsibilities. The statement should be filed in the patient’s chart.


Providers agree to work with BCBSKS and other providers of care in the resolution of any utilization or medical review problems that may be identified. Actions taken for providers' lack of compliance will range from provider education to financial assessments and finally contract cancellation.


Occasionally BCBSKS does not consider an item or service to be medically necessary. In such situations the item or service becomes a provider write-off. In the few situations where services are known to be denied as not medically necessary (including deluxe items) and the patient insists on the services, the provider must obtain a patient waiver in advance of the services being rendered. (See Section X. WAIVER FORM)
Failure to discuss the above with the patient in advance, document this in the medical record, and obtain the waiver will result in a provider write-off.

NOTE: BCBSKS members are not to be billed for services determined to be unnecessary through the medical and utilization review process, per the Contracting Provider Agreements.

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