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Title 8. Industrial Relations
Division 1. Department of Industrial Relations
Chapter 4.5. Division of Workers' Compensation
Subchapter 1. Administrative Director -Administrative Rules
Article 5.5.1. Utilization Review Standards
New Query

§9792.10.6. Independent Medical Review - Standards and Timeframes.

(a) The independent medical review process may be terminated at any time upon notice by the claims administrator to the independent review organization that the disputed medical treatment has been authorized.
(b)(1) Upon assignment of the disputed medical treatment for independent medical review, the independent review organization shall designate a medical reviewer to conduct an examination of the documents submitted pursuant to section 9792.10.5 and issue a determination, using plain language where possible, as to whether the disputed medical treatment is medically necessary. For the purpose of independent medical review, “medically necessary” means medical treatment that is reasonably required to cure or relieve the employee of the effects of their injury and based on the standards set forth in Labor Code section 4610.5(c)(2).
(2) If a claims administrator fails to submit the documentation required under section 9792.10.5(a)(1), a medical reviewer may, issue a determination as to whether the disputed medical treatment is medically necessary based on both a summary of medical records listed in the utilization review determination issued under section 9792.9.1(e)(5), and documents submitted by the employee or requesting physician under section 9792.10.5(b) or (c). No independent medical review determination shall issue based solely on the information provided by a utilization review determination.
(c) The independent review organization, upon written approval by the Administrative Director, may utilize more than one medical reviewer to reach a determination regarding the medical necessity of a disputed medical treatment if it is found that the employee's condition and the disputed medical treatment is sufficiently complex such that a single reviewer could not reasonably address all disputed issues.
(d) The determination issued by the medical reviewer shall state whether the disputed medical treatment is medically necessary. The determination shall include the employee's medical condition, a list of the documents reviewed, a statement of the disputed medical treatment, references to the specific medical and scientific evidence utilized and the clinical reasons regarding medical necessity.
(e) The independent review organization shall provide the Administrative Director, the claims administrator, the employee, if represented the employee's attorney, and the employee's provider with a final determination regarding the medical necessity of the disputed medical treatment. With the final determination, the independent review organization shall provide a description of the qualifications of the medical reviewer or reviewers and the determination issued by the medical reviewer.
(1) If more than one medical reviewer reviewed the case, the independent review organization shall provide each reviewer's determination.
(2) The recommendation of the majority of medical reviewers shall prevail. If the reviewers are evenly split as to whether the disputed medical treatment should be provided, the decision shall be in favor of providing the treatment.
(f) The independent review organization shall keep the names of the reviewer, or reviewers if applicable, confidential in all communications with entities or individuals outside the independent review organization.
(g) Timeframes for final determinations:
(1) For regular review, the independent review organization shall complete its review and make its final determination within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the Application for Independent Medical Review, DWC Form IMR, and the supporting documentation and information provided under section 9792.10.5.
(A) If two (2) or more requests for independent medical review are consolidated under section 9792.10.4(a), the thirty (30) day period for the independent review organization to complete its review and make its final determination shall begin upon receipt of the last filed application for independent medical review that was consolidated for determination and the supporting documentation and information for that application.
(B) If, under section 9792.10.1(d)(3), an internal utilization review appeal modifies a utilization review determination for which an application for independent medical review was previously filed under section 9792.10.1(b), the thirty (30) day period for the independent review organization to complete its review and make its final determination shall begin upon receipt of the application for independent medical review requesting review of the modified treatment, and the supporting documentation and information for that application.
(2) For expedited review where the disputed medical treatment has not been provided, the independent review organization shall complete its review and make its final determination within three (3) days of the receipt of the Application for Independent Medical Review, DWC Form IMR, and the supporting documentation and information provided under section 9792.10.5.
(3) Subject to the approval of the Administrative Director, the deadlines for final determinations from the independent review organization, involving both regular and expedited reviews, may be extended for up to three days in extraordinary circumstances or for good cause.
(h) The final determination issued by the independent review organization shall be deemed to be the determination of the Administrative Director and shall be binding on all parties.
(i) Upon receipt of credible information that the claims administrator has failed to comply with its obligations under the independent medical review requirements set forth in Labor Code sections 4610.5 or in sections 9792.6 through 9792.10.8 of this Article, the Administrative Director shall, concurrent or subsequent to the issuance of the final determination issued by the independent review organization, issue an order to show cause under section 9792.15 for the assessment of administrative penalties against the claims administrator under section 9792.12(c).
Note: Authority: Sections 133, 4603.5, 4610.5 and 5307.3, Labor Code. Reference: Sections 4062, 4600, 4600.4, 4604.5, 4610 and 4610.5, Labor Code.
HISTORY
1. New section filed 12-31-2012 as an emergency; operative 1-1-2013 pursuant to Government Code section 11346.1(d) (Register 2013, No. 1). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted to OAL by 7-1-2013 or emergency language will be repealed by operation of law on the following day.
2. New section refiled 7-1-2013 as an emergency; operative 7-1-2013 (Register 2013, No. 27). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted to OAL by 9-30-2013 or emergency language will be repealed by operation of law on the following day.
3. New section refiled 9-30-2013 as an emergency; operative 10-1-2013 (Register 2013, No. 40). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted to OAL by 12-30-2013 or emergency language will be repealed by operation of law on the following day.
4. Certificate of Compliance as to 9-30-2013 order, including amendment of section and Note, transmitted to OAL 12-30-2013 and filed 2-12-2014; amendments effective 2-12-2014 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2014, No. 7).

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