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Chapter 4.5. Division of Workers' Compensation
Subchapter 1. Administrative Director--Administrative Rules
Article 5.5.1. Utilization Review Standards
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§9792.6. Utilization Review Standards - Definitions - On or After January 1, 2013.

The following definitions apply to any request for authorization of medical treatment, made under Article 5.5.1 of this Subchapter, for either: (1) an occupational injury or illness occurring on or after January 1, 2013; or (2) where the decision on the request for authorization of medical treatment is communicated to the requesting physician on or after July 1, 2013, regardless of the date of injury.

(a) “Authorization” means assurance that appropriate reimbursement will be made for an approved specific course of proposed medical treatment to cure or relieve the effects of the industrial injury pursuant to section 4600 of the Labor Code, subject to the provisions of section 5402 of the Labor Code, based on either a completed “Request for Authorization,” DWC Form RFA, as contained in California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 9785.5, or a request for authorization of medical treatment accepted as complete by the claims administrator under section 9792.9.1(c)(2), that has been transmitted by the treating physician to the claims administrator. Authorization shall be given pursuant to the timeframe, procedure, and notice requirements of California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 9792.9.1, and may be provided by utilizing the indicated response section of the “Request for Authorization,” DWC Form RFA if that form was initially submitted by the treating physician.

(b) “Claims Administrator” is a self-administered workers' compensation insurer of an insured employer, a self-administered self-insured employer, a self-administered legally uninsured employer, a self-administered joint powers authority, a third-party claims administrator or other entity subject to Labor Code section 4610, the California Insurance Guarantee Association, and the director of the Department of Industrial Relations as administrator for the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF). “Claims Administrator” includes any utilization review organization under contract to provide or conduct the claims administrator's utilization review responsibilities.

(c) “Concurrent review” means utilization review conducted during an inpatient stay.

(d) “Course of treatment” means the course of medical treatment set forth in the treatment plan contained on the “Doctor's First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness,” Form DLSR 5021, found at California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 14006, or on the “Primary Treating Physician's Progress Report,” DWC Form PR-2, as contained in section 9785.2 or in narrative form containing the same information required in the DWC Form PR-2.

(e) “Delay” means a determination, based on the need for additional evidence as set forth in section 9792.9.1(f), that the timeframe requirements for the utilization review process provided in section 9792.9.1(c) cannot be met.

(f) “Denial” means a decision by a physician reviewer that the requested treatment or service is is not authorized.

(g) “Dispute liability” means an assertion by the claims administrator that a factual, medical, or legal basis exists, other than medical necessity, that precludes compensability on the part of the claims administrator for an occupational injury, a claimed injury to any part or parts of the body, or a requested medical treatment.

(h) “Disputed medical treatment” means medical treatment that has been modified, or denied by a utilization review decision.

(i) “Emergency health care services” means health care services for a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to place the patient's health in serious jeopardy.

(j) “Expedited review” means utilization review or independent medical review conducted when the injured worker's condition is such that the injured worker faces an imminent and serious threat to his or her health, including, but not limited to, the potential loss of life, limb, or other major bodily function, or the normal timeframe for the decision-making process would be detrimental to the injured worker's life or health or could jeopardize the injured worker's permanent ability to regain maximum function.

(k) “Expert reviewer” means a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, psychologist, acupuncturist, optometrist, dentist, podiatrist, or chiropractic practitioner licensed by any state or the District of Columbia, competent to evaluate the specific clinical issues involved in the medical treatment services and where these services are within the individual's scope of practice, who has been consulted by the reviewer or the utilization review medical director to provide specialized review of medical information.

(l) “Health care provider” means a provider of medical services, as well as related services or goods, including but not limited to an individual provider or facility, a health care service plan, a health care organization, a member of a preferred provider organization or medical provider network as provided in Labor Code section 4616.

(m) “Immediately” means within one business day.

(n) “Material modification” is when the claims administrator changes utilization review vendor or makes a change to the utilization review standards as specified in section 9792.7.

(o) “Medical Director” is the physician and surgeon licensed by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Board of California who holds an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the State of California. The Medical Director is responsible for all decisions made in the utilization review process.

(p) “Medical services” means those goods and services provided pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Labor Code section 4600) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 4 of the Labor Code.

(q) “Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule” means the standards of care adopted by the Administrative Director pursuant to Labor Code section 5307.27 and set forth in Article 5.5.2 of this Subchapter, beginning with section 9792.20.

(r) “Modification” means a decision by a physician reviewer that part of the requested treatment or service is not medically necessary.

(s) “Prospective review” means any utilization review conducted, except for utilization review conducted during an inpatient stay, prior to the delivery of the requested medical services

(t) “Request for authorization” means a written request for a specific course of proposed medical treatment.

(1) Unless accepted by a claims administrator under section 9792.9.1(c)(2), a request for authorization must be set forth on a “Request for Authorization (DWC Form RFA),” completed by a treating physician, as contained in California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 9785.5. Prior to March 1, 2014, any version of the DWC Form RFA adopted by the Administrative Director under section 9785.5 may be used by the treating physician to request medical treatment.

(2) “Completed,” for the purpose of this section and for purposes of investigations and penalties, means that the request for authorization must identify both the employee and the provider, identify with specificity a recommended treatment or treatments, and be accompanied by documentation substantiating the need for the requested treatment.

(3) The request for authorization must be signed by the treating physician and may be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to, if designated, the address, fax number, or e-mail address designated by the claims administrator for this purpose. By agreement of the parties, the treating physician may submit the request for authorization with an electronic signature.

(u) “Retrospective review” means utilization review conducted after medical services have been provided and for which approval has not already been given.

(v) “Reviewer” means a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, psychologist, acupuncturist, optometrist, dentist, podiatrist, or chiropractic practitioner licensed by any state or the District of Columbia, competent to evaluate the specific clinical issues involved in medical treatment services, where these services are within the scope of the reviewer's practice.

(w) “Utilization review decision” means a decision pursuant to Labor Code section 4610 to approve, modify, delay, or deny, a treatment recommendation or recommendations by a physician prior to, retrospectively, or concurrent with the provision of medical treatment services pursuant to Labor Code sections 4600 or 5402(c).

(x) “Utilization review plan” means the written plan filed with the Administrative Director pursuant to Labor Code section 4610, setting forth the policies and procedures, and a description of the utilization review process.

(y) “Utilization review process” means utilization management functions that prospectively, retrospectively, or concurrently review and approve, modify, delay, or deny, based in whole or in part on medical necessity to cure or relieve, treatment recommendations by physicians, as defined in Labor Code section 3209.3, prior to, retrospectively, or concurrent with the provision of medical treatment services pursuant to Labor Code section 4600. The utilization review process begins when the completed DWC Form RFA, or a request for authorization accepted as complete under section 9792.9.1(c)(2), is first received by the claims administrator, or in the case of prior authorization, when the treating physician satisfies the conditions described in the utilization review plan for prior authorization.

(z) “Written” includes a communication transmitted by facsimile or in paper form. Electronic mail may be used by agreement of the parties although an employee's health records shall not be transmitted via electronic mail.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 133, 4603.5 and 5307.3, Labor Code. Reference: Sections 3209.3, 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, 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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