(a)Who may request an expedited reconsideration. An enrollee or a physician (regardless of whether he or she is affiliated with the MA organization) may request that an MA organization expedite a reconsideration of a determination that involves the issues described in § 422.566(b)(3) and (b)(4). (This does not include requests for payment of services already furnished.)
(b)How to make a request.
(1) To ask for an expedited reconsideration, an enrollee or a physician acting on behalf of an enrollee must submit an oral or written request directly to the MA organization or, if applicable, to the entity responsible for making the reconsideration, as directed by the MA organization.
(2) A physician may provide oral or written support for a request for an expedited reconsideration.
(c)How the MA organization must process requests. The MA organization must establish and maintain the following procedures for processing requests for expedited reconsiderations:
(1)Handling of requests. The MA organization must establish an efficient and convenient means for individuals to submit oral or written requests, document all oral requests in writing, and maintain the documentation in the case file.
(2)Prompt decision. Promptly decide on whether to expedite the reconsideration or follow the timeframe for standard reconsideration based on the following requirements:
(i) For a request made by an enrollee, the MA organization must provide an expedited reconsideration if it determines that applying the standard timeframe for reconsidering a determination could seriously jeopardize the life or health of the enrollee or the enrollee's ability to regain maximum function.
(ii) For a request made or supported by a physician, the MA organization must provide an expedited reconsideration if the physician indicates that applying the standard timeframe for conducting a reconsideration could seriously jeopardize the life or health of the enrollee or the enrollee's ability to regain maximum function.
(d)Actions following denial. If an MA organization denies a request for expedited reconsideration, it must take the following actions:
(1) Automatically transfer a request to the standard timeframe and make the determination within the 30-day timeframe established in § 422.590(a). The 30-day period begins the day the MA organization receives the request for expedited reconsideration.
(2) Give the enrollee prompt oral notice, and subsequently deliver, within 3 calendar days, a written letter that—
(i) Explains that the MA organization will process the enrollee's request using the 30-day timeframe for standard reconsiderations;
(ii) Informs the enrollee of the right to file a grievance if he or she disagrees with the organization's decision not to expedite;
(iii) Informs the enrollee of the right to resubmit a request for an expedited reconsideration with any physician's support; and
(iv) Provides instructions about the grievance process and its timeframes.
(e)Action following acceptance of a request. If an MA organization grants a request for expedited reconsideration, it must conduct the reconsideration and give notice in accordance with § 422.590.
(f)Prohibition of punitive action. An MA organization may not take or threaten to take any punitive action against a physician acting on behalf or in support of an enrollee in requesting an expedited reconsideration.