(a)General rule. Each Part D plan sponsor must provide meaningful procedures for timely hearing and resolving grievances between enrollees and the Part D plan sponsor or any other entity or individual through whom the Part D plan sponsor provides covered benefits under any Part D plan it offers.
(b)Distinguished from appeals. Grievance procedures are separate and distinct from appeal procedures, which address coverage determinations as defined in § 423.566(b). Upon receiving a complaint, a Part D plan sponsor must promptly determine and inform the enrollee whether the complaint is subject to its grievance procedures or its appeal procedures.
(c)Distinguished from the quality improvement organization complaint process. Under section 1154(a)(14) of the Act, the quality improvement organization (QIO) must review enrollees' written complaints about the quality of services they have received under the Medicare program. This process is separate and distinct from the grievance procedures of the Part D plan sponsor. For quality of care issues, an enrollee may file a grievance with the Part D plan sponsor, file a written complaint with the QIO, or both. For any complaint submitted to a QIO, the Part D plan sponsor must cooperate with the QIO in resolving the complaint.
(d)Method for filing a grievance.
(1) An enrollee may file a grievance with the Part D plan sponsor either orally or in writing.
(2) An enrollee must file a grievance no later than 60 calendar days after the event or incident that precipitates the grievance.
(e)Grievance disposition and notification.
(1) The Part D plan sponsor must notify the enrollee of its decision as expeditiously as the case requires, based on the enrollee's health status, but no later than 30 calendar days after the date the Part D plan sponsor receives the oral or written grievance.
(2) The Part D plan sponsor may extend the 30 calendar day timeframe by up to 14 calendar days if the enrollee requests the extension or if the Part D plan sponsor justifies a need for additional information and documents how the delay is in the interest of the enrollee. When the Part D plan sponsor extends the deadline, it must immediately notify the enrollee in writing of the reason(s) for the delay.
(3) The Part D plan sponsor must inform the enrollee of the disposition of the grievance in accordance with the following procedures:
(i) All grievances submitted in writing must be responded to in writing.
(ii) Grievances submitted orally may be responded to either orally or in writing, unless the enrollee requests a written response.
(iii) All grievances related to quality of care, regardless of how the grievance is filed, must be responded to in writing. The response must include a description of the enrollee's right to file a written complaint with the QIO. For any complaint submitted to a QIO, the Part D plan sponsor must cooperate with the QIO in resolving the complaint.
(f)Expedited grievances. A Part D plan sponsor must respond to an enrollee's grievance within 24 hours if the complaint involves a refusal by the Part D plan sponsor to grant an enrollee's request for an expedited coverage determination under § 423.570 or an expedited redetermination under § 423.584, and the enrollee has not yet purchased or received the drug that is in dispute.
(g)Record keeping. The Part D plan sponsor must have an established process to track and maintain records on all grievances received both orally and in writing, including, at a minimum, the date of receipt, final disposition of the grievance, and the date that the enrollee was notified of the disposition.