(1) A QHP issuer must have a sufficient number and geographic distribution of essential community providers, where available, to ensure reasonable and timely access to a broad range of such providers for low-income, medically underserved individuals in the QHP's service area, in accordance with the Exchange's network adequacy standards.
(2) A QHP issuer that provides a majority of covered professional services through physicians employed by the issuer or through a single contracted medical group may instead comply with the alternate standard described in paragraph (b) of this section.
(3) Nothing in this requirement shall be construed to require any QHP to provide coverage for any specific medical procedure provided by the essential community provider.
(b)Alternate standard. A QHP issuer described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section must have a sufficient number and geographic distribution of employed providers and hospital facilities, or providers of its contracted medical group and hospital facilities to ensure reasonable and timely access for low-income, medically underserved individuals in the QHP's service area, in accordance with the Exchange's network adequacy standards.
(c)Definition. Essential community providers are providers that serve predominantly low-income, medically underserved individuals, including providers that meet the criteria of paragraph (c)(1) or (2) of this section, and providers that met the criteria under paragraph (c)(1) or (2) of this section on the publication date of this regulation unless the provider lost its status under paragraph (c)(1) or (2) of this section thereafter as a result of violating Federal law:
(1) Health care providers defined in section 340B(a)(4) of the PHS Act; and
(2) Providers described in section 1927(c)(1)(D)(i)(IV) of the Act as set forth by section 221 ofPublic Law 111-8.
(d)Payment rates. Nothing in paragraph (a) of this section shall be construed to require a QHP issuer to contract with an essential community provider if such provider refuses to accept the generally applicable payment rates of such issuer.
(e)Payment of federally-qualified health centers. If an item or service covered by a QHP is provided by a federally-qualified health center (as defined in section 1905(l)(2)(B) of the Act) to an enrollee of a QHP, the QHP issuer must pay the federally-qualified health center for the item or service an amount that is not less than the amount of payment that would have been paid to the center under section 1902(bb) of the Act for such item or service. Nothing in this paragraph (e) would preclude a QHP issuer and federally-qualified health center from mutually agreeing upon payment rates other than those that would have been paid to the center under section 1902(bb) of the Act, as long as such mutually agreed upon rates are at least equal to the generally applicable payment rates of the issuer indicated in paragraph (d) of this section.
Title 45 published on 2014-10-01.
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