Subject to subparagraph (B), in promulgating regulations under paragraph (1), initial determinations shall be concluded by not later than the 45-day period beginning on the date the fiscal intermediary or the carrier, as the case may be, receives a claim for benefits from an individual as described in paragraph (1). Notice of such determination shall be mailed to the individual filing the claim before the conclusion of such 45-day period.
Redeterminations shall be concluded by not later than the 60-day period beginning on the date the fiscal intermediary or the carrier, as the case may be, receives a request for a redetermination. Notice of such determination shall be mailed to the individual filing the claim before the conclusion of such 60-day period.
For purposes of the succeeding provisions of this section a redetermination under this paragraph shall be considered to be part of the initial determination.
Subject to subparagraph (D), any individual dissatisfied with any initial determination under subsection (a)(1) shall be entitled to reconsideration of the determination, and, subject to subparagraphs (D) and (E), a hearing thereon by the Secretary to the same extent as is provided in section 405(b) of this title and, subject to paragraph (2), to judicial review of the Secretary’s final decision after such hearing as is provided in section 405(g) of this title. For purposes of the preceding sentence, any reference to the “Commissioner of Social Security” or the “Social Security Administration” in subsection (g) or (l) of section 405 of this title shall be considered a reference to the “Secretary” or the “Department of Health and Human Services”, respectively.
Sections 406(a), 1302, and 1395hh of this title shall not be construed as authorizing the Secretary to prohibit an individual from being represented under this section by a person that furnishes or supplies the individual, directly or indirectly, with services or items, solely on the basis that the person furnishes or supplies the individual with such a service or item.
Any person that furnishes services or items to an individual may not represent an individual under this section with respect to the issue described in section 1395pp(a)(2) of this title unless the person has waived any rights for payment from the beneficiary with respect to the services or items involved in the appeal.
The provisions of section 405(j) of this title and of section 406 of this title (other than subsection (a)(4) of such section) regarding representation of claimants shall apply to representation of an individual with respect to appeals under this section in the same manner as they apply to representation of an individual under those sections.
Reconsideration under subparagraph (A) shall be available only if the individual described in subparagraph (A) files notice with the Secretary to request reconsideration by not later than the end of the 180-day period beginning on the date the individual receives notice of the redetermination under subsection (a)(3), or within such additional time as the Secretary may allow.
A hearing (by the Secretary) shall not be available to an individual under this section if the amount in controversy is less than $100, and judicial review shall not be available to the individual if the amount in controversy is less than $1,000.
For requests for hearings or judicial review made in a year after 2004, the dollar amounts specified in clause (i) shall be equal to such dollar amounts increased by the percentage increase in the medical care component of the consumer price index for all urban consumers (U.S. city average) for July 2003 to the July preceding the year involved. Any amount determined under the previous sentence that is not a multiple of $10 shall be rounded to the nearest multiple of $10.
For the provision relating to expedited access to judicial review, see paragraph (2).
The Secretary shall establish a process under which a provider of services or supplier that furnishes an item or service or an individual entitled to benefits under part A or enrolled under part B, or both, who has filed an appeal under paragraph (1) (other than an appeal filed under paragraph (1)(F)(i)) may obtain access to judicial review when a review entity (described in subparagraph (D)), on its own motion or at the request of the appellant, determines that the Departmental Appeals Board does not have the authority to decide the question of law or regulation relevant to the matters in controversy and that there is no material issue of fact in dispute. The appellant may make such request only once with respect to a question of law or regulation for a specific matter in dispute in a case of an appeal.
If, after or coincident with appropriately filing a request for an administrative hearing, the appellant requests a determination by the appropriate review entity that the Departmental Appeals Board does not have the authority to decide the question of law or regulations relevant to the matters in controversy and that there is no material issue of fact in dispute, and if such request is accompanied by the documents and materials as the appropriate review entity shall require for purposes of making such determination, such review entity shall make a determination on the request in writing within 60 days after the date such review entity receives the request and such accompanying documents and materials. Such a determination by such review entity shall be considered a final decision and not subject to review by the Secretary.
Such action shall be brought in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which the appellant is located (or, in the case of an action brought jointly by more than one applicant, the judicial district in which the greatest number of applicants are located) or in the District Court for the District of Columbia.
Where a provider of services or supplier is granted judicial review pursuant to this paragraph, the amount in controversy (if any) shall be subject to annual interest beginning on the first day of the first month beginning after the 60-day period as determined pursuant to clause (ii) and equal to the rate of interest on obligations issued for purchase by the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund for the month in which the civil action authorized under this paragraph is commenced, to be awarded by the reviewing court in favor of the prevailing party. No interest awarded pursuant to the preceding sentence shall be deemed income or cost for the purposes of determining reimbursement due providers of services or suppliers under this subchapter.
A provider of services or supplier may not introduce evidence in any appeal under this section that was not presented at the reconsideration conducted by the qualified independent contractor under subsection (c), unless there is good cause which precluded the introduction of such evidence at or before that reconsideration.
The Secretary shall enter into contracts with qualified independent contractors to conduct reconsiderations of initial determinations made under subparagraphs (B) and (C) of subsection (a)(1). Contracts shall be for an initial term of three years and shall be renewable on a triennial basis thereafter.
For purposes of this subsection, the term “qualified independent contractor” means an entity or organization that is independent of any organization under contract with the Secretary that makes initial determinations under subsection (a)(1), and that meets the requirements established by the Secretary consistent with paragraph (3).
The qualified independent contractor shall perform such duties and functions and assume such responsibilities as may be required by the Secretary to carry out the provisions of this subsection, and shall have sufficient medical, legal, and other expertise (including knowledge of the program under this subchapter) and sufficient staffing to make reconsiderations under this subsection.
The qualified independent contractor shall review initial determinations. Where an initial determination is made with respect to whether an item or service is reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury (under section 1395y(a)(1)(A) of this title), such review shall include consideration of the facts and circumstances of the initial determination by a panel of physicians or other appropriate health care professionals and any decisions with respect to the reconsideration shall be based on applicable information, including clinical experience (including the medical records of the individual involved) and medical, technical, and scientific evidence.
If the Secretary has made a national coverage determination pursuant to the requirements established under the third sentence of section 1395y(a) of this title, such determination shall be binding on the qualified independent contractor in making a decision with respect to a reconsideration under this section.
If the Secretary has made a local coverage determination, such determination shall not be binding on the qualified independent contractor in making a decision with respect to a reconsideration under this section. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, the qualified independent contractor shall consider the local coverage determination in making such decision.
Except as provided in clauses (iii) and (iv), the qualified independent contractor shall conduct and conclude a reconsideration under subparagraph (B), and mail the notice of the decision with respect to the reconsideration by not later than the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date a request for reconsideration has been timely filed.
In the case of a failure by the qualified independent contractor to mail the notice of the decision by the end of the period described in clause (i) or to provide notice by the end of the period described in clause (iii), as the case may be, the party requesting the reconsideration or appeal may request a hearing before the Secretary, notwithstanding any requirements for a reconsidered determination for purposes of the party’s right to such hearing.
Notwithstanding section 416(j) of this title and subject to clause (iv), not later than the end of the 72-hour period beginning on the date the qualified independent contractor has received a request for such reconsideration and has received such medical or other records needed for such reconsideration, the qualified independent contractor shall provide notice (by telephone and in writing) to the individual and the provider of services and attending physician of the individual of the results of the reconsideration. Such reconsideration shall be conducted regardless of whether the provider of services or supplier will charge the individual for continued services or whether the individual will be liable for payment for such continued services.
In such reconsideration, the qualified independent contractor shall solicit the views of the individual involved.
An individual requesting a reconsideration under this subparagraph may be granted such additional time as the individual specifies (not to exceed 14 days) for the qualified independent contractor to conclude the reconsideration. The individual may request such additional time orally or in writing.
The requirements of subsection (g) shall be met (relating to qualifications of reviewing professionals).
Any decision with respect to a reconsideration of a qualified independent contractor shall be in writing, be written in a manner calculated to be understood by the individual entitled to benefits under part A or enrolled under part B, or both, and shall include (to the extent appropriate) and shall include  a detailed explanation of the decision as well as a discussion of the pertinent facts and applicable regulations applied in making such decision, and  a notification of the right to appeal such determination and instructions on how to initiate such appeal under this section  and  in the case of a determination of whether an item or service is reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury (under section 1395y(a)(1)(A) of this title)  an explanation of the medical and scientific rationale for the decision.
Each qualified independent contractor shall make available all decisions with respect to reconsiderations of such qualified independent contractors to fiscal intermediaries (under section 1395h of this title), carriers (under section 1395u of this title), quality improvement organizations (under part B of subchapter XI), Medicare+Choice organizations offering Medicare+Choice plans under part C, other entities under contract with the Secretary to make initial determinations under part A or part B or subchapter XI, and to the public. The Secretary shall establish a methodology under which qualified independent contractors shall carry out this subparagraph.
Consistent with the requirements of clause (ii), a qualified independent contractor shall collect such information relevant to its functions, and keep and maintain such records in such form and manner as the Secretary may require to carry out the purposes of this section and shall permit access to and use of any such information and records as the Secretary may require for such purposes.
No qualified independent contractor having a contract with the Secretary under this subsection and no person who is employed by, or who has a fiduciary relationship with, any such qualified independent contractor or who furnishes professional services to such qualified independent contractor, shall be held by reason of the performance of any duty, function, or activity required or authorized pursuant to this subsection or to a valid contract entered into under this subsection, to have violated any criminal law, or to be civilly liable under any law of the United States or of any State (or political subdivision thereof) provided due care was exercised in the performance of such duty, function, or activity.
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), an administrative law judge shall conduct and conclude a hearing on a decision of a qualified independent contractor under subsection (c) and render a decision on such hearing by not later than the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date a request for hearing has been timely filed.
The Departmental Appeals Board of the Department of Health and Human Services shall conduct and conclude a review of the decision on a hearing described in paragraph (1) and make a decision or remand the case to the administrative law judge for reconsideration by not later than the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date a request for review has been timely filed.
In the case of a failure by an administrative law judge to render a decision by the end of the period described in paragraph (1), the party requesting the hearing may request a review by the Departmental Appeals Board of the Department of Health and Human Services, notwithstanding any requirements for a hearing for purposes of the party’s right to such a review.
A regulation or instruction that relates to a method for determining the amount of payment under part B and that was initially issued before January 1, 1981, shall not be subject to judicial review.
The Secretary shall perform such outreach activities as are necessary to inform individuals entitled to benefits under this subchapter and providers of services and suppliers with respect to their rights of, and the process for, appeals made under this section. The Secretary shall use the toll-free telephone number maintained by the Secretary under section 1395b–2(b) of this title to provide information regarding appeal rights and respond to inquiries regarding the status of appeals.
The Secretary shall provide to each qualified independent contractor, and, in consultation with the Commissioner of Social Security, to administrative law judges that decide appeals of reconsiderations of initial determinations or other decisions or determinations under this section, such continuing education with respect to coverage of items and services under this subchapter or policies of the Secretary with respect to part B of subchapter XI as is necessary for such qualified independent contractors and administrative law judges to make informed decisions with respect to appeals.
The Secretary shall submit to Congress an annual report describing the number of appeals for the previous year, identifying issues that require administrative or legislative actions, and including any recommendations of the Secretary with respect to such actions. The Secretary shall include in such report an analysis of determinations by qualified independent contractors with respect to inconsistent decisions and an analysis of the causes of any such inconsistencies.
Not less frequently than every 5 years, the Secretary shall conduct a survey of a valid sample of individuals entitled to benefits under this subchapter who have filed appeals of determinations under this section, providers of services, and suppliers to determine the satisfaction of such individuals or entities with the process for appeals of determinations provided for under this section and education and training provided by the Secretary with respect to that process. The Secretary shall submit to Congress a report describing the results of the survey, and shall include any recommendations for administrative or legislative actions that the Secretary determines appropriate.
For purposes of this section, the term “national coverage determination” means a determination by the Secretary with respect to whether or not a particular item or service is covered nationally under this subchapter, but does not include a determination of what code, if any, is assigned to a particular item or service covered under this subchapter or a determination with respect to the amount of payment made for a particular item or service so covered.
For purposes of this section, the term “local coverage determination” means a determination by a fiscal intermediary or a carrier under part A or part B, as applicable, respecting whether or not a particular item or service is covered on an intermediary- or carrier-wide basis under such parts, in accordance with section 1395y(a)(1)(A) of this title.
An action under this subsection seeking review of a national coverage determination or local coverage determination may be initiated only by individuals entitled to benefits under part A, or enrolled under part B, or both, who are in need of the items or services that are the subject of the coverage determination.
Each decision of a hearing by the Secretary with respect to a national coverage determination shall be made public, and the Secretary shall publish each decision on the Medicare  Internet site of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Secretary shall remove from such decision any information that would identify any individual, provider of services, or supplier.
Not later than December 1 of each year, beginning in 2001, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report that sets forth a detailed compilation of the actual time periods that were necessary to complete and fully implement national coverage determinations that were made in the previous fiscal year for items, services, or medical devices not previously covered as a benefit under this subchapter, including, with respect to each new item, service, or medical device, a statement of the time taken by the Secretary to make and implement the necessary coverage, coding, and payment determinations, including the time taken to complete each significant step in the process of making and implementing such determinations.
Compensation provided by a qualified independent contractor to a reviewer in connection with a review under this section shall not be contingent on the decision rendered by the reviewer.
With respect to a medicare administrative contractor that has a contract under section 1395kk–1 of this title that provides for making payments under this subchapter with respect to physicians’ services (as defined in section 1395w–4(j)(3) of this title), the Secretary shall establish a prior determination process that meets the requirements of this subsection and that shall be applied by such contractor in the case of eligible requesters.
The Secretary shall establish by regulation reasonable limits on the physicians’ services for which a prior determination of coverage may be requested under this subsection. In establishing such limits, the Secretary may consider the dollar amount involved with respect to the physicians’ service, administrative costs and burdens, and other relevant factors.
Subject to paragraph (2), under the process established under this subsection an eligible requester may submit to the contractor a request for a determination, before the furnishing of a physicians’ service, as to whether the physicians’ service is covered under this subchapter consistent with the applicable requirements of section 1395y(a)(1)(A) of this title(relating to medical necessity).
The Secretary may require that the request be accompanied by a description of the physicians’ service, supporting documentation relating to the medical necessity for the physicians’ service, and any other appropriate documentation. In the case of a request submitted by an eligible requester who is described in paragraph (1)(B)(ii), the Secretary may require that the request also be accompanied by a copy of the advance beneficiary notice involved.
If the contractor makes the determination described in subparagraph (A)(ii), the contractor shall include in the notice a brief explanation of the basis for the determination, including on what national or local coverage or noncoverage determination (if any) the determination is based, and a description of any applicable rights under subsection (a).
In the case of a request by a participating physician under paragraph (1)(B)(i), the process shall provide that the individual to whom the physicians’ service is proposed to be furnished shall be informed of any determination described in subparagraph (A)(ii) (relating to a determination of non-coverage) and the right (referred to in paragraph (6)(B)) to obtain the physicians’ service and have a claim submitted for the physicians’ service.
If the contractor makes the determination described in paragraph (4)(A)(i), such determination shall be binding on the contractor in the absence of fraud or evidence of misrepresentation of facts presented to the contractor.
Under the process established in paragraph (1), such a mediator shall mediate in disputes between groups representing providers of services, suppliers (as defined in section 1395x(d) of this title), and the medical director for a medicare administrative contractor whenever the regional administrator (as defined by the Secretary) involved determines that there was a systematic pattern and a large volume of complaints from such groups regarding decisions of such director or there is a complaint from the co-chair of the advisory committee for that contractor to such regional administrator regarding such dispute.