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URAC Seeks Public Input on New Uniform External Review Standards for Health Plan and Health Utilization Management Organizations
Date:7/16/2009

ttle uniformity among the states regarding external review processes. The NAIC's Model Act addresses these variations by establishing standardized protocols for external review, a process designed to ensure that consumers have an avenue to seek an independent review of a health insurer's denial of benefits for specific procedures or services.

"URAC has always been focused on setting clear, high quality standards for managed care providers. We support NAIC's Model Act, and wanted to be sure that our criteria for Health Plan and Health Utilization Management accreditation accurately addressed the NAIC policies," said Doug Metz, DC, Chair of URAC's Health Standards Committee and Executive Vice President and Chief Health Services Officer for American Specialty Health. "The consumer protection and transparency needed when seeking an independent review of claims was also important to include in the URAC standards."

So far, two states have enacted legislation comparable to the Model Act. Governor C.L. Butch Otter signed the Idaho Health Carrier External Review Act (HB 192, 2009) on April 1, 2009. And, on May 20, 2009, Governor Jodi Rell of Connecticut signed Senate Bill 959, the State's version of the Model Act.

"As we move toward enhancing and streamlining healthcare in America, standardization of independent medical peer review processes, timeframes, methods, and credentialing requirements across the United States is an important issue," said Jeffrey L. Gabardi, Senior Vice President of State Affairs for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). "We applaud URAC for enhancing its standards to provide an avenue for health carriers to achieve independent verification that they are abiding by the Model Act."

In addition to its call for public comments on the Web, URAC will conduct focus group meetings on August 6, 2009 and on August 27, 2009 from 2 - 4 p.m. EDT to review standards and
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