CA Health & Safety Code Section 1374.34


Upon receiving the decision adopted by the director pursuant to Section 1374.33 that a disputed health care service is medically necessary, the plan shall promptly implement the decision. In the case of reimbursement for services already rendered, the plan shall reimburse the provider or enrollee, whichever applies, within five working days. In the case of services not yet rendered, the plan shall authorize the services within five working days of receipt of the written decision from the director, or sooner if appropriate for the nature of the enrollee’s medical condition, and shall inform the enrollee and provider of the authorization in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision (h) of Section 1367.01.


A plan shall not engage in any conduct that has the effect of prolonging the independent review process. The engaging in that conduct or the failure of the plan to promptly implement the decision is a violation of this chapter and, in addition to any other fines, penalties, and other remedies available to the director under this chapter, the plan shall be subject to an administrative penalty of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each day that the decision is not implemented. The administrative penalties shall be paid to the Managed Care Administrative Fines and Penalties Fund and shall be used for the purposes specified in Section 1341.45.


The director shall require the plan to promptly reimburse the enrollee for any reasonable costs associated with those services when the director finds that the disputed health care services were a covered benefit under the terms and conditions of the health care service plan contract, and the services are found by the independent medical review organization to have been medically necessary pursuant to Section 1374.33, and either the enrollee’s decision to secure the services outside of the plan provider network was reasonable under the emergency or urgent medical circumstances, or the health care service plan contract does not require or provide prior authorization before the health care services are provided to the enrollee.


In addition to requiring plan compliance regarding subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) the director shall review individual cases submitted for independent medical review to determine whether any enforcement actions, including penalties, may be appropriate. In particular, where substantial harm, as defined in Section 3428 of the Civil Code, to an enrollee has already occurred because of the decision of a plan, or one of its contracting providers, to delay, deny, or modify covered health care services that an independent medical review determines to be medically necessary pursuant to Section 1374.33, the director shall impose penalties.


Pursuant to Section 1368.04, the director shall perform an annual audit of independent medical review cases for the dual purposes of education and the opportunity to determine if any investigative or enforcement actions should be undertaken by the department, particularly if a plan repeatedly fails to act promptly and reasonably to resolve grievances associated with a delay, denial, or modification of medically necessary health care services when the obligation of the plan to provide those health care services to enrollees or subscribers is reasonably clear.


A plan’s provision of prescription drugs to a Medi-Cal beneficiary pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) of Section 14105.33 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and in accordance with the State Department of Health Care Services coverage policies shall not be a ground for an enforcement action. Nothing in this article is intended to limit a plan’s responsibility to provide medically necessary health care services pursuant to this chapter.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 1374.34’s source at ca​.gov