(a) The department shall contract with one or more independent medical review organizations in the state to conduct reviews for purposes of this article. The independent medical review organizations shall be independent of any disability insurer doing business in this state. The commissioner may establish additional requirements, including conflict-of-interest standards, consistent with the purposes of this article, that an organization shall be required to meet in order to qualify for participation in the Independent Medical Review System and to assist the department in carrying out its responsibilities.
(b) The independent medical review
organizations and the medical professionals retained to conduct reviews shall be deemed to be medical consultants for purposes of Section 43.98 of the Civil Code.
(c) The independent medical review organization, any experts it designates to conduct a review, or any officer, director, or employee of the independent medical review organization shall not have any material professional, familial, or financial affiliation, as determined by the commissioner, with any of the following:
(2) Any officer, director, or employee of the insurer.
(3) A physician, the physician’s medical group, or the independent practice association involved in the health
care service in dispute.
(4) The facility or institution at which either the proposed health care service, or the alternative service, if any, recommended by the insurer, would be provided.
(5) The development or manufacture of the principal drug, device, procedure, or other therapy proposed by the insured whose treatment is under review, or the alternative therapy, if any, recommended by the insurer.
(6) The insured or the insured’s immediate family.
(d) In order to contract with the department for purposes of this article, an independent medical review organization shall meet all of the following requirements:
(1) The organization shall not be an affiliate or a subsidiary of, nor in any way be owned or controlled by, a disability insurer or a trade association of insurers. A board member, director, officer, or employee of the independent medical review organization shall not serve as a board member, director, or employee of a disability insurer. A board member, director, or officer of a disability insurer or a trade association of insurers shall not serve as a board member, director, officer, or employee of an independent medical review organization.
(2) The organization shall submit to the department the following information upon initial application to contract for purposes of this article and, except as otherwise provided, annually thereafter upon any change to any of the following information:
(A) The names of all stockholders and owners of more than 5 percent of any stock or options, if a publicly held organization.
(B) The names of all holders of bonds or notes in excess of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), if any.
(C) The names of all corporations and organizations that the independent medical review organization controls or is affiliated with, and the nature and extent of any ownership or control, including the affiliated organization’s type of business.
(D) The names and biographical sketches of all directors, officers, and executives of the independent medical review organization, as well as a statement regarding any past or present relationships the directors, officers, and executives may have
with any health care service plan, disability insurer, managed care organization, provider group, or board or committee of an insurer, a plan, a managed care organization, or a provider group.
(E) (i)The percentage of revenue the independent medical review organization receives from expert reviews, including, but
not limited to, external medical reviews, quality assurance reviews, and utilization reviews.
(ii) The names of any insurer or provider group for which the independent medical review organization provides review services, including, but not limited to, utilization review, quality assurance review, and external medical review. Any change in this information shall be reported to the department within five business days of the change.
(F) A description of the review process including, but not limited to, the method of selecting expert reviewers and matching the expert reviewers to specific cases.
(G) A description of the system the independent medical review organization uses to identify and recruit
medical professionals to review treatment and treatment recommendation decisions, the number of medical professionals credentialed, and the types of cases and areas of expertise that the medical professionals are credentialed to review.
(H) A description of how the independent medical review organization ensures compliance with the conflict-of-interest provisions of this section.
(3) The organization shall demonstrate that it has a quality assurance mechanism in place that does the following:
(A) Ensures that the medical professionals retained are appropriately credentialed and privileged.
(B) Ensures that the reviews provided by the medical professionals
are timely, clear, and credible, and that reviews are monitored for quality on an ongoing basis.
(C) Ensures that the method of selecting medical professionals for individual cases achieves a fair and impartial panel of medical professionals who are qualified to render recommendations regarding the clinical conditions and the medical necessity of treatments or therapies in question.
(D) Ensures the confidentiality of medical records and the review materials, consistent with the requirements of this section and applicable state and federal law.
(E) Ensures the independence of the medical professionals retained to perform the reviews through conflict-of-interest policies and prohibitions, and ensures adequate screening for
conflicts of interest, pursuant to paragraph (5).
(4) Medical professionals selected by independent medical review organizations to review medical treatment decisions shall be physicians or other appropriate providers who meet the following minimum requirements:
(A) The medical professional shall be a clinician expert in the treatment of the insured’s medical condition and knowledgeable about the proposed treatment through recent or current actual clinical experience treating patients with the same or a similar medical condition as the insured.
(B) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the medical professional shall hold a nonrestricted license in any state of the United States, and for physicians, a
current certification by a recognized American medical specialty board in the area or areas appropriate to the condition or treatment under review. The independent medical review organization shall give preference to the use of a physician licensed in California as the reviewer, except when training and experience with the issue under review reasonably requires the use of an out-of-state reviewer.
(C) The medical professional shall have no history of disciplinary action or sanctions, including, but not limited to, loss of staff privileges or participation restrictions, taken or pending by any hospital, government, or regulatory body.
(5) Neither the expert reviewer, nor the independent medical review organization, shall have any material professional, material familial, or material
financial affiliation with any of the following:
(A) The disability insurer or a provider group of the insurer, except that an academic medical center under contract to the insurer to provide services to insureds may qualify as an independent medical review organization provided it will not provide the service and provided the center is not the developer or manufacturer of the proposed treatment.
(B) Any officer, director, or management employee of the insurer.
(C) The physician, the physician’s medical group, or the independent practice association (IPA) proposing the treatment.
(D) The institution at which the treatment would be provided.
(E) The development or manufacture of the treatment proposed for the insured whose condition is under review.
(F) The insured or the insured’s immediate family.
(6) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(A) “Material familial affiliation” means any relationship as a spouse, child, parent, sibling, spouse’s parent, or child’s spouse.
(B) “Material professional affiliation” means any physician-patient relationship, any partnership or employment relationship, a shareholder or similar ownership interest in a professional corporation, or any independent contractor arrangement
that constitutes a material financial affiliation with any expert or any officer or director of the independent medical review organization. “Material professional affiliation” does not include affiliations that are limited to staff privileges at a health facility.
(C) “Material financial affiliation” means any financial interest of more than 5 percent of total annual revenue or total annual income of an independent medical review organization or individual to which this subdivision applies. “Material financial affiliation” does not include payment by the insurer to the independent medical review organization for the services required by this section, nor does “material financial affiliation” include an expert’s participation as a contracting provider where the expert is affiliated with an academic medical center or a National Cancer
Institute-designated clinical cancer research center.
(e) The department shall provide, upon the request of any interested person, a copy of all nonproprietary information, as determined by the commissioner, filed with it by an independent medical review organization seeking to contract under this article. The department may charge a nominal fee to the interested person for photocopying the requested information.
(f) The commissioner may contract with the Department of Managed Health Care to administer the independent medical review process established by this article.
(g) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2015.