Medicaid Managed Care Contracts: An Advocacy Checklist for People with Disabili

Medicaid Managed Care Contracts: An Advocacy Checklist for People with Disabilities

The managed care contracts between the state Medicaid agency and managed care organizations have become a new and significant legal document. In business law, the period during which the parties review a contract and investigate characteristics of the other party is known as "due diligence." Advocates need to exercise due diligence on behalf of their clients as managed care contracts are being drafted, negotiated, and renegotiated.

 
The first step is to obtain a copy of the draft model contract or request for proposal. The state Medicaid agency should make this available to you upon request. Although not yet common, some states are posting these documents on their home pages on the World Wide Web, which you can access through: http://www.state.__ (insert two letter state abbreviation).us.
 
Skim the contract for a sense of what it covers. Then compare the specific provisions in the document against the Advocacy Checklist, which includes questions that Protection & Advocacy programs should ask when reviewing Medicaid contacts. In answering these questions, you should look for a "yes" answer. You can prepare written comments and suggestions to the state Medicaid agency based on the answers to the checklist. If at all possible meet in person with key personnel regarding your comments and suggestions. These key personnel include not only state Medicaid administrators, but depending on the services and populations affected by the contract, can include maternal and child health and mental health/substance abuse personnel as well.
 
The following are provisions that advocates should look for when they review Medicaid managed care contracts. In answering these questions, advocates should look for a "yes" answer.
 
Threshold Issues
 
1. Does the implementation schedule allow adequate time for consumers and advocates to review, investigate, and comment on the draft contract? _________
 
2. Are the RFP and/or draft contract readily available for consumers and advocates? _________
 
3. Does the implementation schedule allow adequate time for the MCOs that are awarded contracts to implement the contract provisions? _________
 
4. Does the implementation schedule allow adequate time for the provisions of the health benefits/enrollment manager contract to be implemented? _________
 
5. Are consumers involved in "readiness" reviews of MCOs? _________
 
6. Are the provisions of the contract mandatory for all subcontracts? _________
 
Marketing
 
7. Does the contract prohibit direct (e.g. door-to-door) marketing? _________
 
8. Is the MCO prohibited from offering financial incentives to induce members to enroll? ________
 
9. Is the MCO prohibited from engaging in misleading or confusing marketing practices? ________
 
10. Is the MCO prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on disability or need for health care services in their marketing? _________
 
11. Does the contract describe clear sanctions for violations of marketing guidelines? _________
 
Education, Enrollment, and Disenrollment
 
12. Does the contract describe the MCO's responsibility and the state's responsibility for education and outreach? _________
 
13. Does the contract provide that the state Medicaid agency (or an independent enrollment manager or broker) will be responsible for enrollment and/or automatic assignment and prohibit discrimination based on health status or actual or perceived need for services? _________
 
14. Is the MCO required to supply members with an enrollee handbook that contains descriptions of available providers and member rights and responsibilities? _________
 
15. Is the state required to review and authorize written materials distributed by the MCO and to monitor educational activities undertaken by the MCO? _________
 
16. Is the MCO required to provide member material orally and in writing, at a reading level set by the state, and in the recipient's primary language and in alternative formats, including (teletypewriter) TTY and telecommunication devices, braille, large print, and cassette? _________
 
17. Does the contract describe how members who do not select an MCO will be assigned to one? Does the process maintain existing relationships, to the extent possible, and take into consideration geographic access and the ability of the MCO to meet language, cultural, and health care needs? (See question 100). Does the process favor MCOs that provide high quality care? _________
 
18. Does the contract provide that the state Medicaid agency will be responsible for disenrollment and prohibit disenrollment by the MCO based on a missed appointment or copayment or an adverse change in health status, diagnosis or perceived diagnosis, expected or actual treatment costs, or the enrollee's attempt to exercise his/her rights under a grievance or complaint system? _________
 
Selection of Primary Care Provider (PCP)
 
19. Does each family member have the option to choose her or his own PCP from among the MCO's participating providers? _________
 
20. Does the MCO allow members with disabilities, chronic conditions or complex conditions to choose a specialist as their PCP? Are members informed that they may select a specialist as their PCP? If the MCO network does not include the appropriate specialist, may the member receive care from an out-of-network provider? _________
 
21. Does the contract ensure that children and adolescent are able to see a pediatrician or adolescent medicine specialist as their PCP? _________
 
22. Does the contract specify time frames for the recipient to select a PCP? Are members with disabilities given extra time to select a PCP? _________
 
23. Is the MCO required to inform members of the time frames and the consequences for failing to act within that time? _________
 
24. Will each member be provided with a list of all participating providers, including specialists, who can be selected as PCPs? _________
 
25. Does the contract describe how the MCO will assign PCPs to members who do not choose one? _________
 
26. Are enrollees permitted to change their PCP with cause at any time? _________
 
27. Does the contract describe how the MCO will ensure continuity of care if the member's PCP leaves the MCO's network? _________
 
28. Are pregnant women allowed to receive primary care from their current provider, regardless of whether their current provider is in the MCO's network, until 60 days postpartum? _________
 
29. Are there provisions allowing people with disabilities to maintain their current providers for a period of time to ease the transition process? _________
 
Initial Assessments and Ongoing Care
 
30. Is the MCO required to honor ongoing plans of care initiated prior to enrollment until the enrollee is evaluated by her or his PCP and a new plan of care is established? Is the PCP required to consult with the appropriate specialists in making these treatment plan evaluations? And if care is reduced or terminated under the new plan of care, does the contract provide for the member to receive a due process notice, including rights to continued benefits? _________
 
31. Is the MCO required to provide a face-to-face initial health assessment for all new members within the first sixty (60) days of enrollment? _________
 
32. For members known or appearing to be pregnant, is the MCO required to provide a face-to-face initial health assessment within fifteen (15) days of enrollment? _________
 
Specialists
 
33. Does the MCO allow members with disabilities, chronic conditions, or complex conditions to select a specialist as their PCP? _________
 
34. Does the contract provide for "standing referrals" to specialists (instead of requiring prior authorization for each visit) for individuals with ongoing treatment needs? _________
 
35. Is the MCO required to provide access to specialists with pediatric/adolescent expertise for every child or adolescent who needs and requests specialty care? _________
 
36. If the MCO cannot provide a choice of at least two (2) specialists or sub-specialists, including pediatric sub-specialists, qualified to meet the particular needs of the individual, is the MCO required to pay for the service out-of-network if the member requests a non-participating specialist? _____
 
Essential Community Providers and Coordination with Agencies
 
37. Is the MCO required to sub-contract with:
 
School-based health clinics? _________
 
Federally qualified health clinics? _________
 
Rural health clinics? _________
 
Traditional mental health care providers? _________
 
Title X providers? _________
 
Local health departments? _________
 
Homeless clinics? _________
 
Teen clinics? _________
 
Migrant health clinics? _________
 
Adult and children's tertiary care facilities? _________
 
Presumptive eligibility providers? _________
 
38. Is the MCO required to contract or develop coordination and referral agreements with:
 
Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutrition programs? _________
 
Early intervention programs? _________
 
Child welfare programs? _________
 
State mental health agencies? _________
 
State substance abuse agencies? _________
 
Special education programs? _________
 
Teen pregnancy and parenting programs? _________
 
Access and Availability Standards
 
39. Does the contract require the MCO to guarantee 24-hour, seven-day-per-week access to qualified providers? _________
 
40. Does the contract specify maximum patient-to-full time equivalent (FTE) primary care physician ratio that takes into account the physician's participation in several MCOs and the physician's commercial patients? _________
 
41. Is the MCO required to make available a pediatrician/adolescent medicine specialist who meets travel standards for every child or adolescent who requests a pediatrician/adolescent medicine specialist as his or her PCP? _________
 
42. Does the contract specify primary care availability standards no more than 20 minutes for members in urban areas and 30 minutes for members in rural areas? _________
 
43. Is routine care available within ten days? _________
 
44. Is specialty care available within three weeks? _________
 
45. Is emergency care available immediately and at the nearest facility, whether or not that facility participates in the MCO's network and whether or not the care has been approved in advance by the MCO? _________
 
46. Is urgent care available within 24 hours? _________
 
47. Does the contract specify maximum in-office waiting times? _________
 
48. Is the MCO responsible for ensuring that members whose primary language is not English and members with special medical needs have access to primary care providers and specialists qualified to meet their needs? _________
 
Scope of Services
 
49. Does the contract clearly delineate which of the services included in 42 U.S.C. § 1396d(a) are the responsibility of the MCO? _________
 
50. Is the responsibility for transportation clearly specified and does the definition of transportation incorporate 42 C.F.R. § 440.170(a)? _________
 
51. Does the contract specify that the MCO is responsible for juvenile court-ordered treatment involving covered services? _________
 
52. Is the responsibility for medical services contained in Individualized Family Service Plans and Individualized Education Plans clearly specified? _________
 
53. Does the contract require case management services to facilitate needed medical, educational, social and other services? _________
 
54. Does it require coverage of interdisciplinary team treatment? _________
 
55. Does it require coverage of access to clinical studies? _________
 
56. Does the contract define the following terms consistent with federal/state statutes and regulations: medical necessity, family planning, EPSDT, case management, and transportation? _________
 
57. Does the contract define emergency according to the prudent lay person standard and 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd at the time care is sought? _________
 
58. Are members able to self-refer for family planning, obstetrical, gynecological, mental health, and substance abuse services? _________
 
59. Is the MCO prohibited from imposing prior authorization restrictions beyond those allowed under fee-for-service? _________
 
60. If a drug formulary is allowed, does the contract require a simple process for obtaining prescription drugs not on the formulary? _________
 
Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT)
 
61. Does the contract incorporate federal and state statutes and regulations concerning EPSDT? ________
 
62. Does it incorporate Part 5 of the HCFA State Medicaid Manual (which delineates requirements for screens, e.g. lead testing, health education, and age-appropriate laboratory tests)? _________
 
63. Does the contract clearly delineate whether the state or the MCO is responsible for EPSDT outreach and informing? _________
 
64. Does the contract prohibit the MCO from placing caps and other quantitative limits on the number of services a child can receive? _________
 
65. Is the MCO required to report encounter data so as to allow accurate completion of the HCFA Form 416? _________
 
66. Is the MCO prohibited from requiring prior authorization for EPSDT screens? _________
 
67. Is the MCO required to meet and exceed 80 percent EPSDT participation?1 _________
 
68. Does the contract require the MCO to meet national professional standards of care as articulated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Screening, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's Work Group on Quality Issues? _________
 
Medical Necessity
 
69. Is the definition of medical necessity clear in all contracts and subcontracts? _________
 
70. Is it clear that the MCO will be responsible for providing medically necessary covered services as required by law? _________
 
71. Does the definition of medical necessity provide that the treating physician will determine whether the care is medically necessary? _________
 
72. Does the contract recognize and incorporate EPSDT and Medicaid definitions of medical necessity (42 U.S.C. § 1396d(r)(5) and 42 C.F.R. § 440.230(b))? _________
 
73. Does the contract include a separate definition of medical necessity for behavioral health care that is consistent with federal and state law and that recognizes the role of member/family, least restrictive treatment settings, and wraparound services? _________
 
74. Does the contract require the MCO to pay for an independent second opinion when the MCO or the MCO physician determines that a service, treatment, or equipment is not medically necessary for a person with a chronic or disabling condition or disease? _________
 
Family Planning Services
 
75. Does the contract allow members to obtain family planning services from any provider, in or out of the network, without a referral? _________
 
76. Is the MCO required to inform members, including adolescents, of access to family planning services, in or out of network, without a referral? _________
 
77. Is the MCO required to keep family planning services confidential, even if the patient is a minor? _________
 
Special Needs
 
78. Does the contract explicitly require the MCO to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act? Is compliance required of all subcontractors? _________
 
79. Does the contract require the MCO to provide information both orally and in writing in the recipient's primary language and in alternative formats, including TTY and telecommunication devices, braille, large print and cassette? _________
 
80. Does the contract require the MCO to employ multicultural and multilingual staff, representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of its members? _________
 
81. Does the contract prevent discrimination on the basis of health status, illness, or perceived needs? _________
 
82. Is the MCO required to make special accommodations for children in foster care, children in state custody, adopted children, and homeless individuals? _________
 
83. Does the contract address the ability of minors to consent to medical treatment without parental consent? _________
 
Due Process
 
84. Are the MCO and its participating providers required to post a description of due process rights in a conspicuous location in the reception area of each provider's office? _________
 
85. Is the MCO required to inform members how to obtain assistance in filing a grievance and of the potential availability of free legal services? _________
 
86. Is the MCO required to notify members of timeframes for plan grievance procedures, state fair hearings, and expedited reviews? _________
 
87. Is the MCO required to inform members of their right to a state fair hearing without exhausting MCO grievance procedures? _________
 
88. Is the timeframe for a plan grievance procedure no more than 30 days? _________
 
89. Is there an expedited review process for urgent health matters, and does the process provide for a state decision within 48 hours? _________
 
90. Is the MCO required to provide notice to the member and the member's representative, if applicable, any time a service is denied, reduced or terminated? _________
 
91. Does the required notice explain why the service was denied, reduced, or terminated and give the specific legal support for that action? _________
 
92. Does the required notice explain the right to continued services pending a final decision? ______
 
93. Does the required notice explain the right to seek a second opinion at the MCO's cost? ______
 
94. Does the required notice explain the due process rights, including the right to a state fair hearing without exhausting MCO grievance procedures? _________
 
95. If a service is denied, reduced, terminated, or delayed and the MCO fails to give adequate and timely notice, is the MCO required to provide the complete service (unless the member's primary care provider or specialist, as appropriate, indicates that the service would not be in the member's best interest)? _________
 
Financial and Organizational Requirements
 
96. Does the contract prohibit financial arrangements between the MCO and its providers that may inappropriately limit care? _________
 
97. Does the contract prohibit gag clauses in MCO sub-contracts? _________
 
98. Does the contract require the MCO to report administrative costs and profits as separate line items? Does the contract place a cap on MCO profits? A cap on administrative costs? _________
 
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