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48-120.02. Managed care plan; certification; application; requirements; conditions; dispute resolution procedure; required; independent medical examiner; compensation court; powers and duties; Attorney General; duties.
(1) Any person or entity may make written application to the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court to have a plan certified that provides management of quality treatment to injured employees for injuries and diseases compensable under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act. Any such person or entity having a relationship with a workers' compensation insurer or any such person or entity having a relationship with an employer for which a plan is being proposed for its own employees shall make full disclosure of such relationship to the compensation court under rules and regulations to be adopted and promulgated by the compensation court. Each application for certification shall be accompanied by a reasonable fee prescribed by the compensation court. A plan may be certified to provide services in a limited geographic area. A certificate is valid for the period the compensation court prescribes unless earlier revoked or suspended pursuant to subsection (4) or (5) of this section. Application for certification shall be made in the form and manner and shall set forth information regarding the proposed plan for providing services as the compensation court may prescribe. The information shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) A list of the names of all providers of medical, surgical, and hospital services under the managed care plan, together with a statement that all licensing, certification, or registration requirements for the providers are current and in good standing in this state or the state in which the provider is practicing; and
(b) A description of the places and manner of providing services under the plan.
(2) The compensation court shall certify a managed care plan if the compensation court finds that the plan:
(a) Proposes to provide quality services that meet uniform treatment standards which may be prescribed by the compensation court and all medical, surgical, and hospital services that may be required by the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act in a manner that is timely, effective, and convenient for the employee;
(b) Is reasonably geographically convenient to employees it serves;
(c) Provides appropriate financial incentives to reduce service costs and utilization without sacrificing the quality of service;
(d) Provides adequate methods of peer review, utilization review, and dispute resolution to prevent inappropriate, excessive, or not medically necessary treatment and excludes participation in the plan by those individuals who violate treatment standards;
(e) Provides a procedure for the resolution of medical disputes;
(f) Provides aggressive case management for injured employees and provides a program for early return to work and cooperative efforts by the employees, the employer, and the managed care plan to promote workplace health and safety consultative and other services;
(g) Provides a timely and accurate method of reporting to the compensation court necessary information regarding medical, surgical, and hospital service cost and utilization to enable the compensation court to determine the effectiveness of the plan;
(h) Authorizes employees to receive medical, surgical, and hospital services from a physician who is not a member of the managed care plan if such physician has been selected by the employee pursuant to subsection (2) of section 48-120 and if such physician agrees to refer the employee to the managed care plan for any other treatment that the employee may require and agrees to comply with all the rules, terms, and conditions of the managed care plan;
(i) Authorizes necessary emergency medical treatment for an injury which is provided by a provider of medical, surgical, and hospital services who is not a part of the managed care plan;
(j) Does not discriminate against or exclude from participation in the plan any category of providers of medical, surgical, or hospital services and includes an adequate number of each category of providers of medical, surgical, and hospital services to give employees convenient geographic accessibility to all categories of providers and adequate flexibility to choose a physician to provide medical, surgical, and hospital services from among those who provide services under the plan;
(k) Provides an employee the right to change the physician initially selected to provide medical, surgical, and hospital services under the plan at least once; and
(l) Complies with any other requirement the compensation court determines is necessary to provide quality medical, surgical, and hospital services to injured employees.
The compensation court may accept findings, licenses, certifications, or registrations of other state agencies as satisfactory evidence of compliance with a particular requirement of this subsection.
(3) An employee shall exhaust the dispute resolution procedure of the certified managed care plan prior to filing a petition or otherwise seeking relief from the compensation court on an issue related to managed care. If an employee has exhausted the dispute resolution procedure of the managed care plan, the employee may seek a medical finding by an independent medical examiner pursuant to section 48-134.01. No petition may be filed with the compensation court pursuant to section 48-173 solely on the issue of the reasonableness and necessity of medical treatment unless a medical finding on such issue has been rendered by an independent medical examiner pursuant to section 48-134.01. If the compensation court subsequently orders reasonable medical services previously refused to be furnished to the employee by a physician who is a member of the managed care plan, the compensation court shall allow the employee to select another physician to furnish further medical services if the physician so selected complies with all rules, terms, and conditions of the managed care plan and refers the employee to the managed care plan for any other treatment that the employee may require.
(4) The compensation court may refuse to certify a managed care plan or a three-judge panel of the compensation court may, after notice and hearing, revoke or suspend the certification of a managed care plan that unfairly restricts direct access within the managed care plan to any category of provider of medical, surgical, or hospital services. Direct access within the managed care plan is unfairly restricted if direct access is denied and the treatment or service sought is within the scope of practice of the profession to which direct access is sought and is appropriate under the standards of treatment adopted by the managed care plan or, in instances where the compensation court has adopted standards of treatment, the standards adopted by the compensation court.
(5) The compensation court may refuse to certify a managed care plan if the compensation court finds that the plan for providing medical, surgical, and hospital services fails to meet the requirements of this section. A three-judge panel of the compensation court may, after notice and hearing, revoke or suspend the certification of a managed care plan if the panel finds that the plan fails to meet the requirements of this section or that service under the plan is not being provided in accordance with the terms of a certified plan.
(6) The Attorney General, when requested by the administrator of the compensation court, may file a motion pursuant to section 48-162.03 for an order directing representatives of a certified managed care plan to appear before a three-judge panel of the compensation court and show cause as to why the panel should not revoke or suspend certification of the plan pursuant to subsection (4) or (5) of this section. The Attorney General shall be considered a party for purposes of such motion. The Attorney General may appear before the three-judge panel and present evidence that the managed care plan unfairly restricts direct access within the plan, that the plan fails to meet the requirements of this section, or that service under the plan is not being provided in accordance with the terms of a certified plan. The presiding judge shall rule on a motion of the Attorney General pursuant to this subsection and, if applicable, shall appoint judges of the compensation court to serve on the three-judge panel. The presiding judge shall not serve on such panel. Appeal from a suspension or revocation pursuant to subsection (4) or (5) of this section shall be in accordance with section 48-185. No such appeal shall operate as a supersedeas.
(7) The compensation court may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement this section.