(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Agency” means the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(b) “Health plan” means a health maintenance organization or a prepaid health clinic certified under chapter 641, a prepaid health plan authorized under s. 409.912, an exclusive provider organization certified under s. 627.6472, or a major medical expense health insurance policy, as defined in s. 627.643(2)(e), offered by a group or an individual health insurer licensed pursuant to chapter 624, including a preferred provider organization under s. 627.6471.
(c) “Resolution organization” means a qualified independent third-party claim-dispute-resolution entity selected by and contracted with the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(2)(a) The agency shall establish a program by January 1, 2001, to provide assistance to contracted and noncontracted providers and health plans for resolution of claim disputes that are not resolved by the provider and the health plan. The agency shall contract with a resolution organization to timely review and consider claim disputes submitted by providers and health plans and recommend to the agency an appropriate resolution of those disputes. The agency shall establish by rule jurisdictional amounts and methods of aggregation for claim disputes that may be considered by the resolution organization.
(b) The resolution organization shall review claim disputes filed by contracted and noncontracted providers and health plans unless the disputed claim:
1. Is related to interest payment;
2. Does not meet the jurisdictional amounts or the methods of aggregation established by agency rule, as provided in paragraph (a);
3. Is part of an internal grievance in a Medicare managed care organization or a reconsideration appeal through the Medicare appeals process;
4. Is related to a health plan that is not regulated by the state;
5. Is part of a Medicaid fair hearing pursued under 42 C.F.R. ss. 431.220 et seq.;
6. Is the basis for an action pending in state or federal court; or
7. Is subject to a binding claim-dispute-resolution process provided by contract entered into prior to October 1, 2000, between the provider and the managed care organization.
(c) Contracts entered into or renewed on or after October 1, 2000, may require exhaustion of an internal dispute-resolution process as a prerequisite to the submission of a claim by a provider or a health plan to the resolution organization.
(d) A contracted or noncontracted provider or health plan may not file a claim dispute with the resolution organization more than 12 months after a final determination has been made on a claim by a health plan or provider.
(e) The resolution organization shall require the health plan or provider submitting the claim dispute to submit any supporting documentation to the resolution organization within 15 days after receipt by the health plan or provider of a request from the resolution organization for documentation in support of the claim dispute. The resolution organization may extend the time if appropriate. Failure to submit the supporting documentation within such time period shall result in the dismissal of the submitted claim dispute.
(f) The resolution organization shall require the respondent in the claim dispute to submit all documentation in support of its position within 15 days after receiving a request from the resolution organization for supporting documentation. The resolution organization may extend the time if appropriate. Failure to submit the supporting documentation within such time period shall result in a default against the health plan or provider. In the event of such a default, the resolution organization shall issue its written recommendation to the agency that a default be entered against the defaulting entity. The written recommendation shall include a recommendation to the agency that the defaulting entity shall pay the entity submitting the claim dispute the full amount of the claim dispute, plus all accrued interest, and shall be considered a nonprevailing party for the purposes of this section.
(g)1. If on an ongoing basis during the preceding 12 months, the agency has reason to believe that a pattern of noncompliance with s. 627.6131 and s. 641.3155 exists on the part of a particular health plan or provider, the agency shall evaluate the information contained in these cases to determine whether the information evidences a pattern and report its findings, together with substantiating evidence, to the appropriate licensure or certification entity for the health plan or provider.
2. In addition, the agency shall prepare a report to the Governor and the Legislature by February 1 of each year, enumerating: claims dismissed; defaults issued; and failures to comply with agency final orders issued under this section.
(h) Either the contracted or noncontracted provider or the health plan may make an offer to settle the claim dispute when it submits a request for a claim dispute and supporting documentation. The offer to settle the claim dispute must state its total amount, and the party to whom it is directed has 15 days to accept the offer once it is received. If the party receiving the offer does not accept the offer and the final order amount is more than 90 percent or less than 110 percent of the offer amount, the party receiving the offer must pay the final order amount to the offering party and is deemed a nonprevailing party for purposes of this section. The amount of an offer made by a contracted or noncontracted provider to settle an alleged underpayment by the health plan must be greater than 110 percent of the reimbursement amount the provider received. The amount of an offer made by a health plan to settle an alleged overpayment to the provider must be less than 90 percent of the alleged overpayment amount by the health plan. Both parties may agree to settle the disputed claim at any time, for any amount, regardless of whether an offer to settle was made or rejected.
(3) The agency shall adopt rules to establish a process to be used by the resolution organization in considering claim disputes submitted by a provider or health plan which must include:
(a) That the resolution organization review and consider all documentation submitted by both the health plan and the provider;
(b) That the resolution organization’s recommendation make findings of fact;
(c) That either party may request that the resolution organization conduct an evidentiary hearing in which both sides can present evidence and examine witnesses, and for which the cost of the hearing is equally shared by the parties;
(d) That the resolution organization may not communicate ex parte with either the health plan or the provider during the dispute resolution;
(e) That the resolution organization’s written recommendation, including findings of fact relating to the calculation under s. 641.513(5) for the recommended amount due for the disputed claim, include any evidence relied upon; and
(f) That the resolution organization issue a written recommendation to the agency within 60 days after the requested information is received by the resolution organization within the timeframes specified by the resolution organization. In no event shall the review time exceed 90 days following receipt of the initial claim dispute submission by the resolution organization.
(4) Within 30 days after receipt of the recommendation of the resolution organization, the agency shall adopt the recommendation as a final order. The final order is subject to judicial review pursuant to s. 120.68.
(5) The agency shall notify within 7 days the appropriate licensure or certification entity whenever there is a violation of a final order issued by the agency pursuant to this section.
(6) The entity that does not prevail in the agency’s order must pay a review cost to the review organization, as determined by agency rule. Such rule must provide for an apportionment of the review fee in any case in which both parties prevail in part. If the nonprevailing party fails to pay the ordered review cost within 35 days after the agency’s order, the nonpaying party is subject to a penalty of not more than $500 per day until the penalty is paid.
(7) The agency may adopt rules to administer this section.