(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a health plan offered to employees and their covered dependents under this chapter issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, may not require an enrollee to obtain prior authorization for withdrawal management services or inpatient or residential substance use disorder treatment services in a behavioral health agency licensed or certified under RCW 71.24.037
(2)(a) A health plan offered to employees and their covered dependents under this chapter issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, must:
(i) Provide coverage for no less than two business days, excluding weekends and holidays, in a behavioral health agency that provides inpatient or residential substance use disorder treatment prior to conducting a utilization review; and
(ii) Provide coverage for no less than three days in a behavioral health agency that provides withdrawal management services prior to conducting a utilization review.
(b) The health plan may not require an enrollee to obtain prior authorization for the services specified in (a) of this subsection as a condition for payment of services prior to the times specified in (a) of this subsection. Once the times specified in (a) of this subsection have passed, the health plan may initiate utilization management review procedures if the behavioral health agency continues to provide services or is in the process of arranging for a seamless transfer to an appropriate facility or lower level of care under subsection (6) of this section.
(c)(i) The behavioral health agency under (a) of this subsection must notify an enrollee's health plan as soon as practicable after admitting the enrollee, but not later than twenty-four hours after admitting the enrollee. The time of notification does not reduce the requirements established in (a) of this subsection.
(ii) The behavioral health agency under (a) of this subsection must provide the health plan with its initial assessment and initial treatment plan for the enrollee within two business days of admission, excluding weekends and holidays, or within three days in the case of a behavioral health agency that provides withdrawal management services.
(iii) After the time period in (a) of this subsection and receipt of the material provided under (c)(ii) of this subsection, the plan may initiate a medical necessity review process. Medical necessity review must be based on the standard set of criteria established under RCW 41.05.528
. If the health plan determines within one business day from the start of the medical necessity review period and receipt of the material provided under (c)(ii) of this subsection that the admission to the facility was not medically necessary and advises the agency of the decision in writing, the health plan is not required to pay the facility for services delivered after the start of the medical necessity review period, subject to the conclusion of a filed appeal of the adverse benefit determination. If the health plan's medical necessity review is completed more than one business day after [the] start of the medical necessity review period and receipt of the material provided under (c)(ii) of this subsection, the health plan must pay for the services delivered from the time of admission until the time at which the medical necessity review is completed and the agency is advised of the decision in writing.
(3) The behavioral health agency shall document to the health plan the patient's need for continuing care and justification for level of care placement following the current treatment period, based on the standard set of criteria established under RCW 41.05.528
, with documentation recorded in the patient's medical record.
(4) Nothing in this section prevents a health carrier from denying coverage based on insurance fraud.
(5) If the behavioral health agency under subsection (2)(a) of this section is not in the enrollee's network:
(a) The health plan is not responsible for reimbursing the behavioral health agency at a greater rate than would be paid had the agency been in the enrollee's network; and
(b) The behavioral health agency may not balance bill, as defined in RCW 48.43.005
(6) When the treatment plan approved by the health plan involves transfer of the enrollee to a different facility or to a lower level of care, the care coordination unit of the health plan shall work with the current agency to make arrangements for a seamless transfer as soon as possible to an appropriate and available facility or level of care. The health plan shall pay the agency for the cost of care at the current facility until the seamless transfer to the different facility or lower level of care is complete. A seamless transfer to a lower level of care may include same day or next day appointments for outpatient care, and does not include payment for nontreatment services, such as housing services. If placement with an agency in the health plan's network is not available, the health plan shall pay the current agency until a seamless transfer arrangement is made.
(7) The requirements of this section do not apply to treatment provided in out-of-state facilities.
(8) For the purposes of this section "withdrawal management services" means twenty-four hour medically managed or medically monitored detoxification and assessment and treatment referral for adults or adolescents withdrawing from alcohol or drugs, which may include induction on medications for addiction recovery.
Findings—Intent—2020 c 345: "(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) Substance use disorder is a treatable brain disease from which people recover;
(b) Electing to go to addiction treatment is an act of great courage; and
(c) When people with substance use disorder are provided rapid access to quality treatment within their window of willingness, recovery happens.
(2) The legislature therefore intends to ensure that there is no wrong door for individuals accessing substance use disorder treatment services by requiring coverage, and prohibiting barriers created by prior authorization and premature utilization management review when persons with substance use disorders are ready or urgently in need of treatment services." [ 2020 c 345 § 1