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PDFWAC 284-180-520

Appeals by network pharmacies to the commissioner.

The following procedure applies to brief adjudicative proceedings before the commissioner for actions involving a network pharmacy's appeal of a pharmacy benefit manager's decision in a first tier appeal regarding reimbursement for a drug subject to predetermined reimbursement costs for multisource generic drugs, unless the matter is converted to a formal proceeding as provided in WAC 284-180-540(3).
(1) Grounds for appeal. A network pharmacy or its representative may appeal a pharmacy benefit manager's decision to the commissioner if it meets all the following requirements:
(a) The pharmacy benefit manager's decision must have denied the network pharmacy's appeal, or the network pharmacy must be unsatisfied with the outcome of its appeal to the pharmacy benefit manager;
(b) The network pharmacy must request review of the pharmacy benefit manager's decision by filing a written petition for review form. A form for this purpose is available at
The petition for review must include:
(i) The network pharmacy's basis for appealing the pharmacy benefit manager's decision in the first tier appeal;
(ii) The network pharmacy's federal identification number, unified business identifier number, business address, and mailing address;
(iii) The documents from the first tier review, including the documents that the pharmacy submitted to the pharmacy benefit manager as well as the documents that the pharmacy benefit manager provided to the pharmacy in response to the first tier review;
(iv) Documentation evidencing the net amount paid for the drug by the small pharmacy;
(v) If the first-tier appeal was denied by the pharmacy benefit manager because a therapeutically equivalent drug was available in the state of Washington at a price less than or equal to the predetermined reimbursement cost for the multisource generic drug and documentation provided by the pharmacy benefit manager evidencing the national drug code of the therapeutically equivalent drug; and
(vi) Any additional information that the commissioner may require.
(c) The network pharmacy must deliver the petition for review to the commissioner's Tumwater office by mail, hand delivery, or by other methods that the commissioner may make available;
(d) The network pharmacy must file the petition for review with the commissioner within thirty days of receipt of the pharmacy benefit manager's decision; and
(e) The network pharmacy making the appeal must have less than fifteen retail outlets within the state of Washington under its corporate umbrella. The petition for review that the network pharmacy submits to the commissioner must state that this requirement is satisfied, and must be signed and verified by an officer or authorized representative of the network pharmacy.
(2) Time frames governing appeals to the commissioner. The commissioner must complete the appeal within thirty calendar days of the receipt of the network pharmacy's complete petition for review. A complete petition for review means that all requirements under (1) of this subsection have been satisfied, including the submission of all required documents and documentation. An appeal before the commissioner is deemed complete when a presiding officer issues an initial order on behalf of the commissioner to both the network pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager under subsection (8) of this section. Within seven calendar days of the resolution of a dispute, the presiding officer shall provide a copy of the initial order to both the network pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager.
(3) Relief the commissioner may provide. The commissioner, by and through a presiding officer or reviewing officer, may enter an order directing the pharmacy benefit manager to make an adjustment to the disputed claim, denying the network pharmacy's appeal, or may take other actions deemed fair and equitable.
(4) Notice. If the presiding officer under the use of discretion chooses to conduct an oral hearing, the presiding officer will set the time and place of the hearing. Written notice shall be served upon both the network pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager at least seven days before the date of the hearing. Service is to be made pursuant to WAC 284-180-440(2). The notice must include:
(a) The names and addresses of each party to whom the proceedings apply and, if known, the names and addresses of any representatives of such parties;
(b) The official file or other reference number and name of the proceeding, if applicable;
(c) The name, official title, mailing address and telephone number of the presiding officer, if known;
(d) A statement of the time, place and nature of the proceeding;
(e) A statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;
(f) A reference to the particular sections of the statutes or rules involved;
(g) A short and plain statement of the matters asserted by the network pharmacy against the pharmacy benefit manager and the potential action to be taken; and
(h) A statement that if either party fails to attend or participate in a hearing, the hearing can proceed and the presiding or reviewing officer may take adverse action against that party.
(5) Appearance and practice at a brief adjudicative proceeding. The right to practice before the commissioner in a brief adjudicative proceeding is limited to:
(a) Persons who are natural persons representing themselves;
(b) Attorneys at law duly qualified and entitled to practice in the courts of the state of Washington;
(c) Attorneys at law entitled to practice before the highest court of record of any other state, if attorneys licensed in Washington are permitted to appear before the courts of such other state in a representative capacity, and if not otherwise prohibited by state law;
(d) Public officials in their official capacity;
(e) A duly authorized director, officer, or full-time employee of an individual firm, association, partnership, or corporation who appears for such firm, association, partnership, or corporation;
(f) Partners, joint venturers or trustees representing their respective partnerships, joint ventures, or trusts; and
(g) Other persons designated by a person to whom the proceedings apply with the approval of the presiding officer.
In the event a proceeding is converted from a brief adjudicative proceeding to a formal proceeding, representation is limited to the provisions of law and RCW 34.05.428.
(6) Method of response. Upon receipt of any inquiry from the commissioner concerning a network pharmacy's appeal of a pharmacy benefit manager's decision in the first tier appeal regarding reimbursement for a drug subject to predetermined reimbursement costs for multisource generic drugs, pharmacy benefit managers must respond to the commissioner using the commissioner's electronic pharmacy appeals system.
(7) Hearings by telephone. If the presiding officer chooses to conduct a hearing, then the presiding officer may choose to conduct the hearing telephonically. The conversation will be recorded and will be part of the record of the hearing.
(8) Presiding officer.
(a) Per RCW 34.05.485, the presiding officer may be the commissioner, one or more other persons designated by the commissioner per RCW 48.02.100, or one or more other administrative law judges employed by the office of administrative hearings. The commissioner's choice of presiding officer is entirely discretionary and subject to change at any time. However, it must not violate RCW 34.05.425 or 34.05.458.
(b) The presiding officer shall conduct the proceeding in a just and fair manner. Before taking action, the presiding officer shall provide both parties the opportunity to be informed of the presiding officer's position on the pending matter and to explain their views of the matter. During the course of the proceedings before the presiding officer, the parties may present all relevant information.
(c) The presiding officer may request additional evidence from either party at any time during review of the initial order. After the presiding officer requests evidence from a party, the party has seven days after service of the request to supply the evidence to the presiding officer, unless the presiding officer, under the use of discretion, allows additional time to submit the evidence.
(d) The presiding officer has all authority granted under chapter 34.05 RCW.
(9) Entry of orders.
(a) When the presiding officer issues a decision, the presiding officer shall briefly state the basis and legal authority for the decision. Within ten days of issuing the decision, the presiding officer shall serve upon the parties the initial order, as well as information regarding any administrative review that may be available before the commissioner. The presiding officer's issuance of a decision within the ten day time frame satisfies the seven day requirement in subsection (2) of this section.
(b) The initial order consists of the decision and the brief written statement of the basis and legal authority. The initial order will become a final order if neither party requests a review as provided in WAC 284-180-530(1).
(10) Filing instructions. When a small pharmacy or a pharmacy benefit manager provides information to the commissioner regarding appeals under WAC 284-180-520, the small pharmacy or pharmacy benefit manager must follow the commissioner's filing instructions, which are available at
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060 and 48.200.900. WSR 21-02-034, amended and recodified as § 284-180-520, filed 12/29/20, effective 1/1/22. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060, 48.02.220 and chapter 19.340 RCW. WSR 18-13-023, § 284-180-420, filed 6/8/18, effective 7/9/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060, 19.340.010, 19.340.030, 19.340.100, 19.340.110, and 2016 c 210 §§ 1 and 2 through 7. WSR 17-01-139 (Matter No. R 2016-07), § 284-180-420, filed 12/20/16, effective 1/1/17.]
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