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296-15-540  <<  296-15-550 >>   296-15-560

PDFWAC 296-15-550

Self-insured third-party administrator (TPA) duties and performance requirements.

Every TPA must:
(1) Agree to be responsible for ensuring that claims are managed in accordance with Title 51 RCW, Washington Administrative Codes, L&I policies, L&I medical treatment guidelines, and medical aid fee schedule.
(2) Follow recognized claim processing practices to include:
(a) Promptly respond to inquiries from workers, L&I, ombuds office, and medical providers:
(i) Telephone inquiries within three business days; and
(ii) Written correspondence within fifteen business days, unless otherwise specified.
(b) Provide workers with a current contact name and phone number to address their questions and concerns.
(c) Provide the reason(s) for the examination in the worker's independent medical examination (IME) appointment letter.
(d) Keep and preserve the claim records of the contracting self-insured employer and make available to the department upon request.
(i) If the TPA discontinues managing claims, then the TPA must either transfer all claim records to the employer or a new TPA, whichever applies.
(ii) If the employer defaults, the TPA must ensure preservation of the claim records, and transfer of all open claims to the department within five business days and all closed claims to the department within thirty calendar days of the date of default.
(e) Demonstrate competent claims handling in all areas of the comprehensive core curriculum under WAC 296-15-360(5) as verified by standard department performance-based audits.
(i) Audits may include, but are not limited to, review of timeliness, accuracy, entitlement to benefits, complaint-based audits or issue-based audits.
(ii) Workers or their representatives, providers, or the ombuds, may submit a complaint in writing or electronically.
(f) Promptly remediate any repeat audit deficiencies in accordance with WAC 296-15-560.
(g) May provide automatic deposit of benefit checks to workers or their representatives. The TPA may not electronically reverse the benefit payment deposited in an account, but must instead pursue any payment adjustments as provided in RCW 51.32.240.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 51.04.020, 51.32.190 and 2020 c 277. WSR 21-11-083, ยง 296-15-550, filed 5/18/21, effective 7/1/21.]
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