(215 ILCS 180/55)
Minimum qualifications for independent review organizations.
(a) To be approved to conduct external reviews, an independent review organization shall have and maintain written policies and procedures that govern all aspects of both the standard external review process and the expedited external review process set forth in this Act that include, at a minimum:
(1) a quality assurance mechanism that ensures that:
(A) external reviews are conducted within the
specified timeframes and required notices are provided in a timely manner;
(B) selection of qualified and impartial clinical
reviewers to conduct external reviews on behalf of the independent review organization and suitable matching of reviewers to specific cases and that the independent review organization employs or contracts with an adequate number of clinical reviewers to meet this objective;
(C) for adverse determinations involving
experimental or investigational treatments, in assigning clinical reviewers, the independent review organization selects physicians or other health care professionals who, through clinical experience in the past 3 years, are experts in the treatment of the covered person's condition and knowledgeable about the recommended or requested health care service or treatment;
(D) the health carrier, the covered person, and
the covered person's authorized representative shall not choose or control the choice of the physicians or other health care professionals to be selected to conduct the external review;
(E) confidentiality of medical and treatment
records and clinical review criteria; and
(F) any person employed by or under contract with
the independent review organization adheres to the requirements of this Act;
(2) a toll-free telephone service operating on a
24-hour-day, 7-day-a-week basis that accepts, receives, and records information related to external reviews and provides appropriate instructions; and
(3) an agreement to maintain and provide to the
Director the information set out in Section 70 of this Act.
(b) All clinical reviewers assigned by an independent review organization to conduct external reviews shall be physicians or other appropriate health care providers who meet the following minimum qualifications:
(1) be an expert in the treatment of the covered
person's medical condition that is the subject of the external review;
(2) be knowledgeable about the recommended health
care service or treatment through recent or current actual clinical experience treating patients with the same or similar medical condition of the covered person;
(3) hold a non-restricted license in a state of the
United States and, for physicians, a current certification by a recognized American medical specialty board in the area or areas appropriate to the subject of the external review; and
(4) have no history of disciplinary actions or
sanctions, including loss of staff privileges or participation restrictions, that have been taken or are pending by any hospital, governmental agency or unit, or regulatory body that raise a substantial question as to the clinical reviewer's physical, mental, or professional competence or moral character.
(c) In addition to the requirements set forth in subsection (a), an independent review organization may not own or control, be a subsidiary of, or in any way be owned, or controlled by, or exercise control with a health benefit plan, a national, State, or local trade association of health benefit plans, or a national, State, or local trade association of health care providers.
(d) Conflicts of interest prohibited.
In addition to the requirements set forth in subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Section, to be approved pursuant to this Act to conduct an external review of a specified case, neither the independent review organization selected to conduct the external review nor any clinical reviewer assigned by the independent organization to conduct the external review may have a material professional, familial or financial conflict of interest with any of the following:
(1) the health carrier that is the subject of the
(2) the covered person whose treatment is the subject
of the external review or the covered person's authorized representative;
(3) any officer, director or management employee of
the health carrier that is the subject of the external review;
(4) the health care provider, the health care
provider's medical group or independent practice association recommending the health care service or treatment that is the subject of the external review;
(5) the facility at which the recommended health care
service or treatment would be provided; or
(6) the developer or manufacturer of the principal
drug, device, procedure, or other therapy being recommended for the covered person whose treatment is the subject of the external review.
(e) An independent review organization that is accredited by a nationally recognized private accrediting entity that has independent review accreditation standards that the Director has determined are equivalent to or exceed the minimum qualifications of this Section shall be presumed to be in compliance with this Section and shall be eligible for approval under this Act.
(f) An independent review organization shall be unbiased. An independent review organization shall establish and maintain written procedures to ensure that it is unbiased in addition to any other procedures required under this Section.
(g) Nothing in this Act precludes or shall be interpreted to preclude a health carrier from contracting with approved independent review organizations to conduct external reviews.
(Source: P.A. 96-857, eff. 7-1-10; 97-574, eff. 8-26-11.)