The Arizona Revised Statutes have been updated to include the revised sections from the 55th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session. Please note that the next update of this compilation will not take place until after the conclusion of the 56th Legislature, 1st Regular Session, which convenes in January 2023.
This online version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is primarily maintained for legislative drafting purposes and reflects the version of law that is effective on January 1st of the year following the most recent legislative session. The official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is published by Thomson Reuters.
36-2903. Arizona health care cost containment system; administrator; powers and duties of director and administrator; exemption from attorney general representation; definition
A. The Arizona health care cost containment system is established consisting of contracts with contractors for the provision of hospitalization and medical care coverage to members. Except as specifically required by federal law and by section 36-2909, the system is only responsible for providing care on or after the date that the person has been determined eligible for the system, and is only responsible for reimbursing the cost of care rendered on or after the date that the person was determined eligible for the system.
B. An agreement may be entered into with an independent contractor, subject to title 41, chapter 23, to serve as the statewide administrator of the system. The administrator has full operational responsibility, subject to supervision by the director, for the system, which may include any or all of the following:
1. Development of county-by-county implementation and operation plans for the system that include reasonable access to hospitalization and medical care services for members.
2. Contract administration and oversight of contractors, including certification instead of licensure for title XVIII and title XIX purposes.
3. Provision of technical assistance services to contractors and potential contractors.
4. Development of a complete system of accounts and controls for the system including provisions designed to ensure that covered health and medical services provided through the system are not used unnecessarily or unreasonably including but not limited to inpatient behavioral health services provided in a hospital. Periodically the administrator shall compare the scope, utilization rates, utilization control methods and unit prices of major health and medical services provided in this state in comparison with other states' health care services to identify any unnecessary or unreasonable utilization within the system. The administrator shall periodically assess the cost effectiveness and health implications of alternate approaches to the provision of covered health and medical services through the system in order to reduce unnecessary or unreasonable utilization.
5. Establishment of peer review and utilization review functions for all contractors.
6. Assistance in the formation of medical care consortiums to provide covered health and medical services under the system for a county.
7. Development and management of a contractor payment system.
8. Establishment and management of a comprehensive system for assuring the quality of care delivered by the system.
9. Establishment and management of a system to prevent fraud by members, subcontracted providers of care, contractors and noncontracting providers.
10. Coordination of benefits provided under this article to any member. The administrator may require that contractors and noncontracting providers are responsible for the coordination of benefits for services provided under this article. Requirements for coordination of benefits by noncontracting providers under this section are limited to coordination with standard health insurance and disability insurance policies and similar programs for health coverage.
11. Development of a health education and information program.
12. Development and management of an enrollment system.
13. Establishment and maintenance of a claims resolution procedure to ensure that ninety per cent of the clean claims shall be paid within thirty days of receipt and ninety-nine per cent of the remaining clean claims shall be paid within ninety days of receipt. For the purposes of this paragraph, "clean claims" has the same meaning prescribed in section 36-2904, subsection G.
14. Establishment of standards for the coordination of medical care and patient transfers pursuant to section 36-2909, subsection B.
15. Establishment of a system to implement medical child support requirements, as required by federal law. The administration may enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the department of economic security to implement this paragraph.
16. Establishment of an employee recognition fund.
17. Establishment of an eligibility process to determine whether a medicare low income subsidy is available to persons who want to apply for a subsidy as authorized by title XVIII.
C. If an agreement is not entered into with an independent contractor to serve as statewide administrator of the system pursuant to subsection B of this section, the director shall ensure that the operational responsibilities set forth in subsection B of this section are fulfilled by the administration and other contractors as necessary.
D. If the director determines that the administrator will fulfill some but not all of the responsibilities set forth in subsection B of this section, the director shall ensure that the remaining responsibilities are fulfilled by the administration and other contractors as necessary.
E. The administrator or any direct or indirect subsidiary of the administrator is not eligible to serve as a contractor.
F. Except for reinsurance obtained by contractors, the administrator shall coordinate benefits provided under this article to any eligible person who is covered by workers' compensation, disability insurance, a hospital and medical service corporation, a health care services organization, an accountable health plan or any other health or medical or disability insurance plan including coverage made available to persons defined as eligible by section 36-2901, paragraph 6, subdivisions (b), (c), (d) and (e), or who receives payments for accident-related injuries, so that any costs for hospitalization and medical care paid by the system are recovered from any other available third party payors. The administrator may require that contractors and noncontracting providers are responsible for the coordination of benefits for services provided under this article. Requirements for coordination of benefits by noncontracting providers under this section are limited to coordination with standard health insurance and disability insurance policies and similar programs for health coverage. The system shall act as payor of last resort for persons eligible pursuant to section 36-2901, paragraph 6, subdivision (a), section 36-2974 or section 36-2981, paragraph 6 unless specifically prohibited by federal law. By operation of law, eligible persons assign to the system and a county rights to all types of medical benefits to which the person is entitled, including first party medical benefits under automobile insurance policies based on the order of priorities established pursuant to section 36-2915. The state has a right to subrogation against any other person or firm to enforce the assignment of medical benefits. The provisions of this subsection are controlling over the provisions of any insurance policy that provides benefits to an eligible person if the policy is inconsistent with the provisions of this subsection.
G. Notwithstanding subsection E of this section, the administrator may subcontract distinct administrative functions to one or more persons who may be contractors within the system.
H. The director shall require as a condition of a contract with any contractor that all records relating to contract compliance are available for inspection by the administrator and the director subject to subsection I of this section and that such records be maintained by the contractor for five years. The director shall also require that these records be made available by a contractor on request of the secretary of the United States department of health and human services, or its successor agency.
I. Subject to existing law relating to privilege and protection, the director shall prescribe by rule the types of information that are confidential and circumstances under which such information may be used or released, including requirements for physician-patient confidentiality. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, such rules shall be designed to provide for the exchange of necessary information among the counties, the administration and the department of economic security for the purposes of eligibility determination under this article. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a member's medical record shall be released without the member's consent in situations or suspected cases of fraud or abuse relating to the system to an officer of the state's certified Arizona health care cost containment system fraud control unit who has submitted a written request for the medical record.
J. The director shall prescribe rules that specify methods for:
1. The transition of members between system contractors and noncontracting providers.
2. The transfer of members and persons who have been determined eligible from hospitals that do not have contracts to care for such persons.
K. The director shall adopt rules that set forth procedures and standards for use by the system in requesting county long-term care for members or persons determined eligible.
L. To the extent that services are furnished pursuant to this article, and unless otherwise required pursuant to this chapter, a contractor is not subject to title 20.
M. As a condition of the contract with any contractor, the director shall require contract terms as necessary in the judgment of the director to ensure adequate performance and compliance with all applicable federal laws by the contractor of the provisions of each contract executed pursuant to this chapter. Contract provisions required by the director shall include at a minimum the maintenance of deposits, performance bonds, financial reserves or other financial security. The director may waive requirements for the posting of bonds or security for contractors that have posted other security, equal to or greater than that required by the system, with a state agency for the performance of health service contracts if funds would be available from such security for the system on default by the contractor. The director may also adopt rules for the withholding or forfeiture of payments to be made to a contractor by the system for the failure of the contractor to comply with a provision of the contractor's contract with the system or with the adopted rules. The director may also require contract terms allowing the administration to operate a contractor directly under circumstances specified in the contract. The administration shall operate the contractor only as long as it is necessary to assure delivery of uninterrupted care to members enrolled with the contractor and accomplish the orderly transition of those members to other system contractors, or until the contractor reorganizes or otherwise corrects the contract performance failure. The administration shall not operate a contractor unless, before that action, the administration delivers notice to the contractor and provides an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with procedures established by the director. Notwithstanding the provisions of a contract, if the administration finds that the public health, safety or welfare requires emergency action, it may operate as the contractor on notice to the contractor and pending an administrative hearing, which it shall promptly institute.
N. The administration for the sole purpose of matters concerning and directly related to the Arizona health care cost containment system and the Arizona long-term care system is exempt from section 41-192.
O. Notwithstanding subsection F of this section, if the administration determines that according to federal guidelines it is more cost-effective for a person defined as eligible under section 36-2901, paragraph 6, subdivision (a) to be enrolled in a group health insurance plan in which the person is entitled to be enrolled, the administration may pay all of that person's premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and other cost sharing obligations for services covered under section 36-2907. The person shall apply for enrollment in the group health insurance plan as a condition of eligibility under section 36-2901, paragraph 6, subdivision (a).
P. The total amount of state monies that may be spent in any fiscal year by the administration for health care shall not exceed the amount appropriated or authorized by section 35-173 for all health care purposes. This article does not impose a duty on an officer, agent or employee of this state to discharge a responsibility or to create any right in a person or group if the discharge or right would require an expenditure of state monies in excess of the expenditure authorized by legislative appropriation for that specific purpose.
Q. Notwithstanding section 36-470, a contractor or program contractor may receive laboratory tests from a laboratory or hospital-based laboratory for a system member enrolled with the contractor or program contractor subject to all of the following requirements:
1. The contractor or program contractor shall provide a written request to the laboratory in a format mutually agreed to by the laboratory and the requesting health plan or program contractor. The request shall include the member's name, the member's plan identification number, the specific test results that are being requested and the time periods and the quality improvement activity that prompted the request.
2. The laboratory data may be provided in written or electronic format based on the agreement between the laboratory and the contractor or program contractor. If there is no contract between the laboratory and the contractor or program contractor, the laboratory shall provide the requested data in a format agreed to by the noncontracted laboratory.
3. The laboratory test results provided to the member's contractor or program contractor shall only be used for quality improvement activities authorized by the administration and health care outcome studies required by the administration. The contractors and program contractors shall maintain strict confidentiality about the test results and identity of the member as specified in contractual arrangements with the administration and pursuant to state and federal law.
4. The administration, after collaboration with the department of health services regarding quality improvement activities, may prohibit the contractors and program contractors from receiving certain test results if the administration determines that a serious potential exists that the results may be used for purposes other than those intended for the quality improvement activities. The department of health services shall consult with the clinical laboratory licensure advisory committee established by section 36-465 before providing recommendations to the administration on certain test results and quality improvement activities.
5. The administration shall provide contracted laboratories and the department of health services with an annual report listing the quality improvement activities that will require laboratory data. The report shall be updated and distributed to the contracting laboratories and the department of health services when laboratory data is needed for new quality improvement activities.
6. A laboratory that complies with a request from the contractor or program contractor for laboratory results pursuant to this section is not subject to civil liability for providing the data to the contractor or program contractor. The administration, the contractor or a program contractor that uses data for reasons other than quality improvement activities is subject to civil liability for this improper use.
R. For the purposes of this section, "quality improvement activities" means those requirements, including health care outcome studies specified in federal law or required by the centers for medicare and medicaid services or the administration, to improve health care outcomes.