Utilization Review

New UHC Hospital Services Observation and Inpatient Policy takes effect Dec. 1, 2022

UnitedHealthcare’s Observation Utilization Review Guide is sunsetting and will be replaced by the new Hospital Services: Observation and Inpatient Policy1. The change takes effect Dec. 1, 2022, for commercial, community and exchange plans. The new policy explicitly mentions InterQual, stating “InterQual criteria are intended to be used in connection with the independent professional medical judgment …

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Determining observation stay guidelines

Which guidelines should hospitals follow for an observation stay?

Both national evidence-based guidelines and insurance company guidelines factor into level of care determination.   When it comes to determining a patient’s level of care for a short hospital stay, observation services are generally used for short-term monitoring, testing and evaluation to establish a treatment plan, and to give the treatment team time to see …

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Justice Department files antitrust lawsuit against UnitedHealth to stop Change Healthcare acquisition

The United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit earlier this year aiming to stop UnitedHealth Group from acquiring Change Healthcare.1 Hospital CFOs and utilization review managers have much to watch in this case related to how it could not only impact competition in the markets but how it could impact the guidelines used …

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Good documentation can reduce hospital admission denials

We all know in clinical medicine that documentation is everything. Hence the old saying “If it’s not documented, then it didn’t happen.” This is particularly true outside of the clinical realm in the insurance world. Level of care is based on the clinical condition of the patient, how they present and how that meshes with …

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With COVID-19 continuing and staff shortages, hospitals need every financial advantage they can find

As hospitals in some areas face a new and devastating round of COVID-19 surges, the financial impact on those hospitals is not yet known. This new spike in cases comes on the heels of more than 16-months of instability caused by the pandemic and just when hospitals were starting to make gains financially. According to …

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Eliminating the CMS inpatient only list will continue to complicate hospital stays

For an update on this issue, please read: CMS reverses course in inpatient only list   The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun to dismantle its inpatient only list, which has directed the level of care for more than 1700 procedures for physicians and hospitals since 2000. CMS said the move gives physicians …

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Utilization Review: In-house or Outsource?

Utilization management programs are often in-house services provided by hospital staff. However, more and more hospitals are outsourcing utilization review management as the pressure mounts to contain costs, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, and improve care. Hospitals benefit from outsourcing utilization review in several ways, as it can: Free up in-house physician advisors and chief …

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Documentation – A key for reduced denials

There is one relatively easy way hospitals can reduce claims denials: better clinical documentation. Insurance companies require documentation, and it is often the leading factor in level of care and admission denials. The importance of providing complete documentation never goes away. Treating physicians and utilization review managers must ensure that every admission includes: All the …

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A quiet shift that could shake up hospital Utilization Review

There is a seismic shift happening in Utilization Review: As of Saturday, May 1, 2021, UnitedHealthcare, the country’s largest healthcare insurance provider, is changing guidelines to adjudicate the level of care cases for hospitals from Milliman Care Guidelines (MCG) to InterQual.1 AppriseMD will be working closely with our current hospital clients to ensure this is …

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