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Arkansas Health and Wellness STAT Lab Policy Rescinded

The Arkansas Medical Society was made aware of an issue regarding a new policy with the Arkansas Health and Wellness called Short Turnaround Time (STAT) laboratory that was originally designed to limit in-office laboratory procedures to specific codes. Since it’s implementation on December 1, 2019, many member physicians contacted us to express their opposition to this policy.

After contacting Arkansas Health and Wellness with questions and comments, the policy has now been rescinded. More information can be found in their statement below.

We appreciate all of our members who reached out to us regarding this issue. If you have any further issues or have concerns with another issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

STAT Lab Letter Policy Rescind Statement from Arkansas Health and Wellness

Arkansas Health & Wellness is committed to supporting your efforts to provide the highest quality of care to our members. We value you and recognize that you are our partner in helping our members achieve their best health. Effective 12/1/2019, we implemented a Short Turnaround Time (STAT) laboratory (lab) policy across our Ambetter and Allwell lines of business. The intent of this policy was to limit in-office laboratory procedures to specific codes outlined in the policy.

Since implementing this policy, providers have expressed concern that the policy would negatively affect their ability to provide care to our members. We have heard your concerns, and have taken into consideration the impact this policy has on your practice and the members you treat. When speaking with providers who raised concerns, they indicated that some members would face difficulty obtaining transportation as well as inconvenience scheduling additional visits for lab work. The policy may also cause disruption to the practice of the regular workflow and patient communication process.

When we enacted this policy, we did not intend to dictate to providers how to practice medicine. We know all of our providers exercise professional medical judgment in providing the most appropriate care, and are solely responsible for the medical advice and treatment for our members. It is not our intent to create additional burdens on the practice or to reduce access to care for our members.

After weighing the concerns that providers have shared with us, and in the best interest of our members, Arkansas Health & Wellness will end this policy retroactively to the 12/1/2019 effective date. We will review all denials that were subject to this policy and will reprocess and pay these claims.

Effective January 2020 the Short Turnaround Time (STAT) laboratory (lab) policy effective 12/1/2019 has been withdrawn from the Arkansas Health & Wellness websites and is no longer applicable to your organization/practice. We sincerely apologize for any disruption it may have caused. Our provider partnerships are important and we take them into consideration when making decisions that affect our providers or our members. We are working to update our systems and hope to have this update completed by 2/15/2020. At that time, we will submit all claims previously denied as a result of this policy and have them reprocessed for payment.

Thank you for being our partner in care. If you have additional questions regarding this policy’s retraction, please contact our contracting team at (844) 631-6830 or email us at arkansascontracting@centene.com.

Sincerely,
Arkansas Health & Wellness

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