(a) Every health care service plan contract that covers prescription drug benefits shall provide coverage for appropriately prescribed pain management medications for terminally ill patients when medically necessary. The plan shall approve or deny the request by the provider for authorization of coverage for an enrollee who has been determined to be terminally ill in a timely fashion, appropriate for the nature of the enrollee's condition, not to exceed 72 hours of the plan's receipt of the information requested by the plan to make the decision. If the request is denied or if additional information is required, the plan shall contact the provider within one working day of the determination, with an explanation of the reason for the denial or the need for additional information. The requested treatment shall be deemed authorized as of the expiration of the applicable timeframe. The provider shall contact the plan within one business day of proceeding with the deemed authorized treatment, to do all of the following:
(1) Confirm that the timeframe has expired.
(2) Provide enrollee identification.
(3) Notify the plan of the provider or providers performing the treatment.
(4) Notify the plan of the facility or location where the treatment was rendered.
(b) This section does not apply to coverage for any drug that is prescribed for a use that is different from the use for which that drug has been approved for marketing by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Coverage for different-use drugs is subject to Section 1367.21 .
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to deny or restrict in any way the department's authority to ensure plan compliance with this chapter when a plan provides coverage for prescription drugs.
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