Three-Year Network Adequacy Review for Medicare Advantage Organizations

Triennial Network Adequacy Review for Medicare Advantage Organizations and 1876 Cost Plans (CMS-10636)

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Three-Year Network Adequacy Review for Medicare Advantage Organizations

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Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
(Last updated: January xx, 2022)

Medicare Advantage and Section 1876
Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
(Last updated: January xx, 2021)

Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
(Last updated: January xx, 2022)

Table of Contents
1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 1
2. Network Adequacy Requirements ......................................................................................... 1
2.1. Specialty Types............................................................................................................... 2
2.2. Provider and Facility Health Service Delivery (HSD) Tables.................................... 2
2.3. Provider and Facility Supply File................................................................................. 2
3. Triennial Network Adequacy Reviews .................................................................................. 3
3.1. Triggering Events ...........................................................................................................3
3.2. Timing of Network Adequacy Reviews ........................................................................ 4
3.3 Organization- Initiated Testing of Contracted Networks .......................................... 4
4. Exceptions to Network Adequacy Criteria. .......................................................................... 4
4.1. Criteria for Submitting Exception Requests ............................................................... 5
4.2. Standards for Evaluating Exception Requests ............................................................ 6
4.3. Exception Request Upload Instructions ....................................................................... 7
5. Specific Circumstances ............................................................................................................. 7
5.1. Partial Counties. .............................................................................................................. 7
5.1.1. Partial County Justification Submission Instructions ....................................... 9
5.1.2. Partial County Request in the Application Module .......................................... 9
5.2. Regional Preferred Provider Organizations ................................................................ 9
5.2.1. RPPO-Specific Exception to Written Agreements ........................................ 9
5.3. Sub-Networks ................................................................................................................ 10
5.4. Certificate of Need Credit. ........................................................................................... 10
5.5. Telehealth Credit .......................................................................................................... 11
5.6. New or Expanding Service Area Applicant Credit………………………………...11

Appendix A: Crosswalk of HSD Specialty Code to Provide and Facility Specialties .......... 12
Appendix B: Partial County Justification Template ............................................................. 14
Appendix C: External Links .................................................................................................. 16

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1.

Introduction

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations at 42 C.F.R. 417.414, 42
C.F.R. 417.416, 42 C.F.R. 422.112(a)(1)(i), and 42 C.F.R. 422.114(a)(3)(ii) require that all
Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations offering coordinated care plans (CCP), network-based
private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans, network-based medical savings account (MSA) plans, as
well as section 1876 cost organizations, maintain a network of appropriate providers that is
sufficient to provide adequate access to covered services to meet the needs of the population
served 1. These organization types must provide enrollees health care services through a
contracted network of providers that is consistent with the prevailing community pattern of
health care delivery in the network service area (see 42 C.F.R. 422.112(a)(10)).
On June 2, 2020, CMS published MA and Cost plan network adequacy rules at 42 C.F.R.
422.116 to codify our existing network adequacy methodology and finalize policies that address
maximum time and distance standards in rural areas, telehealth, and Certificate of Need (CON)
laws. The standards identified at § 422.116 define how CMS quantifies prevailing community
patterns of health care delivery for each provider and facility specialty type in each county in a
service area.
On January xx, 2022, CMS published proposed revisions at 42 C.F.R. § 422.116 [Link] which would
establish the requirement beginning for contract year 2024, that applicants for a new or expanding
service area must demonstrate compliance with network adequacy standards as part of an MA
application and that CMS may deny an application on the basis of an evaluation of the applicant's
network.
The purpose of this document is to provide additional information related to network adequacy
reviews and how they are conducted in accordance with the standards set at § 422.116. Please
note that the guidance contained in this document does not apply to the following product types:
Medicare/Medicaid Plans (MMPs), section 1833 cost plans, non-network PFFS plans, and MSA
plans.

2.

Network Adequacy Requirements

Organizations must meet current network adequacy requirements as defined under 42 C.F.R.
422.116 2 3 CMS requires that organizations continuously monitor their contracted networks
throughout the respective contract year to ensure compliance with the current network adequacy
criteria.
CMS network adequacy criteria includes provider and facility specialty types that must be
1

MA regional preferred provider organizations (RPPOs) are an exception and, under specified conditions and upon
CMS pre-approval, can arrange for care in portions of a regional service area on a non-network basis (42 C.F.R.
422.112(a)(1)(ii)).
2
The term “organization” used throughout this document refers to both MA organizations and section 1876 cost
organizations.
3
Provider-Specific Plans (PSPs) are also subject to CMS network adequacy requirements. As part of the bid
submission process that begins in June, an organization offering a PSP must confirm and attest that the PSP’s
network meets current CMS network adequacy standards.

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available consistent with CMS number, time, and distance standards. Access to each specialty
type is assessed using quantitative standards based on the local availability of providers and
facilities to ensure that organizations contract with a sufficient number of providers and facilities
to furnish health care services without placing undue burden on enrollees seeking covered
services.
CMS programs network adequacy criteria into the Network Management Module (NMM) in the
Health Plan Management System (HPMS) to conduct an automated review of an organization’s
network adequacy. CMS also provides organizations an opportunity to request exception(s) to
the network adequacy criteria.
2.1.
Specialty Types
CMS measures 27 provider specialty types and 13 facility specialty types to assess the adequacy
of the network for each service area. CMS has created specific codes for each of the provider and
facility specialty types which may be found in Appendix A. Organizations must use the codes
when completing Provider and Facility HSD Tables. Additional information on specialty types
and codes is available in the current HSD Reference File posted on CMS’s website and in the
Network Management Module HPMS User Guide.
2.2.
Provider and Facility Health Service Delivery (HSD) Tables
Contracts are required to demonstrate network adequacy through the submission of provider and
facility Health Service Delivery (HSD) Tables in the Network Management Module (NMM) in
HPMS. An organization must list every provider and facility with a fully executed contract in its
network in the HSD Tables 4. Organizations can refer to the NMM Plan User Guide, sections
“Specialty Types” and “Preparing Your Submission,” for detailed instructions on populating
HSD tables.
In order for the NMM to process the information, organizations must submit provider and
facility names and addresses exactly the same way each time, including spelling, abbreviations,
etc. Providers should be listed at the address(es) where they see patients in an office-based
setting for consultations and not at a location where they solely perform procedures, (e.g. an
orthopedic surgeon should be listed at his/her office location, not the hospital where he/she
performs surgical procedures). Any differences will result in problems processing data and may
result in network deficiencies. CMS expects all organizations to use the NMM to check their
networks and to review the results to ensure that their provider and facility HSD Tables are
accurate and complete.
The following providers and facilities do not count toward meeting network adequacy criteria:
• Specialized, long-term care, and pediatric/children’s hospitals
• Providers that are only available in a residential facility.
• Providers and facilities contracted with the organization only for its commercial,
Medicaid, or other products.
2.3. Provider and Facility Supply File
4

RPPOs may list on their HSD tables those non-contracted providers and facilities for which they have a CMS preapproved exception to the written agreement (42 C.F.R. 422.112(a)(1)(ii)).

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The supply file is a cross-sectional database that includes information on provider and facility
name, address, national provider identifier, and specialty type and is posted by state and
specialtytype. The supply file is segmented by state to facilitate development of networks by
service area.Contracts with service areas near a state border may need to review the supply file
for multiple states, as the network adequacy criteria are not restricted by state or county
boundaries. The current supply file is published in HPMS>Monitoring>Network
Management>Documentation>Reference Files.
Given the dynamic nature of the market, the file is a resource and may not be a complete
depiction of the provider and facility supply available in real-time. MA organizations remain
responsible for conducting validation of data used to populate HSD tables, including data
initially drawn from the supply file. MA organizations should not rely solely on the supply file
when establishing networks, as additional providers and facilities may be available.
CMS uses the supply file when validating information submitted on exception requests.
Therefore, CMS may update the supply file periodically to reflect updated provider and facility
information and to capture information associated with exception requests.

3.

Triennial Network Adequacy Reviews

CMS monitors network compliance by reviewing contract-level networks on a triennial basis.
This requires each contract to upload its full network into the NMM in HPMS. For more
information, please see the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-approved information
collection “Triennial Network Adequacy Review for Medicare Advantage Organizations and
1876 Cost Plans” (OMB 0938-1346, CMS-10636).
3.1.
Triggering Events
CMS may perform a network review after specific triggering events. Triggering events include:
1. Application: Any organization seeking to offer a new contract or to expand their service
area must demonstrate compliance with network adequacy requirements in the proposed
service area at the time of such MA applications
2. Significant provider/facility contract termination: When a contract between an
organization and a provider or facility is terminated, and CMS determines it to be
significant, then CMS may request to review the network to ensure ongoing compliance
with network adequacy requirements. For more information on significant network
changes, please refer to chapter 4 of the MMCM.
3. Network access complaint: If CMS receives complaints from an enrollee, caregiver, or
other source that indicates an organization is not providing sufficient access to covered
health care services, CMS may elect to review the organization’s contracted network.
4. Organization-disclosed network gap: CMS requires organizations to monitor their
networks for compliance with the current network adequacy requirements. CMS requires
organizations to notify their CMS Account Managers upon discovery that their network is
out of compliance. Once notified, CMS may request that the organization upload its
contracted network for CMS review.
CMS will provide organizations with specific instructions for submitting their contracted
networks and identify a specific submission timeframe. If an organization experiences a
triggering event requiring a full network review, then the timing of that organization’s
subsequent triennial review may be reset.
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3.2.
Timing of Network Adequacy Reviews
Prior to the formal triennial network review, CMS provides organizations the opportunity to
upload their networks in the NMM for an informal review and technical assistance, also
referred to as Consultation.
Applicants and contracts due for their triennial review will be prompted to upload their health
service delivery (HSD) tables into the NMM as part of the application process, and in mid-June,
respectively, for CMS review. Initial and service area expansion (SAE) applicants must upload
their tables for the upcoming contract year, while organizations due for their triennial review
must upload their tables for the current contract year.
CMS may deny an organization’s application if they fail to meet network adequacy
requirements. Contracts that fail to meet network adequacy requirements during the contract
year may be subject to compliance or enforcement actions.
3.3
Organization-Initiated Testing of Contracted Networks
Organizations with a contract ID number have the opportunity to test their contracted networks’
compliance with network adequacy criteria at any time via the NMM in HPMS. Once an
organization initiates its HSD table upload, the NMM will automatically review the contracted
network against CMS network adequacy criteria for each required provider and facility type in
each county.
Organizations can refer to Organization Initiated Submissions section in the NMM User Guide
for detailed instructions on how to submit an Organization Initiated Upload, and ACC Extracts
section for instructions on how to view the Automated Criteria Check (ACC) report in HPMS.
The ACC report displays the results of the automated network review for each provider and
facility. The results are displayed as either “PASS” or “FAIL.” The NMM also contains the ZIP
Code Report for Failed Counties that lists the areas where enrollees do not have adequate access.
Organizations may find the ZIP Code Report for Failed Counties using the following navigation
path: HPMS Home Page>Monitoring>Network Management>ACC Extracts.

4.

Exceptions to the Network Adequacy Criteria

Although the time and distance standards vary by county and specialty type, and are generally
attainable across the country, there are unique instances where a given county’s supply of
providers/facilities is such that an organization would not be able to meet the network adequacy
criteria. The exceptions process allows organizations to provide evidence to CMS when the
health care market landscape has changed or does not reflect the current CMS network adequacy
criteria. The exceptions standards are outlined at 42 C.F.R. § 422.116(f).
The organization must include conclusive evidence in its exception request that the CMS
network adequacy criteria cannot be met because of changes to the availability of
providers/facilities, resulting in insufficient supply. The organization must then demonstrate that
its contracted network (i.e., providers/facilities included on its HSD tables) furnishes enrollees
with adequate access to covered services and is consistent with or better than the Original
Medicare pattern of care for a given county and specialty type.

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4.1. Criteria for Submitting Exception Requests

Generally, organizations use the exception process to identify when the supply of
providers/facilities is such that it is not possible for the organization to obtain contracts that
satisfy CMS’s network adequacy criteria.
Per 42 C.F.R. § 422.116(f)(1), an MA plan may request an exception to network adequacy
criteria when both of the following occur:
• Certain providers or facilities listed in the Provider Supply file are not available for the
organization to meet the network adequacy criteria for a given county and specialty type.
The organization has contracted with other providers and facilities located beyond the limits
in the time and distance criteria, but are available and accessible to most enrollees,
consistent with the local pattern of care.
Valid rationales to submit exception request may include, but are not limited to:
• Provider is no longer practicing (e.g., deceased, retired).
• Does not contract with any organizations or contracts exclusively with another
organization.
• Provider does not provide services at the office/facility address listed in the supply file.
• Provider does not provide services in the specialty type listed in the supply file.
• Provider has opted out of Medicare.
• Sanctioned provider on List of Excluded Individuals and Entities.
• Use of Original Medicare telehealth providers or mobile providers
• Specific patterns of care in a community
There are instances when CMS will consider an organization’s reason for not contracting with an
available provider/facility. For example, based on substantial and credible evidence, CMS will
consider an organization’s claim that an available provider may cause beneficiary harm. On the
exception request, from the “Reason for Not Contracting” drop-down list, the organization must
select “Other,” and provide evidence in the “Additional Notes on Reason for Not Contracting”
field.
On the exception request, from the “Reason for Not Contracting” drop-down list, an organization
could select either “Provider does not contract with any organization” or “Other” if the
provider/facility contracts exclusively with another organization. The organization must provide
evidence in the “Additional Notes on Reason for Not Contracting” field.
An organization could provide substantial and credible evidence that an available provider is
inappropriately credentialed under MA regulations (42 C.F.R. 422.204, Chapter 6 of the
MMCM). On the exception request, from the “Reason for Not Contracting” drop-down list, the
organization must select “Other” or “Provider does not provide services in the specialty type
listed in the database and for which this exception is being requested,” as appropriate. The
organization must then provide evidence in the “Additional Notes on Reason for Not
Contracting” field. 5
5

CMS will generally not accept an organization’s unwillingness to contract with an otherwise qualified
provider/facility due to the organization’s own internal standards.

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An organization could provide substantial and credible evidence that they use Original
Medicaretelehealth providers or mobile health providers to fulfill network adequacy
requirements.
For organizations using Original Medicare telehealth providers, services must meet the
requirements for “Medicare telehealth services” under section 1834(m) of the Social Security
Act (the Act) (e.g. provider types, eligible originating sites, geography, and currently approved
list of Medicare telehealth services), as well as the requirements for “communication technologybased services” not subject to the section 1834(m) limitations (brief communication technologybased service/virtual check-in, remote evaluation of pre-recorded patient information, and interprofessional internet consultation). The organization must demonstrate that it meets all
applicable requirements.
If an organization uses Mobile Providers (e.g., mobile x-ray suppliers, orthotics and prosthetics
mobile units), they must be qualified and furnish services in a scheduled manner.
Organizations requesting an exception using the “Pattern of Care” rationale should provide
substantial and credible evidence that shows there is an insufficient supply of providers/facilities,
as well as why they do not contract with available providers/facilities. The organization must
show that the pattern of care in the area is unique and the organization believes their contracted
network is consistent with or better than the Original Medicare pattern of care.
On the exception request PDF, an organization must compare the non-contracted
providers/facilities closer to enrollees in terms of time and distance to other providers/facilities
that may be located farther away. From the “Reason for Not Contracting” drop-down list, an
organization could select “Other” and then provide evidence in the “Additional Notes on Reason
for Not Contracting” field that demonstrates that the organization did not contract with the
available provider/facility because the organization’s current network is consistent with or better
than the Original Medicare pattern of care. For this pattern of care rationale, CMS will consider
the following in the “Additional Notes on Reason for Not Contracting” field:
• Internal claims data with an explanation that demonstrates the current pattern of care for
enrollees in the given county for the given specialty type, or
• Detailed explanation that supports the rationale that the contracted network provides
access that is consistent with or better than the Original Medicare pattern of care.
4.2. Standards for Evaluating Exception Requests
Per § 422.116(f)(2), in evaluating exception requests, CMS considers whether:
• The current access to providers and facilities is different from the HSD reference and
Provider Supply files for the year;
• There are other factors present that demonstrate that network access is consistent with or
better than the Original Medicare pattern of care (§ 422.112(a)(10)(v)); and
• Approval of the exception is in the best interests of beneficiaries.
Finally, CMS will generally not accept an organization’s assertion that it cannot meet current
CMS network adequacy criteria because of an “inability to contract,” meaning they could not
successfully negotiate and establish a contract with a provider/facility. The non-interference
provision at section 1854(a)(6) of the Act prohibits us from requiring any MA organization to
contract with a particular hospital, physician, or other entity or individual to furnish items and
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services or require a particular price structure for payment under such a contract. As such, we
cannot assume the role of arbitrating or judging the bona fides of contract negotiations between
an MA organization and available providers or facilities.
4.3. Exception Request Upload Instructions
Please refer to the NMM User Guide sections How to Request Exceptions, How to Upload
Documentation for Exceptions and How to Check the Status of an Exception Request for detailed
instructions on how to upload an exception.
Organizations must resubmit all previously approved exception requests whenever CMS requests
an organization to upload its HSD tables. Organizations must use the current exception request
template and submit the template in accordance with CMS communications. The current
exception request template is located in HPMS>Monitoring>Network
Management>Documentation>Templates
Organizations should submit supplemental documentation (e.g., maps, screenshots, letters) at end
of the exception request template. For exception requests with more than 25 providers in Part V:
Table of Non-Contracted Providers on the exception request template, organizations should
submit two separate exception request PDFs to ensure that all provider rows are captured. In
these cases, organizations should submit a second exception request PDF with the following
naming convention: HXXXX_12345_001_Part 2.

5.

Specific Circumstances

This section provides guidance on specific circumstances or flexibilities that may apply
depending on the organization’s contracted network and service area.
5.1
Partial Counties
Organizations submitting networks for CMS review against the current network adequacy
criteria may have full county service areas or partial county service areas.
If an organization offering a local MA plan has an approved partial county service area, it means
that they have an approved exception to the CMS county integrity rule as outlined at 42 C.F.R.
422.2. Specifically, the inclusion of a partial county service area must be determined by CMS to
be:
1) Necessary,
2) Nondiscriminatory, and
3) In the best interests of the beneficiaries.
CMS may also consider the extent to which the proposed service area mirrors the service area of
existing commercial health care plans or MA plans offered by the organization.
Necessary
For CMS to determine that a partial county is necessary, an organization must be able to
demonstrate that it cannot establish a provider network to make health care services available
and accessible to beneficiaries residing in the portion of the county to be excluded from the
service area.
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The following examples illustrate how a local MA plan may have a health care network that is
limited to one part of a county and cannot be extended to encompass an entire county.
•

•

A section of a county has an insufficient number of providers or insufficient capacity
among existing providers to ensure access and availability to covered services. For
example, the organization can submit evidence demonstrating insufficient provider
supply (e.g., list of non-contracted provider names/locations and valid reasons for not
contracting).
Geographic features (e.g., mountains, water barriers, large national park) or exceptionally
large counties create situations where the local pattern of care in the county justifies less
than a complete county because covered services are not available and accessible
throughout the entire county. For example, the organization can demonstrate the
geographic features or characteristics of the county using a clear, current map showing
the barriers creating access issues.

The inability to establish economically viable contracts is not an acceptable justification for
approving a partial county service area, as it is not consistent with CMS regulations. CMS may
validate statements made on the Partial County Justification. However, CMS will consider
an organization’s justification for a partial county if a provider/facility either:
•
•

Does not contract with any organizations, or
Contracts exclusively with another organization.

CMS will consider these two justifications if the organization provides substantial and credible
evidence. For example, an organization could submit letters or e-mails to and from the providers’
offices demonstrating that the providers were declining to contract with any MA organization;
thus no MA organizations could be offered in the area in question. Where this evidence is
present, CMS would consider this information when reviewing the partial county request.
Nondiscriminatory
In order for CMS to determine if a partial county is nondiscriminatory, an organization must be
able to demonstrate the following:
•

•

The anticipated enrollee health care cost in the portion of the county it proposes to serve
is comparable to the excluded portion of the county. For example, the organization can
demonstrate its anticipated cost of care (in the partial county area) by using data from the
previous year of contracting, comparing the health care costs of its enrollees in the
excluded area to those in the area of the county it proposes to serve; and
The racial and economic composition of the population in the portion of the county it
proposes to serve is comparable to the excluded portion of the county. For example, the
organization can use current U.S. Census data to show the demographic make-up of the
included portion of the county as compared to the excluded portion.

Note: The existence of other MA plans operating in the entire county may provide evidence to
CMS that approving a partial county service area would be discriminatory.
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In the Best Interests of the Beneficiaries
In order for CMS to determine whether a partial county is in the best interests of the
beneficiaries, an organization must provide reasonable documentation to support its request.
Examples of reasonable documentation include reliable and current enrollee satisfaction surveys,
grievance and appeal files, utilization information, or other credible evidence.
5.1.1. Partial County Justification Submission Instructions
Organizations may request an exception to the county integrity rule at 42 C.F.R. 422.2 by
completing and submitting a Partial County Justification. Organizations must submit separate
justifications for each county in which the partial county is being requested. Organizations with
current partial county service areas must resubmit their previously approved Partial County
Justification(s) whenever CMS requests a network upload for those service areas in the NMM.
Organizations must complete the Partial County Justification template in Appendix B and submit
the completed template to CMS’s website portal. If an organization with partial counties fails the
network adequacy criteria in a certain area, then the organization may submit an exception
request. Please see section 5 for information on exception requests.
5.1.2 Partial County Request in the Application Module
Organizations requesting partial county service areas for the first time (initial and SAE
applicants) and organizations expanding a current partial county by one or more zip codes (when
the resulting service area will continue to be a partial county) must submit their Partial County
Justifications with their applications. For the Application Module, organizations must use the
Partial County Justification template in HPMS and submit the template in accordance with
CMS’s application instructions defined in HPMS and available on our website. Please note that
organizations expanding from a partial county to a full county do NOT need to submit a Partial
County Justification template.
5.2.
Regional Preferred Provider Organizations
Regional Preferred Provider Organizations (RPPOs) offer MA regional plans, which are a type
of MA coordinated care plan. Unlike other MA coordinated care plans, 42 C.F.R. 422.2 defines
the service area of an MA regional plan as one or more entire regions. Regions consist of one or
more states as opposed to counties. The list of current RPPO regions is available on CMS’s
website.
Following successful HSD table uploads RPPOs will receive the automated results of their
review as discussed in section 4. In the event that an RPPO’s contracted network receives one or
more failures on the ACC reports, the RPPO may submit an ER. However, unlike other
organizations, the MA regulation allows RPPOs to request an exception to written agreements
(i.e., operate by non-network means) in those portions of the regional service area where it is not
possible to build a network that meets CMS network adequacy criteria.
5.2.1. RPPO-Specific Exception to Written Agreements
RPPOs have the flexibility under 42 C.F.R. 422.112(a)(1)(ii), subject to CMS pre-approval, to
operate by methods other than written agreements in those areas of a region where they are
unable to establish contracts with sufficient providers/facilities to meet CMS network adequacy
criteria. RPPOs that use this RPPO-specific exception must agree to establish and maintain a
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process through which they disclose to their enrollees in non-network areas how the enrollees
can access plan-covered medically necessary health care services at in-network cost sharing rates
(see 42 C.F.R. 422.111(b)(3)(ii) and 42 C.F.R. 422.112(a)(1)(ii)). As discussed in Chapter 1 of
the MMCM, CMS expects that the RPPO-specific exception to written agreements will be
limited to rural areas.
Please note that, while this flexibility exists, CMS expects that RPPOs will establish
networks in those areas of the region when there are a sufficient number of
providers/facilities within time and distance criteria available to contract with the RPPO.
1. When the RPPO contract is due for its CMS network review in the NMM, for the
providers and/or facilities for which the RPPO is requesting exceptions to written
agreements, the RPPO must (1) list these providers/facilities on its HSD tables, and (2)
enter ‘Y’ under the column labeled ‘RPPO-Specific Exception to Written Agreements.’
This serves as the RPPO’s official request to CMS for the RPPO-specific exception per
42 C.F.R. 422.112(a)(1)(ii).
2. The RPPO will receive information regarding the approval or denial of the RPPO request
in CMS’s formal network review notification.
3. If the RPPO receives CMS’s approval to use methods other than written agreements to
establish that access requirements are met, then the RPPO must follow all guidance
pertaining to this RPPO-specific exception, including the attestations above.
Please note, any RPPO with a CMS-approved, RPPO-specific exception per 42 C.F.R.
422.112(a)(1)(ii) must resubmit its request whenever the RPPO contract undergoes a CMS
network review in the NMM. In addition, if there is an indication of enrollee access issues, the
RPPO’s disclosure to enrollees residing in non-network areas is subject to CMS review as
necessary (e.g., EOC and/or provider directory).
5.3
Sub-Networks
A sub-network occurs when the network provider group they join guides enrollee access to
providers/facilities. Each provider group furnishes primary care and may furnish specialty and
institutional care. For example, a plan with sub-networks has more than one provider group, and
referrals by an enrollee’s primary care provider (PCP) are typically made to providers/facilities
in the same group.
A plan with sub-networks must allow enrollees to access all providers/facilities in the CMSapproved network for the plan’s service area; that is, the enrollees may not be “locked-in” to
the sub-network.
If an enrollee wants to see a specialist within their plan's overall network, but that is outside of
the referral pattern of their current PCP in a sub-network, then the plan can require the enrollee
to select a PCP that can refer the enrollee to their preferred specialist. However, each plan must
ensure that it has a network that meets current CMS network adequacy criteria.
5.4
Certificate of Need Credit
CMS’s network adequacy requirements also account Certificate of Need (CON) laws, or other
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anticompetitive restrictions, as described at 42 C.F.R. 422.116(d)(6). In a state with CON laws,
or other state imposed anti-competitive restrictions that limit the number of providers or facilities
in the state or a county in the state, CMS will either award the organization a 10-percentage point
credit towards the percentage of beneficiaries residing within published time and distance
standards for affected providers and facilities or, when necessary due to utilization or supply
patterns, customize the base time and distance standards. CMS conducted extensive analyses to
identify all counties and specialties where the CON credit is applicable and created a CON
reference file. Networks submitted to the NMM will automatically be reviewed for the CON
criteria and receive the credit as applicable. Please note, in accordance with § 422.116(d)(6), the
10% credit will not be applied if the county maximum time and distance standards are
customized. For more information about customization, see § 422.116(d)(3).
If an organization determines there are additional county/specialty combinations that are not
reflected in the CON reference file, they may request an exception related to the CON criteria
and must provide substantial and credible evidence that a provider or facility type is adversely
affected by a CON law. Organizations must use the current exception request template.
Organizations should select “other” as the reason for not contracting on the exception request
template and include supplemental documentation at the end of the PDF. Organizations can find
the MA Exception template at the following navigation path: HPMS Home
Page>Monitoring>Network Management>Templates
5.5
Telehealth Credit
Organizations will receive a 10% credit towards the percentage of beneficiaries that must
reside within required time and distance standards when they contract with telehealth
providers in the following specialties: Dermatology, Psychiatry, Cardiology, Otolaryngology,
Neurology, Ophthalmology, Allergy and Immunology, Nephrology, Primary Care,
Gynecology/ OB/GYN, Endocrinology, and Infectious Diseases.
Detailed technical instructions on reporting telehealth providers during a MA organization’s
network submission are outlined in the HPMS NMM Plan User Guide. Organizations can find
the Plan User Guide at the following navigation path: HPMS Home
Page>Monitoring>Network Management>Guidance.
5.6
New or Expanding Service Area Applicant Credit
On January xx, 2022, CMS published proposed changes [ Link] to § 422.116. We understand
that organizations may have difficulties with building a full provider network almost one year
prior to being approved for an MA contract. Therefore, we proposed that beginning for
contract year 2024, an applicant for a new or expanding service area will receive a
10-percentage point credit towards the percentage of beneficiaries residing within published
time and distance standards for the contracted network in the pending service area, at the time
of application and for the duration of the application review. If the application is approved, at
the beginning of the contract year, the MA organization must be in full compliance with
network adequacy standards and the credit would no longer apply.
Networks submitted in the NMM, by initial and SAE applicants, will automatically receive
the credit as applicable.
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Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
(Last updated: January xx, 2022)

Appendix A: Crosswalk of HSD Specialty Code to Provide and Facility Specialties
Provider Type Specialties
HSD Specialty
Code

HSD Specialty Name

Medicare Specialty Codes Included

S03

Primary Care

General Practice (01) Family Practice (08), Internal Medicine
(11), Geriatric Medicine (38)

007

Allergy and Immunology

Allergy/Immunology (03)

008

Cardiology

Cardiology (06)

010

Chiropractor

Chiropractic (35)

011

Dermatology

Dermatology (07)

012

Endocrinology

Endocrinology (46)

013

ENT/Otolaryngology

Otolaryngology (04)

014

Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology (10)

015

General Surgery

General Surgery (02)

016

Gynecology, OB/GYN

Obstetrics & Gynecology (16)

017

Infectious Diseases

Infectious Disease (44)

018

Nephrology

Nephrology (39)

019

Neurology

Neurology (13)

020

Neurosurgery

021

Oncology - Medical, Surgical

022

Oncology - Radiation/Radiation
Oncology

Neurosurgery (14)
Hematology (82), Hematology-Oncology (83), Medical
Oncology (90), Surgical Oncology (91), Gynecological
Oncology (98)

023

Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology (18)

025

Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic Surgery (20), Hand Surgery (40)

026

Physiatry, Rehabilitative Medicine

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (25)

027

Plastic Surgery

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (24)

028

Podiatry

Podiatry (48)

029

Psychiatry

Psychiatry (26)

030

Pulmonology

Pulmonary Disease (29)

031

Rheumatology

Rheumatology (66)

033

Urology

Urology (34)

034

Vascular Surgery

Vascular Surgery (77)

035

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Thoracic Surgery (33), Cardiac Surgery (78)

Radiation Oncology (92)

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Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
(Last updated: January xx, 2022)

Facility Type Specialties
HSD
Specialty
Code

HSD Specialty Name

040

Acute Inpatient Hospitals

041

Cardiac Surgery Program

042

Cardiac Catheterization Services

043

Critical Care Services – Intensive Care Units (ICU)

045

Surgical Services (Outpatient or ASC)

046

Skilled Nursing Facilities

047

Diagnostic Radiology

048

Mammography

049

Physical Therapy

050

Occupational Therapy

051

Speech Therapy

052

Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Services

057

Outpatient Infusion/Chemotherapy

13

Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
(Last updated: January xx, 2022)

Appendix B: Partial County Justification Template
Instructions: Organizations requesting service areas that include one or more partial counties
must upload a completed Partial County Justification template into HPMS for each partial county
in the organization’s current and proposed service area.
This template is appropriate for organizations (1) offering a current partial county, (2) entering
into a new partial county, or (3) expanding a current partial county by one or more zip codes
when the resulting service area will continue to be a partial county. This template applies for any
organization that has a partial county as part of its service area. Organizations must complete
and upload a Partial County Justification for any active/existing partial county or
pending/expanding partial county.
Organizations expanding from a partial county to a full county do NOT need to submit a Partial
County Justification.
HPMS will automatically assess the contracted provider and facility networks against the current
CMS network adequacy criteria. If the ACC report shows that an organization fails the criteria
for a given county/specialty, then the organization must submit an exception request using the
same process available for full-county service areas.
NOTE: CMS requests that you limit this document to 20 pages.
SECTION I: Partial County Explanation
The organization must provide CMS short description (two to three sentences) regarding why
they are proposing a partial county service area.
SECTION II: Partial County Requirements
The Medicare Advantage Network Adequacy Criteria Guidance provides guidance on partial
county requirements. The following questions pertain to those requirements.
The organization must explain how and submit documentation to show that the partial county
meets all three of the following criteria:
1. Necessary – It is not possible to establish a network of providers to serve the entire
county.
Describe the evidence provided to substantiate the above statement and (if applicable)
attach it to the template.
2. Non-discriminatory – The organization also must be able to demonstrate the following:
•

The anticipated enrollee health care cost in the portion of the county you are
proposing to serve is comparable to the excluded portion of the county.
Describe the evidence provided to substantiate the above statement and (if
applicable) attach it to the template.

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Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
(Last updated: January xx, 2022)

•

The racial and economic composition of the population in the portion of the
county the organization is proposing to cover is comparable to the excluded
portion of the county.
Describe the evidence provided to substantiate the above statement and (if
applicable) attach it to the template.

3. In the Best Interests of the Beneficiaries – The partial county must be in the best
interests of the beneficiaries who are in the pending service area. Organizations must
describe the evidence substantiating the above statement and (if applicable) attach it to
the template.
SECTION III: Geography
The organization must describe the geographic areas for the county, both inside and outside the
proposed service area, including the major population centers, transportation arteries, significant
topographic features (e.g., mountains, water barriers, large national park), and any other
geographic factors that affected the service area designation.

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Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
(Last updated: January xx, 2022)

Appendix C: External Links
•
•

CMS-10636 Triennial Network Adequacy Review for Medicare Advantage Organizations
and 1876 Cost Plans (OMB 0938-1346)
https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202010-0938-003
CMS-4190-F Contract Year 2021 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage
Program, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program, and Medicare Cost Plan Program
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-06-02/pdf/2020-11342.pdf

•

CMS-4192-P Contract Year 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage
Program, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs [Link]

•

CMS Medicare Advantage Applications
https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Advantage/MedicareAdvantageApps/index

•

CMS Medicare Plan Finder
https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx

•

DMAO Portal
https://dmao.lmi.org/

•

Medicare Managed Care Manual:
https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/Manuals/Internet-Only-ManualsIOMs-Items/CMS019326
Chapter 4 Benefits and Beneficiary Protections
Chapter 6 Relationships with Providers
Chapter 11 Medicare Advantage Application Procedures and Contract Requirements

•

HPMS NMM User Guide: instructions on how to populate and submit HSD tables and
exception requests
https://hpms.cms.gov ~ Monitoring ~ Network Management ~Guidance

•

HPMS NMM Reference Files: MA Reference File and MA Supply File
https://hpms.cms.gov ~ Monitoring ~ Network Management~ Reference File

•

HPMS NMM Templates: Provider, Facility and Exception Templates
https://hpms.cms.gov ~ Monitoring ~ Network Management~ Template

16


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File TitleMedicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance
AuthorAmber Casserly
File Modified2022-01-07
File Created2022-01-07

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