Services Requiring Prior Authorization
Prior authorization is not a guarantee of payment for the service(s) authorized. Keystone First reserves the right to adjust any payment made following a review of the medical record and determination of medical necessity of the services provided.
Important payment notice
Please note that reimbursement for all rendering network providers subject to the ordering/referring/prescribing (ORP) requirement for an approved authorization is determined by satisfying the mandatory requirement to have a valid Pennsylvania Medical Assistance (MA) Provider ID. Claims submitted by rendering network providers that are subject to the ORP requirement will be denied when billed with the NPI of an ORP provider that is not enrolled in MA.
To check the MA enrollment status of the practitioner ordering, referring, or prescribing the service you are providing, visit the DHS provider look-up portal.
Members with Medicare coverage may go to Medicare Health Care Providers of choice for Medicare covered services, whether or not the Medicare Health Care Provider has complied with Keystone First’s Prior Authorization requirements. Keystone First’s policies and procedures must be followed for Non-Covered Medicare services.
NEW! Submit authorizations electronically
- Verify if No Authorization is Required.
- Receive Auto Approvals, in some circumstances.
- Submit Amended Authorization.
- Attach supplemental documentation.
- Sign up for in-app status change notifications directly from the health plan.
- Access a multi-payer Authorization log.
- Submit inpatient concurrent reviews online if you have Health Information Exchange (HIE) capabilities. (Fax is no longer required.)
- Review inpatient admission notifications and provide supporting clinical documentation.
The following is a list of services requiring prior authorization review for medical necessity and place of service. Here are some helpful tips when submitting requests for services (PDF).
All elective (scheduled) inpatient hospital admissions medical and surgical including rehabilitation.
All elective transplant evaluations and procedures.
Elective/non-emergent air ambulance transportation.
All elective transfers for inpatient and/or outpatient services between acute care facilities.
Skilled nursing facility admission for alternate levels of care in a facility, either free-standing or part of a hospital, that accepts patients in need of skilled-level rehabilitation and/or medical care that is of a lesser intensity than that received in a hospital, not to include long-term care placements.
Select gastroenterology services.
Pain management services perform in a short procedure unit (SPU) or ambulatory surgery unit (either hospital-based or free-standing) and pain management services not on the Medical Assistance fee schedule performed in a physician’s office require prior authorization.
Cosmetic procedures regardless of treatment setting including but not limited to the following: reduction mammoplasty, gastroplasty, ligation and stripping of veins, and rhinoplasty.
Outpatient therapy services (physical, occupational, speech).
- Prior authorization is not required for an evaluation and up to 24 visits per discipline within a calendar year.
- Prior authorization is required for services exceeding 24 visits per discipline within a calendar year.
Home health services performed by a network provider.
- Prior authorization is not required for up to 18 visits per modality per calendar year including: skilled nursing visits by an R.N. or L.P.N.; home health aide visits; physical therapy; occupational therapy; and speech therapy; home respiratory therapy; mechanical ventilation care; stoma care and maintenance, including colostomy and cystectomy and services of clinical social workers in home health or hospice settings.
- The duration of services may not exceed a 60-day period. The member must be re-evaluated every 60 days.
- All shift care/private duty nursing services require prior authorization including services performed at a medical daycare or prescribed pediatric extended care center (PPECC).
- Home sleep study.
Durable medical equipment (DME) monthly rentals regardless of the per month/cost charge.
- Purchase of all items in excess of $750.
- The purchase of all wheelchairs (motorized and manual) regardless of cost per item.
- Select wheelchair items (components).
- Prior authorization is required for members over age 21.
- Prior authorization is required when the request is in excess of $350/month for members under age 21.
- Any request in excess of 300 diapers or pull-ups per month or a combination of both requires prior authorization.
- Any request in excess of 300 diapers or pull-ups or a combination of both will be reviewed for medical necessity.
- Requests for brand-specific diapers require prior authorization.
- Requests for diapers supplied by a DME provider (other than J&B Medical Supply) require prior authorization. Refer to the DME section of the Provider Manual for complete details.
- Home Oxygen Therapy
- All requests for oxygen and oxygen equipment require authorization. Initial authorizations are for 6 months and reauthorizations require an updated prescription with current oxygen saturation level (refer to the Durable Medical Equipment section for complete requirements and details).
- Select radiological exams ― excludes radiological studies that occur during inpatient, emergency room, and/or observation stays.
- Positron emission tomography.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/magnetic resonance angiography (MRA).
- Nuclear cardiology diagnostic testing.
- Computed axial tomography (CT/CAT scans) and CT angiography.
- Prior authorization for these radiological exams is obtained from National Imaging Associates (NIA) or by calling 1-800-424-5657.
- Cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation.
- Chiropractic manipulative treatment for members over age of 18 (only codes 98940, 98941 and 98943).
- Chiropractic services after the 24th visit if the member is under the age of 18.
- Any service(s) performed by nonparticipating or non-contracted practitioners or providers, unless the service is an emergency service.
- All services that may be considered experimental and/or investigational.
- Neurological psychological testing.
- Genetic laboratory testing.
- All miscellaneous/unlisted or not otherwise specified codes.
- Any service/product not listed on the Medical Assistance fee schedule or services or equipment in excess of limitations set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services fee schedule, benefit limits, and regulation. (Regardless of cost, i.e., above or below the $750 DME threshold).
- Ambulance transportation to and from a PPECC/medical daycare.
- Member is <21 years of age.
- Member is approved for services at a PPECC/medical daycare.
- Member requires intermittent or continuous oxygen, ventilator support, and/or critical physiologic monitoring or critical medication(s) during transport requiring ambulance level of care.
- There are no existing mechanisms for caregivers to transport the
- Requests for ambulance services are prior authorized along with initial request for PPECC/medical daycare services, with each reauthorization of medical daycare services, and/or when there is a change in level of care regarding oxygen, ventilator support, and/or specific medical treatment during transport.
- Rapid Response Transportation Department will be notified with each ambulance approval to initiate and/or continue ambulance transport services.
- Select prescription medications. For information on which prescription drugs require authorization, see the Searchable Formulary.
- Select dental services. For information on which dental services require prior authorization, please refer to the Dental Services section of the Provider Manual.
- Elective termination of pregnancy – Refer to the Termination of Pregnancy section of the Provider Manual for complete details.
- Home modifications.
Prior authorization is not a guarantee of payment for the service(s) authorized. The plan reserves the right to adjust any payment made following a review of medical record and determination of medical necessity of services provided.
Any additional questions regarding prior authorization requests may be addressed by calling 1-800-521-6622.