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Library: Policy

317:30-3-92. Payment for lodging and meals

Revised 9-12-22

(a) Requests for lodging and meals services.

(1) Requests for lodging and meals services shall derive from the treating facility or the member. All requests shall be submitted at least three (3) business days prior to check-in, with exceptions made only in emergency situations. Requests will include, but are not limited to, the following information:

(A) SoonerCare member information:

(i) Name;

(ii) SoonerCare ID number;

(iii) Address;

(iv) Member diagnosis;

(B) Visit information:

(i) Inpatient/outpatient visit;

(ii) Facility name;

(iii) Provider name and number;

(iv) Appointment date and time:

(I) Check-in time;

(II) Duration of stay if inpatient;

(III) Admission date and time;

(C) Services requested:

(i) Lodging;

(ii) Meals; or

(iii) Both lodging and meals;

(D) Medical escort information:

(i) Name;

(ii) Relationship to member;

(iii) Medical necessity for the need of an escort; and

(E) Any special accommodations that need to be met.

(2) Any additional documentation, including medical records, that may be needed to determine the need for lodging and meals services.

(b) Meal requirements.

(1) At least two (2) meals shall be provided/served to receive the per diem payment.

(2) Meals provided shall strive to meet the nutritional guidance outlined in the current United States Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines.

(3) Meals may be hot, cold, frozen, dried, or canned (with a satisfactory storage life).

(c) Reimbursement for lodging and meals services.

(1) Payment is made for lodging and/or meals assistance for an eligible member and one (1) approved medical escort, if needed, only when medically necessary and in connection with SoonerCare compensable services. For medically necessary criteria, please refer to Oklahoma Administrative Code 317:30-3-1 (f) (1) through (6). The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) has discretion and final authority to approve or deny any lodging and/or meal services.

(A) Lodging and/or meals are reimbursable when prior approved. Payment for lodging and/or meals is limited to a period of up to twenty-four (24) hours prior to the start of member's medical service(s) and up to twenty-four (24) hours after the service(s) end. If travel arrangements cannot meet these timeframes, due to travel issues/restrictions and/or medically necessary services, then lodging and/or meals may be provided with approval from the OHCA.

(B) Lodging and/or meals will not be provided if a suitable alternative is available at a hospital or non-profit. Factors to be considered in determining availability include, but are not limited to:

(i) Type of hospital room;

(ii) Availability of "rooming-in";

(iii) Shower facilities available for use by the medical escort; and

(iv) Member's anticipated length of stay.

(C) The following conditions shall be met for lodging and/or meals to be reimbursed, unless the lodging and/or meals provision is determined to be the most cost-effective alternative:

(i) Travel to obtain specialty care at the closest appropriate facility and be fifty (50) miles or greater from the member's home;

(ii) The trip cannot be completed during SoonerRide operating hours or the member's medical treatment/condition requires an overnight stay; and

(iii) Medical necessity is confirmed and the medical escort will be actively engaged and participative in compensable care.

(D) Meals will be reimbursed if lodging criteria is met. Duration of the trip must be eighteen (18) hours or greater.

(E) Reimbursement for meals is based on a daily per diem and may be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or all three (3) meals, as required.

(i) If meals or meal vouchers are provided by either the hospital or the lodging provider, additional reimbursement will not be provided to the member.

(ii) If meals or meal vouchers are not provided by either the hospital or lodging provider, the member may be reimbursed for getting meals outside of the hospital or lodging provider. In lieu of meals out, groceries may be reimbursed up to the daily per diem limit.

(iii) If meals or meal vouchers are provided by the lodging provider, but the member has a medically indicated dietary need that the lodging provider would not meet on a normal basis, the member may provide their own meals and be reimbursed.

(I) Members will be reimbursed based on the daily per diem rate. In lieu of meals out, groceries may be reimbursed up to the daily per diem limit.

(II) Medical documentation showing medically necessary dietary needs will need to be provided upon request for these circumstances.

(III) If varying dietary preferences need to be accommodated, that will be at the member's own expense.

(F) During the first fourteen (14) days of a member's inpatient stay, lodging and meals can be approved per a hospital social worker/provider without prior approval. Additional lodging and/or meals beyond the fourteen (14) days must be prior approved by the OHCA.

(G) A member may not receive reimbursement for lodging and/or meals services for days the member is inpatient in a hospital or medical facility since that will be provided at the location that the member is receiving inpatient services.

(2) Criteria for lodging and/or meals reimbursement is as follows:

(A) If lodging and/or meals assistance with contracted room and board providers is not available, the member and the medical escort may request reimbursement assistance by submitting the appropriate travel reimbursement forms. The travel reimbursement forms may be obtained by contacting the SoonerCare Population Care Management division.

(B) Any lodging and/or meal expenses claimed on the travel reimbursement forms shall be documented with the required receipts. If the compensable service related to lodging/meals is not verifiable, reimbursement will be denied.

(C) Reimbursement for lodging will not exceed maximum State allowable amounts.

(D) In order for lodging to be reimbursed for a medical escort of a hospitalized member, the medical escort is required to actively assist the member during the escort and be of an age of legal majority recognized under State law. In cases where the lodging facility has additional requirements, the medical escort shall comply with them. This includes, but is not limited to, being compliant with the lodging facility's required age to check in.

(E) The lodging provider is not eligible for reimbursement if the member and/or approved medical escort do not stay overnight. If the member and/or escort do not remove personal belongings, the lodging provider may charge the member and/or medical escort for the room that is occupied.

(d) Authorizations and verification of services.

(1) The member and/or medical escort shall review and sign an appropriate attestation, from the lodging provider, verifying the correct dates are listed in the length of stay.

(2) The member and/or medical escort are responsible for notifying the lodging provider, and the OHCA, if they do not stay overnight or if they leave earlier than the days that have been allotted on the authorization. If the member and/or medical escort do not stay overnight, or leave early, the appropriate attestation shall still need to be reviewed, verified, and signed.

(3) The member and/or approved medical escort may be required to sign in/out at the lodging provider's front desk on a daily basis.

(e) Incidental charges, damages, and complaints.

(1) Incidental charges and damages.

(A) Any incidental charges, including costs and services that are not covered under the lodging and meals benefit, will not be paid. If the member and/or medical escort makes any charges outside the scope of the lodging and meals benefit, then the member and/or medical escort shall be responsible for the charges incurred.

(B) The member, and/or approved medical escort, shall be responsible for the payment of any damages that are made to the lodging facility.

(2) Complaints on members/medical escorts.

(A) If a complaint is received from the lodging provider on a member and/or approved medical escort, the OHCA will reassign the member and/or approved medical escort to another lodging facility.

(B) If the OHCA receives more than two (2) complaints on the member and/or medical escort, then the member and/or medical escort will be moved to a probationary period. During the probationary period, the member and/or medical escort will be required to provide his, her, or their own lodging which will be eligible for reimbursement up to the daily per diem rate.

(3) Complaints on providers/lodging facilities.

(A) Any complaints on lodging facilities should be directed to the SoonerCare Population Care Management division. The member should provide as much information as possible, including but not limited to, the time, facility, names, and the exact nature of the complaint.

(B) If the compliant is a safety issue, then the OHCA will assist the member into getting placed with another lodging provider, if available, or make arrangements for lodging reimbursement.

(C) The OHCA will gather all pertinent information and document it into the system to see if there are any ongoing trends with the lodging providers who have had complaints filed on them. The OHCA will use this information to attempt to decrease the likelihood of issue reoccurrences.

(D) If complaints/issues continue to persist, the OHCA will work with the lodging facility and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to create an appropriate solution.

(f) Temporary guardians.

(1) If the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) removes a child from his/her/their home, a court must appoint a temporary guardian. During this time, the temporary guardian is eligible for medical escort-related lodging and/or meals services. If the minor is in need of medical services and a temporary guardian has not been appointed, then the DHS case worker accompanying the minor is eligible for lodging and/or meal services.

(2) It is the responsibility of the OHCA to determine this necessity. The decision will be based on the following circumstances:

(A) When the individual's health or disability does not permit traveling alone; and

(B) When the individual seeking medical services is a minor child.

(g) Clinical trials. In accordance with federal regulations and OAC 317:30-3-57.1 and 317:30-3-90 (d)(2), exceptions to the lodging and meals prior authorization requirements will be made for members who are participating in a clinical trial that requires the member to go out-of-state.

(h) Final authority. The OHCA has discretion and the final authority in determining the need for lodging and meals, as well as who will be providing the lodging and meals services. This includes the mode of provision for the services, whether it be through a SoonerCare contracted provider or direct reimbursement to a member or a medical escort.

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