Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin appointed Jennifer Ahrens as Health Care Provider Ombudsman for the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI).
Ahrens, formerly general counsel and Advisor for the Governor’s Office of Budget, Planning and Policy, is currently TDI’s associate commissioner for Life, Health & Licensing. The ombudsman position was formerly held by Audrey Selden, senior associate commissioner of TDI’s Consumer Protection division.
The provider ombudsman program was developed in 2001 following legislation that addressed the issue of prompt payment for medical insurance claims. Specifically, the role of the provider ombudsman is to assist health care providers in their dealings with insurance carriers. The provider ombudsman expedites resolution of provider complaints and analyzes complaint data for patterns or particularly serious violations that require corrective action. In some cases the provider ombudsman suggests changes in TDI rules if necessary to improve compliance with insurance laws.
In making the announcement, Geeslin cited a shift in priorities for the program.
“Thanks to the efforts of Audrey Selden and her staff, the number of complaints involving slow payment has fallen dramatically,” Geeslin said. “We’re now moving into a refinement phase and looking at prompt pay issues relative to the evolution of the health care industry. Ms. Ahrens will provide strong leadership in that area.”
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