Understanding Single Case Agreements: Purpose and Process

An artistic depiction of a serene, modern office environment where a healthcare professional and a patient are sitting at a table, discussing a document labeled 'Single Case Agreement.' The setting is



Understanding Single Case Agreements: Purpose and Process

Understanding Single Case Agreements: Purpose and Process

In the realm of healthcare and insurance, getting the necessary treatment covered under your existing plan can sometimes cross into complex territory, especially when out-of-network providers are involved. Here’s where a Single Case Agreement (SCA) comes into play. Brought to you with insights from CBM Medical Management, leaders with over 40 years in revenue cycle management and practice start-up, this article unpacks the purpose and process of SCAs. Whether you’re a healthcare provider or a patient, understanding SCAs can significantly impact the management and reception of specialized medical care.

What is a Single Case Agreement?

A Single Case Agreement, often regarded as a one-time contract, is arranged between an insurance company and an out-of-network provider for a specific patient’s care. It is primarily used when an insured individual requires services that are not available within their existing provider network.

Why are SCAs Important?

Ever wondered why SCAs hold significant weight in healthcare? Here are a few pivotal reasons:

  • Access to Specialized Care: SCAs enable patients to receive specialized medical treatments that are otherwise unavailable within their network, without facing hefty financial burdens.
  • Cost Management: These agreements allow for negotiated rates between the insurer and the out-of-network provider, often reducing the cost compared to standard out-of-network charges.
  • Continuity of Care: For patients already engaged with out-of-network providers, SCAs can facilitate continued treatment without interruption, enhancing treatment effectiveness and patient comfort.

The SCA Process Explained

The procedure for establishing a Single Case Agreement involves several detailed steps both parties must carefully navigate:

  1. Initiation: Typically, either the healthcare provider or the patient initiates the request for an SCA with the payer. It is essential to present a robust case including the clinical reasons why the provider’s specialized service is necessary, particularly if those services can’t be adequately provided in network.
  2. Negotiation: Following the initiation, negotiation between the insurance payer and the out-of-network provider takes place. Here, the discussion revolves around service coverage specifics and payment rates.
  3. Agreement: Once both parties agree on the terms, a formal agreement is drafted and signed, making the provisions legally binding.
  4. Claim Handling: Post-agreement, the provider performs the services and submits claims under the terms established in the SCA.

Utilizing SCAs in Mental Health

In mental health, SCAs are especially vital, as many specialized treatments and niche service providers operate outside typical provider networks. For mental health providers looking to understand or expand their use of SCAs, detailed credentialing services offered by CBM Medical Management can pave the way for smoother negotiations and billing processes.


SCAs can be a powerful tool for ensuring patient access to necessary, high-quality healthcare while managing costs effectively. Both providers and patients need to understand their potential and processes to leverage them effectively in their healthcare strategies. With experts like CBM Medical Management, navigating the complexities of SCAs becomes more manageable, ensuring a better healthcare experience for all parties involved.

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