Recent Years Saw Increase in Burden of Prior Authorization

Ninety-two percent of physicians report PA-associated delays in patient access to care
Ninety-two percent of physicians report PA-associated delays in patient access to care

HealthDay News — The burden of prior authorization (PA) has increased over the past 5 years, and 92% of physicians report associated delays in access to care, according to the results of a survey published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

The AMA administered the 27-question, web-based survey relating to PA protocols to 1,000 U.S. physicians who provide at least 20 hours of patient care per week. 

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According to the survey, 86% of physicians report that PA burdens have increased over the past 5 years, with 51% reporting a significant increase. A medical practice will complete an average of 29.1 PA requests per physician per week; these take 14.6 hours to process, on average. Half the requests are for medical services and half for prescriptions. Almost two-thirds of physicians reported having to wait at least 1 business day for the decision from the health plan, while about 1 in 4 reported waiting an average of 3 to 5 days and 7% reported waiting more than five days. Overall, 92% of physicians said that PA sometimes, often, or always delayed patient access to care.

"Earlier this year, the AMA joined with other stakeholders – including the insurance industry trade group America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association – to issue a consensus statement that announced their commitment to improving the prior-authorization process," according to the article.

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