'Enough is enough': AMA pushes prior authorization fix

Physicians should be scrambling to contact their legislators about passing prior authorization reform and blocking an 8.5 percent cut to physician Medicare payment, the American Medical Association said in a Nov. 17 article.

"Our data shows that the average physician across all specialties now does 41 [prior authorizations] per week," AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., MD, said during an AMA webinar. "This burden has really spiraled out of control and enough is enough."

Dr. Resneck said an AMA physician survey showed payers are not following through with prior authorization reforms they have agreed to. Because of that, according to the survey, diagnoses and treatments are being delayed, often to the patient's detriment.

Physicians should tell legislators their personal story about how their patients and practices would be affected, AMA Director of Congressional Affairs Jason Marino said, according to the article.

There are two congressional bills aimed at mitigating the issues, but their passage could be in jeopardy. The Congressional Budget Office said the Senate bill would likely result in $16 billion of spending growth over 10 years — because the reforms would enable physicians to spend more time with patients, according to the article.

"It's just totally maddening," Dr. Resneck said. "Patients who are not getting care because of [prior authorizations] will actually get the care they need and that's a negative—totally frustrating."

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