Prior authorization rules delay lifesaving cancer treatments, physician survey finds

Prior authorization requirements negatively affect cancer patient outcomes and present challenges for radiation oncologists, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 2018 member survey.

The recently released survey of nearly 700 radiation oncologists found that nearly all respondents (93 percent) said their patients are delayed from lifesaving treatments due to prior authorization requirements, and 31 percent said the average length of treatment delay is longer than five days.

The society said these delays are concerning given research that shows a link between each week of delay in starting cancer therapy and increased risk of death.

Five other survey findings:

1. Seventy-three percent of respondents said their patients regularly express worry to them about delays due to prior authorization.

2. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they had to use a different therapy due to prior authorization delays for more than 10 percent of cases.

3. Sixty-two percent of respondents said most denials they receive from prior authorization review are overturned on appeal.

4. Eighteen percent of respondents said they give up more than 10 percent of time dealing with prior authorization issues, time they could spend caring for their patients.

5. Patients treated at community-based, private practices experience longer average length of treatment delays compared to those seen at academic centers, according to the survey. Thirty-four percent of private practitioners reported average treatment delays lasting five or more days, compared to 28 percent of academic physicians.

Access the full survey findings here.


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