AHA president: 50% of hospitals awaiting insurance payments 6 months later

Many health insurance policies are a burden to patients and strain hospitals' finances and burden physician time, Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, wrote in a commentary piece for U.S. News & World Report.

Hospitals and systems are reporting increasing care access barriers due to prior authorization delays, fail first policies, restricting care coverage and more. More than 80 percent of physicians told the AHA that insurance policies affect their ability to practice medicine, and more than half of nurses reported drops in job satisfaction due to the administrative burden of insurers.

Here are five other statistics the AHA cited:

  1. Research by Morning Consult on behalf of the AHA found 62 percent of patients said treatment was delayed because of insurance providers. 

  1. Meanwhile, physicians and staff report spending an average of 14 business hours each week completing prior authorizations.

  1. Ninety-five percent of hospitals reported staff time on prior authorizations and denial appeals have increased.

  2. Half of hospitals said they have not been paid for claims totaling $100 million or more for more than six months.

  3. About 70 percent of hospitals report dealing with outstanding claims from 2016 or earlier.

"Patients deserve access to the care they need when they need it," Mr. Pollack wrote. "Clinicians should be able to focus their time on providing that care instead of going through costly bureaucratic hurdles and spending too much time on unnecessary paperwork. And insurance should be a facilitator — not a detractor — to accessing necessary healthcare services."

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