(HealthDay News) — A majority of physicians surveyed said that prior authorization results in increased use of health care resources, and one-third said prior authorization led to a serious adverse event for a patient.
A total of 1001 practicing physicians responded to the survey, which was conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA).
Most physicians (86%) said prior authorization leads to higher use of health care resources, including ineffective initial treatments (64%), additional office visits (62%), and immediate care and/or visits to the emergency room (46%).
Most physicians (89%) said prior authorization had a negative impact on patient outcomes, and 33% of physicians reported that prior authorization led to a serious adverse event for a patient in their care, including hospitalization, permanent impairment, or death.
Most physicians (94%) reported that prior authorization delayed access to necessary care, and 80% said patients abandoned treatment due to authorization struggles with health insurers.
Most physicians (88%) said burdens associated with prior authorization were high or extremely high. On average, medical practices completed 45 prior authorizations per physician per week. This consumed the equivalent of almost 2 business days (14 hours) of physician and staff time. More than one-third of physicians (35%) said they employ staff members to work exclusively on tasks associated with prior authorization.
“Health plans continue to inappropriately impose bureaucratic prior authorization policies that conflict with evidence-based clinical practices, waste vital resources, jeopardize quality care, and harm patients,” Jack Resneck Jr, MD, president of the AMA, said in a statement. “The byzantine system of authorization controls is rife with opportunities for reform, and the AMA continues to work with federal and state officials on legislative solutions to reduce waste, improve efficiency, and protect patients from obstacles to medically necessary care.”