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Texas legislation eases prior auth burdens, however payers see it as a harmful transfer – MedCity News


A Texas law, which eliminates prior authorizations in sure instances, has acquired a blended welcome within the state’s healthcare neighborhood. While suppliers are heralding the first-of-its-kind legislation as a long-overdue measure to scale back administrative burdens and enhance entry to care, payers are warning of the potential person in care hurt that might keep track of.

Set to take impact on Sept. 1, the legislation prohibits well being insurers from requiring pre-approval for providers if a supplier earns “gold card” status. A supplier can earn the standing if they’ve a 90% prior authorization approval price. Health plans that require prior authorization should consider whether or not a supplier qualifies for the gold card exemption as soon as each six months.

“A physician or provider is not required to request an exemption,” stated Alicia Phillips Pierce, communications director on the Texas Association of Health Plans, in an e-mail. “If prior authorization is requested when an exemption applies, the health plan must promptly provide a notice of the exemption and payment requirements.”

To rescind the gold card standing, the insurer should overview a random pattern of 5 to 20 claims submitted by the supplier throughout the newest analysis interval and discover that the approval price was lower than 90%, Phillips Pierce stated. Payers can revoke the exemption solely in January or June of any given yr.

The legislation doesn’t apply to all well being plans, solely to people who fall under state jurisdiction however aren’t funded by the state. These embrace state-regulated industrial HMO plans, most well-liked supplier profit plans and unique supplier profit plans. Medicaid plans aren’t topic to the legislation.

For suppliers, the legislation gives much-needed aid from back-office burdens.

“I spend 15 hours on the phone every week managing prior authorization, and that’s time that I can’t take care of patients,” stated Dr. Debra Patt, an Austin-based most cancers specialist and instant previous chair of the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Legislation, in a cellphone interview. “We’ve tripled our staffing to manage prior authorization.”

Then there may be the concern of delaying person in care care. Patients usually have to attend for insurer approval to return by earlier than they’ll start their therapy.

“When I need to provide urgent chemotherapy, I can’t get it authorized in time for patients,” Patt stated. “And that can be the difference between life and death.”

Patt believes that the brand new legislation will assist get sufferers the care they want rapidly. But payers maintain the diametrically reverse view.

Pre-authorization is a vital device to guard sufferers from overtreatment and inappropriate or harmful care, Texas Association of Health Plans’ Phillips Pierce stated.

“Health plans are often the only ones with a 360-degree view of a patient’s treatment, and safety edits can help stop dangerous interactions for care or prescriptions supplied by multiple providers,” she stated.

The different criticism in regards to the legislation from payers pertains to the truth that this observe of gold carding is already occurring, and suppliers and payers are already working collectively to enhance the prior authorization course of.

“Gold carding programs may be targeted to specific services, and where used, provider performance can be regularly reviewed to ensure consistently high-quality care and patient safety,” stated Kristine Grow, senior vice chairman of communications at America’s Health Insurance Plans, a nationwide payer affiliation. “[But the new law] distorts this concept by mandating broad provider exemptions with no accountability from providers.”

To Texas Medical Association’s Patt, these fears are unfounded. Providers should observe in accordance with guidelines set forth by state medical boards. If they’re discovered to be training inappropriately, they are going to be sanctioned by the board, she stated.

Meanwhile, the gold carding legislation set to enter impact in simply over a month simply scratches the floor of the reforms wanted within the healthcare business.

Similar insurance policies have to be enacted on the federal stage to forestall the prior authorization course of from proscribing care, Patt stated.

Photo: Piotrekswat, Getty Images





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