Watson Coleman Secures Funding in Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill for Research on Insurance Prior Authorization

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Washington, May 8, 2019 | comments

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) secured funding in the fiscal year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill passed out of the House Appropriations Committee today to study the impact of prior authorization policies on patient health.

Prior authorization refers to the practice of insurance companies requiring patients to get certain treatments, tests and procedures approved, by the company, prior to proceeding with the recommendations of the medical professional providing care. The language from Watson Coleman provides at least $500,000 for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to fund research that examines the impact of these policies on patients’ health.

“The Committee is concerned about the potential adverse impacts the prior authorization process has on patient health,” the report reads. “The Committee includes no less than $500,000 for research that examines whether and to what extent delays in treatment due to prior authorization negatively impact patient outcomes.”

“We need to understand what’s happening here — whether these policies are harming patients at rates that outweigh any positive impact they might have, whether or not we could save more lives, or achieve better outcomes if fewer patients had to endure the prior authorization process,” said Watson Coleman. “When I read about people dying while awaiting approval from their insurance provider for a scan, it raises tremendous concerns about that process. This funding will help us get to the bottom of this.”

A summary of the fiscal year 2020 LHHS bill is here. The text of the bill is here. The bill report is here.

 

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