On Wednesday the House unanimously passed H.R. 3173, the Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act of 2021, a bill to modernize and improve the prior authorization process by establishing an electronic system allowing for "real time decisions" for routinely approved services and improves transparency at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A longtime priority of the GOP Doctors Caucus, the co-chairs Reps. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH,) Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD,) and Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) are all original co-sponsors of this bipartisan legislation spearheaded by a multi-year effort led by Rep. Larry Buschon, M.D. (R-IN) with Sen. Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS.)
Statement from the co-chairs:
"When patients need simple procedures such as screening services and tests like MRIs and CAT scans, they do not need red tape and hurdles. According to a recent American Medical Association survey, 93 percent of physicians report that the current prior authorization process causes delays in patient care and 83 percent said that the process leads patients to abandon their treatment altogether. For far too many, delayed care is denied care. The current system robs seniors by denying or delaying covered services and care. It causes more costs and burdens particularly since early intervention often saves patients' lives and prevents costly delays in treatment. We believe this bill will lead to cost savings and more importantly, patients' health and life spans will be vastly improved."
"We know how important it is that seniors receive the care they need in a timely fashion, and we are committed to removing Washington's red tape from the trusted relationships between patients and their providers."