AMA 'cautiously optimistic' as UnitedHealthcare details prior authorization cuts

The American Medical Association said it appreciates UnitedHealthcare's efforts to reduce the "overwhelming volume of prior authorization requirements" after the payer released details about its previously announced plan to reduce prior authorizations by nearly 20 percent. 

UnitedHealthcare on Aug. 1 said it will reduce prior authorization requirements in two waves — on Sept. 1 and Nov. 1 — and posted a list of the codes it will be eliminating from the requirements. 

"As we evaluate the real impact of these changes, we remain cautiously optimistic that patients and physicians will begin to feel some relief from the prior authorization burden under UHC plans," AMA Immediate Past President Jack Resneck Jr., MD, said in a statement shared with Becker's. 

Dr. Resneck said the payer's actions "appear to be a step in the right direction and in line with components of the consensus statement to improve the prior authorization process which was agreed to by health insurers in 2018." 

"In line with the consensus statement, we will be looking for further reductions in prior authorization volume, as well as other critical steps, including protections for patient continuity of care, gold-carding programs for physicians, and improved transparency and automation," he said. 

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