Kansas lawmakers weighing prior authorization reforms

Kansas lawmakers are considering legislation backed by the Kansas Hospital Association that would reform the prior authorization process.

Kansas Hospital Association President and CEO Chad Austin said the legislation will "modernize an outdated process," streamline timelines for prior authorization approvals and create transparency on how often denials are occurring.  

In a March 20 testimony before the House Insurance Committee, Mr. Austin said a survey conducted by his organization found that 43 percent of respondents suggested the prior authorization process has resulted in delays to medically needed care. 

Mr. Austin said Kansas hospitals believe the proposed legislation "is a way to ensure that the health care services that need prior authorization can still have those, but making it a more modern and efficient system for our healthcare system and for the patients that we serve."

Among the opponents of the legislation is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. Sunee Mickle, vice president of government affairs and community relations, said at the hearing that the bill is "cut and pasted from another state and is thus poorly matched with existing Kansas laws."   

"In short, the bill is unnecessary in some instances, duplicative in others, contrary to existing law in some instances, expansive of state power over private employers — and none of this is coordinated or reconciled within the bill," Ms. Mickle said. 

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