Panelists: CMS Prior Authorization Rule Should Help, But More Is Needed

The rule that CMS finalized last month regarding prior authorization (PA) should help streamline the increasingly scrutinized process and lead to faster decisions, according to panelists who spoke during a KFF webinar on Feb. 22. However, they noted that regulation did not apply to employer-sponsored plans or state-based exchange plans and did not address how PA decisions are made and the clinical criteria plans use in determining which procedures are subject to PA.

Troyen Brennan, M.D., former chief medical officer at CVS Health Corp. and Aetna, noted that the rule did not include prescription medications, which are often subject to PA — a process that draws the ire of providers who worry that delays could worsen patient outcomes. The CMS Interoperability and Prior Authorization Final Rule also required insurers to have a PA application programming interface (API), where providers can access information, although the regulation did not require them to disclose PA data on medications.

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Tim Casey

Tim Casey

Tim has been a reporter and editor for newspapers, websites and magazines for more than 20 years, including 10 years covering health care business topics. He has a deep knowledge of the managed care industry and pharmacy benefit management. He also has experience covering medical conferences and clinical and legislative health care issues. In 2014, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing selected Tim as one of 15 journalists to participate in a national symposium on the Affordable Care Act. Tim has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.

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