Neurosurgeons praise bill that would streamline prior authorizations in Medicare Advantage

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The American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons are lauding a bill introduced in Congress that would streamline prior authorizations for Medicare Advantage patients.

The "Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act" would establish an electronic prior authorization process for Medicare Advantage plans, increase transparency around prior authorizations and give a pathway for CMS to institute real-time decisions for routinely approved services, according to a June 12 news release. The bill, with 42 original co-sponsors, will also clarify CMS' authority to establish timelines for electronic prior authorization requests and require reports on program integrity efforts.

Bill sponsors have made some changes with the legislation to align with CMS' final rule and reduce the Congressional Budget Office score, the news release said. 

"This is a pivotal moment for enhancing patients' access to care," Russel Lonser, MD, chair of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons Washington Committee. "The widespread overuse of prior authorization, especially in Medicare Advantage, has led to unacceptable delays and denials of essential medical treatments. We are optimistic that this will be the year Congress acts to safeguard timely care for our seniors."

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