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75% of physicians find prior authorizations burdensome: 6 things to know

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A new survey from the American Medical Association shows the burden of seeking prior authorization.

Around 1,000 physicians responded to the survey in December 2016.

Here are six things to know:

1. The average physician extends 37 prior authorization requests per week.

2. Twenty-three percent of the respondents said their staff completed more than 40 prior authorizations per week; 14 percent completed five or fewer requests.

3. Most physicians — 75 percent — said the requests were a "high" or "extremely high" burden on their practices.

4. Twenty-two percent of the respondents said they or their staff spent more than 20 hours per week completing prior authorization requests. The average time spent on prior authorization requirements to get patients medicines, medical services or procedures was 16.4 hours.

5. The wait time for responses to prior authorization is:

• Less than one hour: 7 percent
• A few hours: 15 percent
• More than a few hours, less than one business day: 11 percent
• One to two business days: 33 percent
• Three to five business days: 20 percent
• More than five business days: 6 percent
• Don't know: 7 percent

6. A majority — 90 percent — of the respondents reported the prior authorization process delayed necessary care for patients.

A coalition of organizations, including the AMA, issued a set of 21 principles designed to reshape the prior authorization process.

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