175 + GI organizations pen letter opposing UnitedHealthcare's upcoming changes to prior authorization

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy gathered over 175 physician groups to cosign a letter to the UnitedHealthcare CEO opposing upcoming changes to prior authorization for GI endoscopy procedures, according to a May 16 press release from the organization. 

The controversial changes, which were first announced in March, are set to take place on June 1. 

Groups signing the letter include patient advocates, national and state medical societies, independent practices and academic institutions. 

"[The new policy] is flawed and misguided and will harm patients, limit access to care for vulnerable populations, delay diagnosis of colorectal cancer in younger populations and needlessly increase physician and practice burden. Nearly 1,500 patients and their physicians have sent letters to UHC expressing the harms, both immediate and long term, that the program will cause," the letter reads. "In addition to harming patients, the GI endoscopy prior authorization program will cause undue burden to practices at a time when UHC says it is attempting to ease physician burden." 

In a separate letter from the ASGE, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Gastroenterological Association, leaders requested that UHC reconsider and rescind the upcoming changes, which include requiring prior authorization for diagnostic and surveillance colonoscopies. 

In addition, the California Medical Association signed its own letter in opposition to the changes. 

"The new prior authorization requirements for these gastroenterology endoscopy services perpetuates UnitedHealthcare's pattern of adding unnecessary administrative burden and compliance cost to physician practices by imposing overly broad, indiscriminate and unsubstantiated utilization policies," the group wrote. 

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