MGMA: Large majority of groups surveyed report increase in prior authorization requirements since 2020

A whopping 81% of medical groups report an increase in prior authorization requirements this year as the practice gets targeted by Congress, a new survey finds.

The Medical Group Management Association released a new survey Wednesday that showed the impact of prior authorization requirements since last year.

“In addition to the sharp rise in prior authorization demands, practices report increased denials, delayed approvals for care, and constantly changing rules,” said Anders Gilberg, MGMA’s senior vice president of government affairs, in a statement Wednesday.

The poll of 716 respondents conducted May 18 showed 17% had their prior authorization requirements stay the same, and 2% reported a decrease.

MGMA also said some healthcare leaders that reported an increase in requirements have added a full-time position to handle the load. Some of the reasons for hiring a full-time person include an increase in claim denials and requirements for peer-to-peer reviews and slow responses for approval from payers.

The survey comes amid new attention from Congress on the issue of prior authorization, a major source of administrative burden from providers.

House lawmakers reintroduced last week the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act that would require Medicare Advantage plans to adopt electronic prior authorization and includes several other reforms aimed at speeding up and streamlining the process.

Lawmakers behind the legislation, which was reintroduced last Congress but sidelined due to the pandemic, said during a briefing Thursday that they expect a wide swath of bipartisan support. They are hoping to move quickly to pass the legislation out of the House, and a Senate companion bill is also expected.