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Womack Cosponsored Bill Strengthening Healthcare Access Passes House

Washington, DC—September 14, 2022....Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) today announced the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2022—legislation he cosponsored—unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan bill improves timely access to quality care for seniors under Medicare Advantage by standardizing and reforming burdensome processes to help prevent unnecessary delays and denials.

Congressman Womack said, “This bipartisan bill modernizes processes to help ensure our health system is duly focused on meeting patient needs. Its goal is simple: allowing more time for treatment instead of unnecessary paperwork. I’ve talked directly to Arkansas patients and physicians on this issue. Reforming the burdensome prior authorization procedures will allow better stewardship of time and resources, providing our seniors with improved care and access.” 

The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2022 marks a notable step forward for our health system. Bill provisions improving  the prior authorization system include:

  • Establishing an electronic prior authorization program;
  • Standardizing and streamlining the prior authorization process for routinely approved services;
  • Reducing the amount of time a health plan is allowed to consider a prior authorization request;
  • Ensuring prior authorization requests are reviewed by qualified medical personnel; and
  • Increasing transparency around MA prior authorization requirements and their use.

Nearly all Medicare Advantage (MA) plans require physicians and other health care providers to obtain prior authorization for certain services. A recent survey of physicians by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that 93% report that prior authorizations cause care delays, and 83% said the process leads patients to abandon treatments altogether. This legislation, which is supported by multiple Arkansas organizations, removes barriers to care by improving the efficiency and transparency of prior authorization in MA.

It will now go to the Senate for consideration.

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

womack.house.gov

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