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June 16, 2021

Rep. Kirkpatrick Joins Bill to Streamline Medicare Advantage for Seniors

(Tucson, AZ) – Rep. Kirkpatrick joined her colleagues in cosponsoring the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2021, which will streamline the prior authorization process and improve access to Medicare Advantage health care.

The bipartisan legislation will increase the efficiency and transparency of the prior authorization process for Medicare Advantage patients, allowing them to receive care in a shorter time frame.

The lawmakers highlight how the current prior authorization process can delay health care access for Medicare Advantage patients: “Health insurers, including many MA plans, require providers to obtain prior authorization for certain medical treatments or tests before they can provide care to their patients. Prior authorization can play a role in ensuring people receive clinically appropriate treatments and help control the cost of care. However, when misused, prior authorization can result in administrative burdens for providers, taking precious time away from patient care and delaying needed medical intervention.”

Subsequently, the lawmakers describe how the bill will support seniors seeking medical care, “The bill would (1) establish an electronic prior authorization process, (2) require HHS to establish a process for “real-time decisions” for items and services that are routinely approved, (3), improve transparency by requiring MA plans to report to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the extent of their use of prior authorization and the rate of approvals or denials, and (4) encourage plans to adopt prior authorization programs that adhere to evidence-based medical guidelines in consultation with physicians.”

Rep. Kirkpatrick added, “When a bill passes my desk that will improve health care access for seniors, it’s an easy thing to support. I’ve always said that my goal is to ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable, and timely health care. This legislation is a meaningful step towards achieving that goal.”

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