HCPLive Network

Insurance Authorization Doesn't Lengthen Psychiatric Emergency Stay

THURSDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- For psychiatric patients, the requirement to obtain authorization from insurance companies prior to admission does not seem to add to the total time spent in emergency departments, according to a study published in the May issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Amy Funkenstein, MD, from Brown University, in Providence, RI, and colleagues examined whether the prior authorization requirement added to the overall length of a psychiatric patient's wait by tabulating the length of stay in the Cambridge Health Alliance psychiatric emergency department and amount of time spent obtaining authorization from the insurer. Data were collected for 53 patients who were mainly Caucasian and aged 7 to 68 years.

The researchers found that the average time from first contact with the insurance company to granting or denial of authorization was 38 minutes. Half of the authorization requests took less than 20 minutes to be approved, while 10 percent took an hour or more and one case took five hours. The median time spent in the emergency department was 8.5 hours.

"Our findings indicate that the need to obtain prior authorization does not add much time to the total time psychiatric patients spend in emergency departments," the authors write. "Furthermore, if the preauthorization process does help contain costs, it does so largely through a deterrent effect -- we call it 'rationing by hassle factor' -- given that in all but one case physician requests for authorization were granted."

Full Text

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Further Reading
A patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for the deadly virus.
Kevin Skole, MD is a board-certified gastroenterologist practicing in central New Jersey, part of the gastroenterology division of Princeton Healthcare Affiliated Physicians, a multi-specialty medical practice based out of the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (see www.princetonhcs.org). He discusses the increased incidence, risk factors, and prevention of Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) infection.
There is a wide variety of evidence to support benefits of low-fat diets versus low carbohydrate diets and vice versa. As of today, no one can tell us with certainty whether the well-worn dictum "calories in calories out" is really true. The National Weight Control Registry data give us some confidence in recommending that to lose weight most people need to alter their diet to reduce calories, and need to exercise on a near-daily basis.
Cannabis users who acknowledge their problem and report withdrawal symptoms are likely to increase abstinence over a 12-month period, according to research published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
Device therapy eligibility requirements are underestimated using 2D echocardiography compared to cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, according to a study from the Netherlands Heart Journal.
Omega-3 supplementation can help reduce behavioral issues in adolescents who may be particularly prone to oxytocin receptor gene methylation.
High doses of fish oil supplements won't prevent recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF), Canadian researchers report. The study, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec, was published in the Oct. 7 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
More Reading