HCPLive

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.

Most Popular

Recommended Reading

Adhering to a Mediterranean diet may significantly reduce a woman's risk of endometrial cancer, according to a new study published in the May issue of the British Journal of Cancer.

Compared to healthy individuals, ADHD patients are 2 times more likely to die prematurely – and the risk is higher in women and girls.
Patients with fibromyalgia (FM) have a higher disease burden than those with chronic widespread pain (CWP), according to research published online May 16 in Pain Practice.

Measuring 2 qualities in about a minute can determine how easily patients will recover after major surgery, according to research in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
$vAR$