BALTIMORE, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, today released the findings of a membership
"Maryland physicians have increasingly voiced their concerns about the significant and potentially dangerous ways that health insurers are intruding in the doctor-patient relationship," said Gene Ransom, MedChi CEO. "Insurance practices such as requiring pre-approval for medical procedures and prescription medications, step therapy, and therapeutic substitution are intended to be cost control measures, but in reality they deny patients access to care and are tantamount to practicing medicine without a license."
Specific findings of the MedChi survey include:
The pre-approval process – when an insurer requires a doctor to obtain authorization from the insurance carrier before the carrier will agree to cover the cost of a procedure or medications – proved to be a particularly onerous burden for Maryland physicians. One busy surgical practice reported hiring two additional employees solely to deal with the administrative requirements of insurance companies, at a cost of $75,000 annually.
"Health insurer protocols not only delay treatment for individual patients, but they also cut into the time that a doctor has to spend with his or her patients – every hour that a doctor spends on administrative tasks is an hour not spent on patient care," explained MedChi President Murray Kalish, MD.
In response to the survey, MedChi today also announced that it will take the following actions to help address intrusive health insurance protocols:
In conjunction with the release of the survey results, MedChi CEO Gene Ransom sent a letter Maryland Insurance Commissioner Elizabeth Sammis requesting a formal review of the most egregious health insurer practices.
"As Maryland moves toward implementing the federal health bill, we ask that you please review pre-approval requirements, step therapy protocols and therapeutic switching policies to ensure ALL Maryland patients have timely access to the care they deserve – as directed by their doctors, not their insurance plans," Ransom said in the letter.
For the complete results of the survey, please visit: http://www.medchi.org/news-and-bulletins/surveys
MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, is a non-profit membership association of Maryland physicians. It speaks on behalf of over 22,000 licensed physicians in the state. Its mission is to serve as Maryland's foremost advocate and resource for physicians, their patients, and the public's health.
SOURCE MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society
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