Navigation Links
1 million hours of psychiatrist time wasted yearly on phone approval for hospitalization
Date:4/23/2013

A study published today [Tuesday, April 23] in Annals of Emergency Medicine reports lengthy waits for severely ill psychiatric patients in need of immediate hospitalization in the Boston area, due in part to time-consuming prior authorizations required by insurance companies.

Psychiatrists spent, on average, 38 minutes on the telephone getting authorization. In 10 percent of cases it took more than one hour to obtain insurance authorization; in one case authorization took five hours of psychiatrist time.

Mental health disorders are common, affecting nearly 1 in 4 adults annually, less than a third of whom receive psychiatric care. Better access to care might reduce the harms mental illness imposes on the mentally ill, their families and communities.

For the present study, over a three-month period, researchers tabulated how long psychiatric patients who were deemed in need of inpatient admission stayed in the emergency department (ED) prior to being hospitalized, and the amount of time that the ED psychiatrists spent obtaining authorization from the patient's insurer. A group of 11 psychiatric residents at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) working in the psychiatric ED with acutely ill psychiatric patients collected the data.

Most patients required hospitalization because they were suicidal or, in a few cases, homicidal.

Although obtaining insurance authorization delayed care and took clinicians away from other duties, only 1 of the 53 requests for authorization was denied. Median total time in the ED was 8.5 hours, with the shortest stay lasting 3 hours and the longest recorded stay lasting 20 hours.

These numbers don't include a handful of patients who boarded in the ED over the weekend while waiting for an inpatient bed to become available for them. They exclude uninsured patients and those with Medicare, which doesn't require prior authorization.

With approximately 1.6 million psychiatric admissions among people with private insurance nationwide each year, 38 minutes of phone time to obtain authorization translates into about 1 million hours of wasted psychiatrist time.

Lead author Dr. Amy Funkenstein, a child psychiatry fellow at Brown University, led the study while she was a psychiatric resident at CHA and Harvard Medical School. She said: "Society pays for inadequate psychiatric care; more than half of all prison inmates and a third of all homeless people are mentally ill. Massachusetts is considered a model for health reform, yet we found that seriously ill patients routinely spent hours stranded in the ED due to insurance bureaucracy. The hours psychiatrists spend obtaining those authorizations could be far better spent treating our patients."

Senior author Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, attending psychiatrist at CHA and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, commented: "Private insurers are obstructing care by requiring authorizations before a qualified psychiatrist can hospitalize a dangerously ill patient. With doctors, nurses and emergency departments already overburdened, adding a time consuming bureaucratic task that doesn't help patients is unconscionable.

"Insurers hope that clinicians will be so hassled by authorization procedures that they won't seek admission for their patients, saving insurance companies money," he said. "Placing profits ahead of the health of patients when mental illness makes them vulnerable is immoral. A single-payer Medicare-for-all health care system would represent a great leap forward for patients and providers alike."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Almberg
mark@pnhp.org
312-782-6006
Physicians for a National Health Program
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
2. Scientist awarded $1 million grant to develop tools for hepatitis C treatment discovery
3. David H. Koch donates $10 million to Mount Sinais Jaffe Food Allergy Institute
4. $9 million grant awarded to UH to study, treat learning disabilities
5. New report shows 15 million babies born too soon every year
6. Southeast program to fight diabetes awarded nearly $10 million by HHS
7. OHSU study: Misdiagnosis of MS is costing health system millions per year
8. Enzyme corrects more than 1 million faults in DNA replication
9. 53 million Americans might have diabetes by 2025, according to a new study in Population Health Management
10. Asthma Cases Continue to Rise in U.S., Affecting Millions
11. UC San Diego Superfund Research Program receives $15 million grant renewal
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... This campaign aims to provide a path to improved education ... control and change. , As nearly 795,000 Americans suffering from a new or recurrent ... Plus, with an estimated 129,000 of these people dying from stroke, it’s become our ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... Mediaplanet to help educate the many who are unaware of the plight of ... aphasia will run within the “Stroke Awareness” campaign. , The link between stroke ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... Aimed at nurses and employees in ... courtesy of leaders in the nursing and health care industry. It also provides ... and associations—namely Jones & Bartlett Learning. , Jones & Bartlett Learning is adding ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Each year Standard ... Allison Outerbridge is this year’s Life University winner of a $2,500 ... university’s Student Leadership Awards ceremony. , Outerbridge is approaching her last quarter at ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... , ... Despite last week’s media reports hinting at a June rate hike ... March 2017 for an interest rate increase, according to Rajeev Dhawan of the Economic ... Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) dot charts are of interest to the press for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc. ... Regenerative Medicine, Neurology and Orphan Diseases, today announced that President & ... upcoming investor conferences: SeeThru Equity MicroCap Conference   ... New York City , NY When: Tuesday, May ... Conference   Where: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 109 East 42 ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... May 26, 2016   Change Healthcare ... analytics, network solutions and technology-enabled services designed ... entered into a strategic channel partnership with ... software solutions and revenue cycle management services ... and rehabilitation clinics to optimize revenue, operational ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... and GERMANTOWN, Maryland , May 25, 2016 ... ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced that the company ... Diagnostics GmbH to develop and commercialize predictive assays in oncology. ... as a marker to predict effectiveness of anthracycline treatment in ... "We are pleased to partner with Therawis, which developed the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: