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:4/27/2017)... Neb. (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... was named the 2017 North American CAREGiverSM of the Year for her extraordinary ... selects one of its 60,000 North American professional caregivers for the prestigious award ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Are you investing in the safety of your friends and ... the summer. While most of us assume this type of accident will never happen ... people are taking the time to learn how to respond effectively or prevent these ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... Journal ... adults. It can have severe consequences to overall dental health, including complications with speech, ... often turn to dental implants to replace lost teeth. As the number of tooth ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... Elisabete Miranda, president and ... by Enterprising Women magazine as one of its 2017 Enterprising Women of the ... Winners have demonstrated that they have fast-growth businesses, mentor or actively support other ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... RawTrition now brings you BioEnergy ... get nutrients from SUPERFOODS! , RawTrition is taking nutrients to the next ... because the body recognizes its raw form (unlike the synthetically made options that are ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/19/2017)... YORK , April 19, 2017 ... This report on the prostate cancer therapeutics ... the global market. Increasing prevalence of prostate cancer, ... innovation in the development of new drugs & ... prostate cancer drug due to lesser side effects ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... PUNE, India , April 19, 2017 ... Type and Application, Forecast to 2022 report has covered and ... provides statistics and information on market size, shares and growth ... with major drivers, challenges and opportunities in the global market. ... Browse 152 Tables and ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 ... an immune response in pets such as canine, ... are of various types such as Attenuated Live ... Vaccines, DNA Vaccines and Recombinant Vaccines. Attenuated live ... virus or bacteria, which have been weakend under ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: