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:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... Image ... business to a new market, and it’s the buildings of Nashville that will benefit. ... when I needed to relocate to Nashville, there was no question that I would ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... advocates will discuss how to improve care by making data on heart procedures ... disease. The Summit on Transparency and Public Reporting of Pediatric and Congenital Heart ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Plantation, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 ... ... CareTRAK™, an unparalleled clinical decision support technology, with highly adaptable algorithms, has ... cases. When a patient has signs and symptoms consistent with Zikas and a ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Life is known for ... men, 60 and older, who gather once a year to play softball to raise ... for the game, the more than 50 players who competed in this year’s softball ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... practice Village Family Practice , will be presenting at the 2016 HIMSS ... Las Vegas, Nev. , During his session, “ Coding for Care: Using ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG ), ... and other birth tissues, human skin and bone, and ... advanced products and therapies, announced today that it will ... Conference in New York , NY.  ... J. Senken , Chief Financial Officer and Chris ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016  AfterPill.com is reporting that this week,s ... for all women who are at risk of unintended ... year and raises the risks of unprotected sex in ... According to the Guttmacher Institute, there are 43 ... child-bearing age, who have sex without the intention of ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Wearable posture tracker, ALEX , has taken Kickstarter by storm, crowdfunding over $60,000 – or 120% ... ALEX is said to be delivered to backers starting May of this year. ... ... ... Created by NAMU, a team of biomedical engineers out ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: