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Barriers to Health Care, Prescription Choice Hurt Patients, Leading Doctor Says
Date:4/28/2009

WASHINGTON, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A major barrier to health care is unauthorized prescription drug switching, said Dr. Richard Allen Williams, a leading author and founder of the Minority Health Institute.

In his keynote address to the National Minority Quality Forum in Washington Monday, Williams said the U.S. would be better served if physicians had more say to make decisions based on patient's needs without artificial barriers set by outside parties.

The National Minority Quality Forum, a leader in tackling the issue of health disparities, hosted its Sixth Annual Health Disparities Leadership Summit April 27-28 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington.

Gary A. Puckrein, PhD, President and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum (formerly the National Minority Health Month Foundation), founded the organization in 1998 to address the critical need for strengthening national and local efforts to use evidence-based, data-driven initiatives to guide programs to eliminate the disproportionate burden of premature death and preventable illness for racial and ethnic minorities.

Speaking at the event, Williams noted that a survey by the Medical Society of the State of New York shows that more than 90 percent of physicians indicated they had to change patient treatment (or medication) based on restrictions from insurance companies.

Williams said restrictions should be eased so doctors, for example, have more flexibility in ordering diagnostic tests instead of requiring prior authorization; develop formularies based on appropriate clinical evidence; and protection of patients from formulary changes.

Doctors are finding it more difficult to care for patients because of restrictions placed on their decision-making ability. For example, every day physicians have their authority and expertise questioned by insurance companies through "switching" - when an insuran
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SOURCE National Minority Quality Forum
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