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House Committee Advances Prior Authorization Legislation

On July 26, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced legislation — the Health Care Transparency Act (H.R.4822) — to reform prior authorization in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. The broader bill included the neurosurgery-backed Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3173 in the 117th Congress). Before consideration, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) joined the Regulatory Relief Coalition in sending a letter to committee leaders. If adopted, the bill would establish an electronic prior authorization program that requires MA plans to provide real-time approval of routinely approved services.

In applauding the committee for taking this action, AANS/CNS Washington Committee chair Russell R. Lonser, MD, FAANS, stated:

The rampant overuse of prior authorization continues to cause inappropriate delays and denials of medical treatments that our seniors need, and we appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Ways and Means Committee to advance reforms that enjoy broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Patients can ill afford to wait any longer for policymakers to hold Medicare Advantage plans accountable, and America’s neurosurgeons urge Congress to get this legislation across the finish line this year.

September E-News