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SHM Joins Multi-Stakeholder Letter Supporting the Improving Seniors Timely Access to Care Act

September 09, 2019

SHM's Policy Efforts

SHM supports legislation that affects hospital medicine and general healthcare, advocating for hospitalists and the patients they serve.

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Dear Members of Congress:

The undersigned patient, physician, health care professional, and other health care stakeholder organizations strongly support the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019 (H.R. 3107) recently introduced by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Roger Marshall, MD (R-KS), and Ami Bera, MD (D-CA). This bipartisan legislation would help protect patients from unnecessary delays in care by streamlining and standardizing prior authorization under the Medicare Advantage program, providing much-needed oversight and transparency of health insurance for America’s seniors. We urge you to join your colleagues in supporting this important legislation.

Based on a consensus statement on prior authorization reform adopted by leading national organizations representing physicians, medical groups, hospitals, pharmacists, and health plans, the legislation would facilitate electronic prior authorization, improve transparency for beneficiaries and providers alike, and increase Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) oversight on how Medicare Advantage plans use prior authorization. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Create an electronic prior authorization program including the electronic transmission of prior authorization requests and responses and a real-time process for items and services that are routinely approved;
  • Improve transparency by requiring plans to report to CMS on the extent of their use of prior authorization and the rate of approvals or denials;
  • Require plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs that are reviewed annually, adhere to evidence-based medical guidelines, and include continuity of care for individuals transitioning between coverage policies to minimize any disruption in care;
  • Hold plans accountable for making timely prior authorization determinations and to provide rationales for denials; and
  • Prohibit additional prior authorization for medically-necessary services performed during a surgical or invasive procedure that already received, or did not initially require, prior authorization.

The demand and need for such reforms is growing — particularly as more seniors choose Medicare Advantage for their health insurance needs. According to a recently released Kaiser Family Foundation report, “A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage in 2019,” Medicare Advantage enrollment has nearly doubled in a decade. One-third (34%) of all Medicare beneficiaries — 22 million people — are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, and nearly four out of five enrollees (79%) are in plans that require prior authorization for some services. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will rise to nearly half of all Medicare beneficiaries (about 47%) by 2029. Recognizing the need to protect a growing number of Medicare beneficiaries, more than 100 members of Congress called for such reforms in a letter last year to the CMS.

For our seniors — and as representatives of organizations seeking to protect patients from delays in care and relieve unnecessary administrative burdens that impede delivery of timely care—we are committed to advancing this legislation in Congress and ask that you join Representatives DelBene, Kelly, Marshall, and Bera in co-sponsoring H.R. 3107 and securing its enactment.

Thank you.


Aimed Alliance
Alliance for Aging Research
Alliance for Balanced Pain Management
Alliance for Patient Access
Alliance of Specialty Medicine
Alzheimer's Association
Alzheimer's Impact Movement
AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
American Academy of Dermatology Association
American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
American Academy of PAs
American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
American Association of Clinical Urologists
American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Association of Nurse Practitioners
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
American Association on Health and Disability
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
American Brain Coalition
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Clinical Laboratory Association
American Clinical Neurophysiology Society
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
American College of Cardiology
American College of Emergency Physicians
American College of Gastroenterology
American College of Mohs Surgery
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Osteopathic Surgeons
American College of Physicians
American College of Radiation Oncology
American College of Radiology
American College of Rheumatology
American College of Surgeons
American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
American Dance Therapy Association
American Gastroenterological Association
American Geriatrics Society
American Glaucoma Society
American Group Psychotherapy Association
American Liver Foundation
American Medical Association
American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association
American Medical Women’s Association
American Music Therapy Association
American Nurses Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology
American Physical Therapy Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychoanalytic Association
American Society for Clinical Pathology
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
American Society for Radiation Oncology
American Society for Radiology and Oncology
American Society for Surgery of the Hand
American Society of Anesthesiologists
American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery
American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Society of Echocardiography
American Society of Hematology
American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians
American Society of Nephrology
American Society of Neuroimaging
American Society of Neuroradiology
American Society of Nuclear Cardiology
American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Society of Retina Specialists
American Society of Transplant Surgeons
American Spinal Injury Association
American Urological Association
American Uveitis Society
American Vein & Lymphatic Society
American-European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery
America's Physician Groups
Arthritis Foundation
Association for Molecular Pathology
Association of Academic Physiatrists
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Black Cardiologists
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology
Beyond Type 1
Brain Injury Association of America
Bridge the Gap - SYNGAP Education and Research Foundation
Cancer Support Community
Caregiver Action Network
Child Neurology Foundation
Children with Diabetes
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Clinician Task Force
CMSC- Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers
Coalition For Headache And Migraine Patients
College Diabetes Network
College of American Pathologists
Community Oncology Alliance
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Cornea Society
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
Delaware Academy of Ophthalmology
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Derma Care Access Network
Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition
Digestive Disease National Coalition
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
Dystonia Advocacy Network
Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
Epilepsy Foundation
Eye and Contact Lens Association
Eye Bank Association of America
Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019
September 9, 2019
Page 2 of 10
Federation of American Hospitals
GBS|CIDP Foundation International
Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice
Global Healthy Living Foundation
Global Liver Institute
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association
IFAA - International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis
International Essential Tremor Foundation
International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders
International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery
Interstitial Cystitis Association
Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.
Medical Group Management Association
Movement Disorders Policy Coalition
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
National Alopecia Areata Foundation
National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics
National Association of Rural Health Clinics
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of Spine Specialists
National Association of State Head Injury Administrators
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
National Comprehensive Cancer Network
National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council
National Health Council
National Infusion Center Association
National Lipid Association
National Medical Association, Ophthalmology Section
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Osteoporosis Foundation
National Pancreas Foundation
National Patient Advocate Foundation
NephCure Kidney International
North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society
Ocular Microbiology and Immunology Group
Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society
Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health
Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
Partnership to Improve Patient Care
Prevent Blindness
Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Remote Cardiac Services Provider Group
Renal Physicians Association
Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation
Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
Society for Vascular Surgery
Society of Critical Care Medicine
Society of Gynecologic Oncology
Society of Hospital Medicine
Spine Intervention Society
The Headache and Migraine Policy Forum
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Marfan Foundation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
The Retina Society
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Tourette Association of America
Treatment Communities of America
Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation
United Spinal Association
US Hereditary Angioedema Association
Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology
Alabama Society for the Rheumatic Diseases
Lakeshore Foundation
Medical Association of the State of Alabama
Neurosurgical Society of Alabama
Alaska Rheumatology Alliance
Alaska Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Denali Oncology Group Alaska Chapter ASCO
Arizona Medical Association
Arizona Neurosurgical Society
Arizona United Rheumatology Alliance
The Arizona Clinical Oncology Society
Arkansas Medical Society
Arkansas Ophthalmological Society
Arkansas Rheumatology Association
Association of Northern California Oncologists
California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
California Association of Neurological Surgeons
California Medical Association
California Rheumatology Alliance
Medical Oncology Association of Southern California, Inc.
Cedars/Aspens, non-profit society of ophthalmic surgeon educators
Colorado Medical Society
Colorado Neurosurgical Society
Colorado Rheumatology Association
Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Connecticut Rheumatology Association
Connecticut Society of Eye Physicians
Connecticut State Medical Society
Delaware Society for Clinical Oncology
Delaware State Neurosurgical Society
Medical Society of Delaware
Medical Society of the District of Columbia
Florida Medical Association
Florida Neurosurgical Society
Florida Society of Clinical Oncology
Florida Society of Ophthalmology
Florida Society of Rheumatology
Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology
Georgia Society of Rheumatology
Medical Association of Georgia
Hawaii Medical Association
Hawaii Society of Clinical Oncology
Association of Idaho Rheumatologists
Idaho Medical Association
Idaho Society of Ophthalmology
Illinois Medical Oncology Society
Illinois Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons
Illinois State Medical Society
Illinois State Neurosurgical Society
Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology
Indiana Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Indiana Oncology Society
Iowa Medical Society
Iowa Oncology Society
Midwest Neurosurgical Society
Kansas Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Kansas Hospital Association
Kansas Medical Society
LeadingAge Kansas
Midwest Rheumatology Association
Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Kentucky Association of Medical Oncology
Kentucky Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Kentucky Medical Association
Louisiana Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Louisiana Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Louisiana Neurosurgical Society
Louisiana State Medical Society
Rheumatology Alliance of Louisiana
Maine Medical Association
Maine Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Maryland Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Maryland DC Society of Clinical Oncology
Maryland Society for the Rheumatic Diseases
Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society
Massachusetts Society of Clinical Oncologists
Massachusetts Medical Society
Michigan Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Michigan Society of Hematology & Oncology
Michigan State Medical Society
Minnesota Medical Association
Minnesota Neurosurgical Society
Mississippi Arthritis and Rheumatism Society
Mississippi Oncology Society
Mississippi State Medical Association
Missouri Oncology Society
Missouri Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons
Missouri State Medical Association
Montana Medical Association
Montana Neurosurgical Society
Montana State Oncology Society
Nebraska Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Nebraska Medical Association
Nebraska Rheumatology Society
Nevada State Medical Association
Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society
New Hampshire Medical Society
Medical Oncology Society of New Jersey
Medical Society of New Jersey
New Jersey Academy of Ophthalmology
New Jersey Neurosurgical Society
New Mexico Medical Society
Empire State Hematology & Oncology Society
Medical Society of the State of New York
New York State Neurosurgical Society
New York State Ophthalmological Society
New York State Rheumatology Society
North Carolina Medical Society
North Carolina Rheumatology Association
North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons
North Dakota Medical Association
North Dakota Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Ohio Association of Rheumatology
Ohio Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Ohio Hematology Oncology Society
Ohio Ophthalmological Society
Ohio State Medical Association
Ohio State Neurosurgical Society
Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology
Oklahoma Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Oklahoma Neurosurgical Society
Oklahoma State Medical Association
Oregon Academy of Ophthalmology
Oregon Medical Association
Oregon Rheumatology Alliance
Oregon Society of Medical Oncology
Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology
Pennsylvania Medical Society
Pennsylvania Neurosurgical Association
Pennsylvania Rheumatology Society
Philadelphia Rheumatism Society
Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Society
Pennsylvania Society of Oncology & Hematology
The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico's Hematology and Medical Oncology Association
Rhode Island Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Rhode Island Medical Society
Rhode Island Neurosurgical Society
Rhode Island Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
South Carolina Medical Association
South Carolina Oncology Society
South Carolina Rheumatism Society
South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology
South Dakota Academy of Ophthalmology
South Dakota State Medical Association
Tennessee Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Tennessee Medical Association
Tennessee Rheumatology Society
State of Texas Association of Rheumatologists
Texas Medical Association
Texas Ophthalmological Association
Society of Utah Medical Oncologists
Utah Medical Association
Utah Ophthalmology Society
Vermont Medical Society
Medical Society of Virginia
Virginia Association of Hematologist & Oncologist
Virginia Chapter, American College of Cardiology
Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Neurosurgical Society of the Virginias
Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Washington Rheumatology Alliance
Washington State Medical Association
Washington State Medical Oncology Society
West Virginia Academy of Eye Physicians & Surgeons
West Virginia State Medical Association
West Virginia State Rheumatology Society
Wisconsin Academy of Ophthalmology
Wisconsin Association of Hematology & Oncology
Wisconsin Medical Society
Wisconsin Rheumatology Association
Wisconsin State Neurosurgical Society
Wyoming County Community Health System
Wyoming Medical Society
Wyoming Ophthalmological Society