Prior authorization kits may improve treatment access for minorities

The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) has issued prior authorization resource kits to healthcare providers in an effort to eliminate one of the barriers to care commonly faced by minority patients.

Specifically, the kits provide prior authorization information for PCSK9 inhibitors to treat lipid disorders, direct oral anticoagulants for stroke prevention and angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitors for heart failure treatment. Those three categories of drugs were commonly pinpointed as being “always” or “often” denied by insurance companies in surveys of providers conducted by the American College of Cardiology.

"The practice of medicine is an art, as well as a science," Keith Ferdinand, MD, the chair of the ABC Access to Care Initiative and a professor of medicine at Tulane University, said in a press release. "Nevertheless, despite advances in evidence-based medications and devices, these new therapies are not applied equally to all, especially considering barriers to access and an often difficult to navigate pre-authorization process."

According to an ABC white paper, more than 90 percent of physicians report delays to necessary care as a result of prior authorization (PA) requirements, and about 75 percent report that PA has led to patients abandoning treatment. In addition, physicians said they or staff members spent nearly 15 hours per week on PA workload.

"This is particularly important in helping the dedicated providers who treat high-risk patients in underserved communities," Ferdinand said. "The sacred provider-patient relationship is increasingly hampered by the 'third person in the room.' And the uniqueness of the ABC Resource Kit will help providers and practices with limited resources to overcome specific barriers to care and to treatment."

Black patients have disproportionately high rates of heart disease and stroke. Access to the highest-quality care and the newest, most effective therapies is believed to be one contributor to this phenomenon.