The Frustration of Prior Authorization and What It Means For Burnout

Most medical students understand that a good chuck of their day as practicing physicians will involve clicking through electronic health records and completing paperwork. But I do not think it is ever made clear how often we will interact with insurance companies. Of course, this will vary by specialty, but everyone entering medical practice should have a basic understanding of prior authorization.

I recently saw an Instagram post from Dr. Austin Chaing about the frustrations of prior authorization — a process wherein medical care will only be paid for if it has been pre-approved by the insurance company. There are a number of reasons insurance companies require preauthorization, including age, medical necessity, and availability of a generic. If a prior authorization is denied, a healthcare provider may file an appeal based on their assessment of the patient and the recommended treatment or medication.

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