MSSNY and New York State Ophthalmological Society Applaud Aetna Decision to Suspend Preauthorization for Cataract Surgery

 

For Immediate Release 
July 1, 2022

 

MSSNY and New York State Ophthalmological Society Applaud Aetna Decision to Suspend Preauthorization for Cataract Surgery

 

July 1, 2022, Westbury, NY—The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) and the New York State Ophthalmological Society (NYSOS) applaud the announcement from Aetna that it will rescind its preauthorization requirement for cataract surgery. The new policy went into on Friday, July 1, 2022.

“Aetna’s decision to forego preauthorization for cataract surgeries will give patients greater access to a life-changing procedure”, said Dr. Parag Mehta, President of MSSNY. MSSNY urges other insurers to follow their lead.”

“Cataract removal is the most common and one of the safest surgeries in the US, impacting almost 3 million patients annually. Aetna’s year-long preauthorization mandate placed undue administrative burdens on eye physician practices, increased the associated risk for falls, accidents and further vision loss, and resulted in an unnecessary delay of surgery for tens of thousands of patients”, according to NYSOS President Peter Menger, MD. “We are gratified that this mandate has been lifted so that ophthalmologists can spend less time completing burdensome paperwork and more time performing sight-restoring surgery”, added Dr. Menger.

Excessive preauthorization hassles continue to be a major impediment to patient care. In early February, the American Medical Association (AMA) released an updated survey which showed that more than 9 in 10 physicians (93%) reported care delays while waiting for health insurers to authorize necessary care, and 82% said patients abandon treatment due to authorization struggles with health insurers. Moreover, more than half (51%) of physicians reported that preauthorization had interfered with a patient’s job responsibilities, and more than one-third (34%) of physicians reported that preauthorization led to a serious adverse event such as hospitalization, disability, or even death, for a patient in their care.

We urge all New York health insurers to reduce and/or eliminate unnecessary and time-consuming preauthorization processes to help ensure patients have timely access to the care recommended by their physician. MSSNY, NYSOS and virtually all physician organizations in this state have strongly supported multiple pieces of legislation to reduce excessive health insurer hassles, including legislation (S.8299, Breslin/A.9908, McDonald) that will exempt health care providers from preauthorization requirements if their authorization requests are regularly approved, and legislation (A.7129, Gottfried/S.6435, Breslin) that would eliminate the need for repeat preauthorization requirements once it has been approved for a patient.

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Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all. 

 

Media Contact:
Roseann Raia
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302
rraia@mssny.org