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July 18, 2019

AGA participates in 2019 Alliance of Specialty Medicine Fly In

Four AGA members represented our specialty at the Alliance of Specialty Medicine's annual advocacy conference. The fly in tackled topics including prior authorization and step therapy.

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Thank you to the following members who joined us to advocate for some of the most pressing issues facing gastroenterologists and our patients at the 2019 Alliance of Specialty Medicine Fly In. Our advocates met with House and Senate offices to push for reducing prior authorization burdens and minimizing the strict constraints of step therapy protocols. 

    • Rotonya M. Carr, MD, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia
    • Peter Kaufman, MD, AGAF, Capital Digestive Care, Bethesda, Maryland
    • Avinash G. Ketwaroo, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
    • Simon C. Mathews, MD, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

Drs. Mathews, Carr and Kaufman pictured above with Senator Bill Cassidy, R-LA (second from right).

Prior Authorization

Prior authorization is a tedious process and management tool that requires physicians to obtain pre-approval for medical treatments or tests before rendering care to their patients. Patients experience significant barriers to medically necessary care due to prior authorization requirements for services that are eventually routinely approved. H.R. 3107, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, would increase transparency and accountability and reduce the burdens of prior authorization.

Step Therapy

Step therapy treatment, or “fail first,” requires patients to try and fail medications before insurers agree to cover the initial therapy prescribed by their health care provider. While this protocol may initially act as a cost-containment mechanism, it can ultimately lead to more expensive health care costs due to devistating patient complications. H.R. 2279, the Safe Step Act, would provide a clear and timely appeals process when a patient has been subjected to step therapy.

The Alliance of Specialty Medicine is a coalition of national medical societies representing specialty physicians in the United States.

This conference took place July 15-17, 2019, at the Liaison Washington Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

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