May 06, 2016

Hawaii Prior Authorization Bill Dies in Conference Committee

After the state's largest health care insurer in Hawaii instituted a prior authorization process for imaging services, the Hawaii Radiological Society (HRS) and Hawaii Medical Association (HMA) have been at the forefront of a legislative battle against this controversial requirement.

In addition to being actively involved with advocacy at the state capitol, the HMA and HRS engaged in educational efforts for the physician community via an open letter about a reasonable solution that exists and why clinical decision support (CDS) is a superior tool. Both the providers and the patients have shared their frustrations with the barriers put in place by the health insurance carrier by providing hours of compelling testimony to the legislators.

The Hawaii physicians have kept a united front in outlining the limitations and problems of prior authorization and successfully introduced the CDS solution into HB2740 - a bill to set prior authorization standards for all health insurers in the state. Following the bill’s passage in the Hawaii Senate, the amended bill was returned to the House and a conference committee was appointed.

Unfortunately, despite the best advocacy efforts from the HRS and the HMA, after being heard by a joint House/Senate committee chaired by Rep. Della Belatti and Sen. Rosalyn Baker, the measure was stripped out of important CDS and liability provisions and failed to pass.