Cancer Treatment Slowdowns

Prior authorizations can present one of the biggest obstacles to patients diagnosed with cancer. This conclusion emerged in recent discussions among experts from three groups: the American Medical Association, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. These experts gathered together to examine prior authorization practices and a key finding became apparent: restrictive prior authorizations are often an unnecessary burden for cancer patients.

In an associated report, a survey of nearly 700 radiation oncologists noted that prior authorizations negatively affect patient outcomes, pull physicians away from caring for their patients, and create a disproportionate burden for patients. In short, this process leads to unnecessary delays and difficulties in the care decisions for cancer patients. These delays pile on to the already present stress and anxiety faced by newly-diagnosed cancer patients. Even more worrisome is the 1.2% – 3.2% increased risk of death caused by each week of delay in starting cancer therapy.

There is an additional unnecessary burden of restrictive prior authorizations: that of wasted physician time. Nearly one in five radiation oncologists divert more than 10% of their time on these issues, which is pulled from time they could use to care for cancer patients. These obstacles are not just present in radiation therapy; they are pervasive throughout the entire health care system.

BioPlus aims to quickly move these prior authorization obstacles out of the way for all our patients. This is why we have entire teams devoted to both the prior authorization and appeals processes. We know how important a timely start to treatment is for patients – and we make it our priority to get quick prior authorizations and (if needed) fast appeals for patients and their physicians.


Prior authorization and cancer patient care. Executive summary of a nationwide physician survey, April 2019.