September 11, 2019
ASA Member Testifies before US House Committee
Today, ASA member David Walega, M.D. testified before the House Committee on Small Business for its hearing on “Utilization Management: Barriers to Care and Burdens on Small Medical Practice.”
Dr. Walega is board certified in both anesthesiology and pain medicine, currently practicing at Northwestern Memorial Hospital which is part of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and whose clinical practice spans 19 years in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain and cancer related pain.
Dr. Walega’s testimony focused on the importance of removing barriers to pain care and the burden of prior authorization and also highlighted the complicated interaction of the opioid epidemic and the treatment of chronic pain that many pain specialists encounter on a daily basis. Dr. Walega illustrated the impact of prior authorization by highlighting a specific patient-case. A lengthy denial and appeals process delays evidence-based treatment and patient care by prolonging unnecessary pain and suffering until a treatment can be implemented. ASA recommendations to remove these barriers were included in Dr. Walega’s submitted written testimony.
Other witnesses before the Committee included Dr. Paul Harari, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Human Oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; Dr. John S. Cullen, FAAFP, family physician and partner at Valdez Medical Clinic, LLC; and Dr. Howard Rogers, PhD, FAAD, owner of Advanced Dermatology, LLC.
This week, ASA, with over 300 health care organizations, also sent a letter to Congress urging passage of the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019 (H.R. 3107), a bipartisan bill to protect Medicare Advantage beneficiaries from prior authorization requirements that needlessly delay or deny access to medically necessary care.
Dr. Walega’s full testimony and formal recommendations can be found here.
A recording of the committee hearing can be found here
ASA commends Dr. Walega for taking time to advocate on behalf of his patients and profession and look forward to working with the Committee to advance legislation to address prior authorization.