Improving Seniors’ Care and Reducing Costs, Sinema Introduces Bipartisan Bill Supporting Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries

Oct 20, 2021

Senator’s legislation streamlines slow bureaucratic processes by improving and standardizing ‘prior authorization’ processes for medical treatments, tests, and medications

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema partnered with Republican Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (Kan.) and John Thune (S.D.) to introduce the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act—bipartisan legislation that streamlines and standardizes Medicare Advantage’s prior authorization process to ensure timely, quality care for Arizona seniors.
“Modernizing the prior authorization process allows Arizona seniors with Medicare Advantage plans to receive timely, quality health services while lowering the costs related to delayed care. Our bill also allows physicians and health care providers in Arizona to spend less time on burdensome red tape, and more time with their patients,” said Sinema.
“Having served as a physician in rural Kansas for decades, my top priority has always been to provide quality care to my patients,” said Senator Marshall, M.D.. “This legislation cuts the red tape hindering health care providers across the nation from providing our seniors with quality care in a timely manner. The common-sense solutions we are offering were formed in partnership with hundreds of national and state organizations over the last two years, and I am honored to lead this bipartisan, bicameral effort alongside Senators Sinema and Thune.”
“I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that makes health care more efficient and patient-centered,” said Senator Thune. “By implementing electronic prior authorization, providers are able to reduce delays and help seniors in South Dakota get quicker access to the treatment and care they need.”

Medicare Advantage plans require “prior authorization”—a process used by insurance companies to encourage medical providers to prescribe clinically-appropriate medications or treatments, and control for costs. Patients and health care professionals have stressed that existing prior authorization processes are too slow—often denying orders made by medical professionals or delaying needed care to seniors. Sinema’s Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act modernizes the prior authorization process, making it more efficient to meet the needs of patients, while maintaining quality of care and keeping costs low.
Sinema’s legislation earned support from the Arizona Medical Association, Arizona Neurological Society, Arizona United Rheumatology Alliance, and Arizona Clinical Oncology Society. Other national patient, provider, IT health, and medical device groups supporting the legislation include the Alzheimer’s Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American College of Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and LeadingAge.