NEW YORK—The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) has issued its first series of Prior Authorization (PA) Resource Kits for healthcare providers. These resource kits have been uniquely designed for cardiology practices working with underserved minority patients, and constructed to serve physicians, nurses, and other staff members.
The kits provide relevant PA information on three specific disease categories: lipid disorders (PCSK9 inhibitor focus), stroke (DOAC focus), and heart failure (ARNI focus). The PA Work Group chose to prioritize these diseases, based on a survey (ABC-ACC Eliminating Access Disparities) conducted by the ABC and the American College of Cardiology.
“The practice of medicine is an art, as well as a science,” said Dr. Keith Ferdinand, Chair of the ABC Access to Care Initiative and Professor of Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine. “Nevertheless, despite advances in evidence-based medications and devices, these new therapies are not applied equally to all, especially considering barriers to access and an often difficult to navigate pre-authorization process.”
As cited by a white paper written by the Prior Authorization Work Group for the ABC Access to Care Initiative, over 90 percent of physicians report delays to necessary care for patients whose treatment required a PA, and about three-quarters indicate that PA can (at least in some cases) lead to patients abandoning their treatment.
“This is particularly important in helping the dedicated providers, who treat high risk patients in underserved communities,” Ferdinand stated. “The sacred provider-patient relationship is increasingly hampered by the ‘third person in the room.’ And the uniqueness of the ABC Resource Kit will help providers and practices with limited resources to overcome specific barriers to care and to treatment.”
Founded in 1974, the ABC is a nonprofit organization with an international membership of 1,900 healthcare, lay professionals, corporate and institutional members. The ABC’s mission is to promote the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, in Blacks and other minorities and to achieve health equity for all through the elimination of disparities.
The ABC launched its Access to Care Initiative in 2016 to address critical health care issues and to initiate a long-term effective advocacy campaign to amplify access barriers faced by minorities and high-risk patients. African Americans are disproportionately burdened with the highest rate of heart disease and stroke of any ethnic group in the U.S. Lack of access can mean earlier deaths, depreciation of quality of life, and loss of optimal productivity. Several factors influence access to quality care including social determinants, cultural competency, financial factors in treatment, therapy selection and contextual challenges within the current cardiovascular environment.
The continued progress and success of the ABC Access to Care Initiative has been made possible through the support, participation and contribution of a diverse group of stakeholders including: Amgen, Arbor Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Boston Scientific, Bristol-Myers Squibb/Pfizer, Novartis, and Sanofi/Regeneron.