All physician groups reported using gatekeeping and preauthorization for certain referrals or tests. Most also used profiling of utilization patterns (79%), guidelines (70%), and managed care education (69%). Most physician groups asked gatekeepers to submit preauthorization requests for specialty referrals and restricted patient self-referral. For example, 60% of groups required preauthorization for an internal medicine subspecialty referral, and 7% allowed patient self-referral. Most groups also asked gatekeepers to obtain preauthoirzation for many tests (for example, 95% for magnetic resonance imaging and 53% for pulmonary function tests). Preauthorization requests were denied infrequently (less than 10% of the time) by more than 75% of groups. Of the 54 groups reporting utilization profiles to their physicians, 61% never adjusted for case-mix among patients and more than 60% suggested practice changes to their physicians based on utilization. Fewer than 35% of the groups used written guidelines for expensive tests that required preauthorization (such as angiography).
Originally published in: Annals of Internal Medicine, v. 123, no. 7, October 1, 1995, pp. 500-504.
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