Medical decisions should be made between a patient and their doctor. Currently, some patients need to gain approval from their insurance companies for certain procedures. One such example was brought to light recently at the Legislature.

A woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer was pre-approved for a 23-hour hospital stay for a double mastectomy. After experiencing significant post-operative pain, she navigated the system and was allowed to stay past the pre-approved hours.

Fortunately, she works in the medical field and knew how to advocate for herself. Still, she experienced significant anxiety, worried that she would be discharged too soon or that her stay wouldn’t be fully covered.

No one should have to go through such additional burden.

I have co-sponsored legislation that would require insurance policies to cover hospital stays of at least 48 hours for patients undergoing a mastectomy or lumpectomy.

It would also require policies to cover no less than a 24-hour stay following a lymph node dissection — another procedure which some breast cancer patients undergo.

No breast cancer patient should be forced to return home against her and her doctor’s wishes.

I strongly believe that the length of a hospital stay should be determined by the patient and her doctor. Patient-focused care means that they need to decide what is medically necessary for each individual situation.

The legislation will be discussed further in the coming weeks, and it is my hope that my colleagues will support this important measure.

Rep. Heidi Brooks, Lewiston


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