In an effort to give doctors more time with their patients, the Oregon Legislature is considering a bill to reduce paperwork.

When a doctor writes a prescription, he or she also has to fill in a form from the patient's insurance company -- to get authorization.

Insurance companies sometimes want to exchange a pricy name brand drug for a cheaper generic.

Medford doctor Alan Bates, who's also a Democratic state senator, says he's counted more than 200 different versions of these forms.

He estimates his staff spend up to 30 percent of their time on such paperwork.

David Walls of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon says having one form would save time and reduce mistakes.

"Anywhere we can look at adminstrative symplification, anywhere we can take less time from physicians filling out forms and more time into patient care, I think we definitely need to look at those opportunities."

Insurance companies are discussing the idea. A request has been made to include a check-box, so additional information can be added to the form when needed.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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