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Ophthalmologists Tackle Medicare Payment Reform During 2010 Mid-Year Forum

04/28/2010   03:30:00 PM

Ophthalmologists Storm Capitol Hill During Congressional Advocacy Day

WASHINGTON, D.C.—With the threat of a 21 percent Medicare physician pay cut just over a month away, 400 ophthalmologists ascended on Washington April 22 seeking permanent repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula, the cause of the cut. The effort was part of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 2010 Congressional Advocacy Day and Mid-Year Forum, held annually in Washington.

“Physicians across the country are overwhelmed by the prospect of a massive Medicare pay cut based on a faulty formula,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the Academy. “Such a cut would have a drastic affect on medical practices’ bottom line and their ability to treat Medicare patients. In a survey conducted earlier this year nearly 40 percent of responding ophthalmologists said they would no longer participate in Medicare if the 21 percent cut were implemented.”

During visits with their representatives and senators, ophthalmologists also advocated to sustain and support the practice expense rules issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and for adequate funding for the National Eye Institute and vision research.

The 2010 Mid-Year Forum explored what Medicare reform will really look like for ophthalmologists, with payment systems based on value as opposed to volume. The new legislation contains components that will have a direct impact on payment for physicians’ services including Medicare incentives and penalties related to quality-focused measurement reporting and CMS authority for broad pilot programs to cut costs or bring other efficiencies without deterring quality of patient care. A substantial portion of the 2010 Mid-Year Forum was devoted to communicating a greater understanding of both the philosophical and the technical underpinnings of this new initiative.

In addition, the forum featured a panel discussion about social media and its role in clinical and patient education. The panel discussed how there is a wealth of health information available to physicians and their patients through social media, and the most effective methods for ophthalmologists to use these tools to improve their practice efficiencies and clinical knowledge base.

NOTE: Downloadable photos from the Academy’s 2010 Congressional Advocacy Day are available on the Web at http://www.aao.org/newsroom/release/2010-Advocacy-Day-Photos.cfm.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons — Eye M.D.s — with more than 29,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three “O’s” – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org.

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