• Academy Seeks Changes to Congressional Proposal for Expanding Remote Retinal Imaging Services

    The Academy is withholding support for a congressional proposal that would expand screenings for diabetic eye diseases because it would establish several harmful coding precedents in medicine. Congress is being asked to consider a bill from Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Terri Sewell, D-Ala., the intent of which is to expand access to digital retinal imaging with remote interpretation under the Medicare program.

    The legislation is intended to increase screenings for diabetic retinopathy by getting diabetics to have an image taken remotely during a visit to their primary care physician.

    While the Academy supports the goal of increasing diabetic retinopathy screenings, we oppose this effort because it mandates the use of an inappropriate CPT code. Furthermore, Congress rarely takes the approach of mandating the use of a specific CPT code for a medical service in statute.

    We’ve reached out to a number of ophthalmic imaging companies to discuss solutions to current access limitations that the legislation is intended to address. We’re seeking to better understand the issue in order to suggest alternative pathways to expanded access. We are also working with the bill’s sponsors to ensure they use appropriate language in future versions of the legislation.