• Academy, Ophthalmic Societies Issue Post-Surgery Co-Management Guidance

    New guidelines emphasize transparency and patient empowerment

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced that it, along with 60 other ophthalmology societies, has issued new, more patient-centric guidelines for postoperative co-management of ophthalmic procedures.

    The Comprehensive Guidelines for the Co-Management of Ophthalmic Postoperative Care contains substantive changes to existing guidelines based on over six months of thoughtful review by an Academy-led Task Force on Co-Management Principles, the Academy Council and Board of Trustees.

    The Task Force included representatives of the Academy Council, the Academy Board of Trustees and state society leadership, a former Academy Ethics Committee leader and legal counsel. The new guidelines:

    • Call for written informed consent and financial disclosure
    • Reflect that co-management goes beyond cataract surgery to all ophthalmic surgery
    • Address the distinction between the legal and ethical aspects of co-management

    A principal aim of the revision is to better inform patients with full disclosure of compensation arrangements for the non-operating practitioner and fees that practitioners may charge beyond those that Medicare and other third-party payors would cover.

    This guidance represents the first time that clinical guidance of this nature has the endorsement of 60 organizations representing the spectrum of ophthalmology—including the ophthalmology sections of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons. It also includes leading subspecialty organizations in retina, oculoplastics, glaucoma, pediatrics, neuro-ophthalmology and oncology.

    “As more non-physician healthcare providers become part of the healthcare delivery team, it is important to clearly define how the ophthalmologist – as surgeon and leader of the eye care team – can properly, ethically and legally share pre- and postoperative responsibilities with these providers,” said Kurt F. Heitman, M.D., member of the American Academy of Ophthalmolology’s Committee of Secretaries. “Most importantly, the new guidelines make it clear that the patient is in control of the process and should be fully appraised of all relevant facts pertaining to any co-management plan.”

    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit www.aao.org.