AAO 'strongly opposes' MedPAC proposal

October 13, 2011

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) ?strongly opposes? a recent proposal by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to fix the formula used to establish Medicare payments to physicians, the organization said in a prepared statement.

San Francisco and Washington, DC-The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) “strongly opposes” a recent proposal by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to fix the formula used to establish Medicare payments to physicians, the organization said in a prepared statement.

The independent congressional advisory committee’s plan calls for an 18% cut in reimbursement for specialists (5.9% in each of 3 consecutive years), followed by a 7-year freeze at the reduced level. Freezes to Medicare reimbursement over the past decade mean that doctor fees now lag behind inflation by about 16%, according to the AAO.

“Such a drastic reduction in reimbursement to specialist physicians that includes ophthalmologists likely would result in a huge access problem to specialty care and place an unwarranted burden on the vulnerable senior population,” said David W. Parke II, MD, chief executive officer of the AAO. “Congress needs to focus on achieving Medicare savings through quality and increased value.”

The AAO plans to work with legislators to devise a different solution to issues related to the Medicare payment system.

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