Academy addresses issues facing ophthalmologists in 2008

Ensuring fair Medicare reimbursements was one of the concerns adressed at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's (AAO) Secretariat for Federal Affairs Meeting in Washington.

Washington, DC-Ensuring fair Medicare reimbursements is still one of the main concerns set by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) at its Secretariat for Federal Affairs Meeting in Washington, DC, on Jan. 26.

"Ophthalmologists are facing significant reimbursement challenges in 2008, and we remain committed to advocating for a multi-year solution that will bring stability to the profession," said Michael X. Repka, MD, AAO secretary for federal affairs. "We will continue to build on our successes in 2007 by focusing our efforts on other legislative and policy issues, including children's vision and pay-for-performance, which affect our members and their patients."

Issues established at this year's Federal Secretariat for the academy include the Sustainable Growth Rate, Pay-for-Performance, Coding, and Patient Access and Care. Threats for ophthalmologists this year include possible mandates under Medicate for adoption of health information and technology and accreditation of imaging and ultrasound equipment.

So far, the academy with the support of the American Medical Association halted fee cuts for the time being, the AAO said. The academy also assured that the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative would be voluntary, with a positive incentive for participating physicians. Certain coding is also being defended and new coding is being discussed and the academy will continue being an advocate for the diagnosis and treatment for service members injured on active duty.