American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery leaders focus on health care, FDA

June 15, 2011

New president and leaders of American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery focused on healthcare reform.

Boston-In its traditional rite of spring, the opening session of the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) featured the passing of the baton from one leader to the successor.

"American medicine finds itself in a sea of change," he said. "The legislation recently signed into law by President Obama promises to bring millions more Americans under some form of insurance coverage."

Dr. Crandall outlined the reasons for ASCRS' opposition to the legislation.

"None of the changes that were requested by the surgical and the specialty communities was addressed," he said. "These included the removal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, participation in the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, the budget neutral value-based purchasing modifier, and most importantly, no permanent fix to the sustainable growth formula.

"The last is among our primary concerns," Dr. Crandall said. "For years, we have been in a situation in which extensions of Medicare payments were required. Each year, the cuts in reimbursements grow; this year, the cut would have been 21.3%."

A cut of that magnitude would make it virtually impossible for "cash-strapped" surgical practices to treat Medicare patients, he said.

He advised ASCRS members to contact their representatives and senators and urged that the sustainable growth formula be repealed.