Eye physicians and surgeons representing the American Academy of Ophthalmology met with Congress in Washington D.C. on Wednesday on behalf of millions of patients across the United States who require medical and surgical eye care. During meetings with their respective members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, ophthalmologists raised critical issues that impact the quality of care their patients receive.
Ophthalmologists are emphasizing during these meetings their commitment to ensuring that patients have access to affordable, highest-quality eye care. When the delivery of health care is affected, the Academy advocates for Congress to allow the following to guide their legislative and regulatory decisions:
- Making the treatment of eye disease available and affordable for all Americans;
- Requiring insurance plans to have adequate provider networks to ensure patient access to covered specialty and subspecialty services;
- Reducing regulatory burdens that detract from patient care, interfere with the patient-physician relationship, introduce inefficiencies or increase costs;
- Providing greater cost transparency and promoting economic efficiency throughout the health care system;
- Ensuring timely access to treatments that are proven to be effective in patient care, while preserving physicians’ ability to determine what is appropriate for their patients;
- Improving quality and safety by encouraging initiatives and technology that provide a verifiable mechanism to validate clinically relevant improvements in patient outcomes;
- Ensuring that policies reflect the diversity of provider practices, including practice size, geography, access to specialized technology and facilities, and special needs of the patient populations they serve; and
- Recognizing that the special needs of patient populations may be based on racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, health and economic factors.
“Our nation’s health care system is facing one of the most critical inflection points in our history,” David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said in an Academy news release. “The delivery of health care in this country is indeed complex and expensive. As our elected leaders continue to debate its future, the ophthalmology community remains committed to working toward solutions that provide patients with the care they require, when they need it.”