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American Academy of Ophthalmology Issues Statement of Opposition to Congress' Short-Term Reprieve from Medicare Pay Cut

Ophthalmologists warn that Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 threatens permanent repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ophthalmologists are voicing their anger with Congress' recent passage of H.R. 4302, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, legislation that only temporarily halts the impending 24 percent cut to Medicare physician pay until April 1, 2015. The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, is part of a broad coalition of medical associations which contends that H.R. 4302 jeopardizes bipartisan, bicameral legislation negotiated over the past year to permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate formula used to calculate Medicare physician pay and make other program reforms. It continues to advocate for enactment of a permanent solution.

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"Congress has punted for the 17th time, opting to pass a temporary solution to the extreme Medicare physician pay cut caused by the faulty sustainable growth rate formula," said David W. Parke II, M.D., CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Lawmakers have walked away from efforts to pass meaningful payment reform legislation that includes permanent repeal of the SGR formula. Instead, Congress has chosen a fiscally irresponsible $20 billion short-term solution, taking away funding mechanisms that could have been used to offset the cost of permanent SGR repeal. Congress' inclusion of a provision requiring the review of physician payment codes will result in $4 billion in physician cuts, compromising patients' access to surgical and specialty care."

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons – Eye M.D.s – with more than 32,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org to learn more.

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SOURCE American Academy of Ophthalmology

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