Earlier this month, in an effort to increase transparency in healthcare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released payment data for Medicare Part-B fee-for-service providers. Though we support transparency in the healthcare system, this information, when taken out of context, can be easily misconstrued. Some providers, such as ophthalmologists, seem to collect more than others, but that doesn’t automatically translate into more profits for these healthcare providers. Other factors, such as patient population, overhead and treatments provided, play a role in both what a doctor charges, and what a doctor actually earns. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why ophthalmologists landed high on the CMS list:
- Ophthalmologists have one of the highest percentages of elderly patients among medical specialties. Therefore naturally we have a higher than average proportion of our patient population covered by Medicare.
- The elderly are susceptible to expensive ophthalmic diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. These diseases often require specialized technology and equipment to both treat and observe.
- Ophthalmology has one of the highest overheads of any specialty.
- Some specialized ophthalmologists (i.e., retina specialists) dispense and administer costly drugs for macular degeneration and other chronic retina diseases. This actually accounts for 20% of Medicare payments to ophthalmologists. Comprehensive ophthalmology practices such as ours do not normally administer such drugs.
If you have further questions, feel free to contact me, Jacqui, at the number or email address below.
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Tarantino Eye Center