Viewpoint from the Editor

Addressing declining reimbursement

Cataract surgery, the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the United States, enjoys an extremely high success rate. The procedure is so refined that the surgery generally takes only minutes. Therefore, we are able to accommodate the myriad baby boomers that are experiencing difficulties with their activities of daily living that require surgery.

The challenge ahead

This year brought cuts to cataract surgery reimbursement, causing administrators and doctors to look for ways to recoup lost revenue. Some have added patients to the schedule; others add surgical time, and still others began to implant lifestyle lenses when they previously shied away from doing so. When implemented without hiring additional staff, these can cause long wait times, high stress levels, and staff turnover.

The options for our patients have increased, sometimes requiring additional counseling time or physician chair time. When the counselors are not adequately educated in their surgeons’ preferred lenses, the patient may have unrealistic expectations or may opt for the monofocal intraocular lens (IOL) because his or her questions were not answered with confidence. In addition to counselor education, all staff should have knowledge of which lenses are offered and their respective benefits. Best practices provide patients with general information about lens choices prior to the cataract evaluation. These practices also explain the self-pay component, thereby reducing the element of surprise.

Discovering opportunity

In this issue of Ophthalmic Professional, the doctors and staff of Louisiana Eye & Laser discuss how they have tackled the complex task of education to enjoy a high conversion rate to premium IOLs (p. 10). Dr. I. Paul Singh discusses another new option, incorporating intraoperative drugs to reduce or eliminate the need for postoperative eyedrops (p. 22). Beginning on p. 20, Cory J. Pickett, BSN, RN, COA, shares tips on how technology can improve pre-op refractive surgery visits. Authors Elizabeth Monroe, COE, PHR, CPSS, and Laurie K. Brown, MBA, COMT, COE, OCS, CPSS, take a “big picture” view and offer strategies to improve clinical efficiency (p. 26).

As you read this issue of OP, I hope you consider the processes surrounding cataract surgery in your practice and are able to implement a few pearls. OP