People’s column

Reed’s bill short-sighted

Editor, OBSERVER:

Introduced by Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning), the Diabetic Vision Loss and Blindness Prevention Act (H.R. 6639) would provide Medicare coverage and reimbursement for retinal imaging of seniors with diabetes in the primary care setting with remote interpretation by a board-certified ophthalmologist (and only a board-certified ophthalmologist).

H.R. 6639 goes against the recognized standard of care for seniors with diabetes and is in direct conflict with American Optometric Association and American Diabetes Association guidelines as well as the recommendations of the National Eye Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other federal and state-level health groups and agencies.

Additionally, the bill’s exclusion of optometry from image interpretation and care decision making is both insulting to the profession and fails to recognize the fact that doctors of optometry perform the most comprehensive eye exams for people with diabetes in the U.S. Furthermore, doctors of optometry have been well versed in the treatment and management of diabetic eye disease for decades.

MICHAEL C. BARRIS,

Ph.D.,

Fredonia

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