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    2015 brings big Medicare changes, small technology changes to glaucoma surgery


    The year 2015 brought a trickle of innovation to the technique of glaucoma surgery, and a tidal wave of change to the business model in the United States.

    A proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cut Medicare reimbursement for trabeculectomy of about 30% will hit surgeons in the bottom line, said Cynthia Mattox, MD, a member of the Health Policy committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and vice president of the American Glaucoma Society (AGS).

    The cut came on the heels of a similar reduction in reimbursement for aqueous shunt procedures.  As part of its routine review of reimbursement schedules, CMS announced in November 2014 that glaucoma surgeons could no longer bill separately for patch grafts and aqueous shunts. Combining the two into one effectively slashes reimbursement for these two procedures by 25% to 30%.

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