Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Both eye and vision care should be insured

Glaucoma

Marylanders are extremely fortunate to have some of the nation's finest health care resources readily available within our borders. As Vincent DeMarco points out in his recent commentary ("Health exchanges benefit Md. families," Feb. 16), we also lead the country in a pro-active approach to embracing the federal Affordable Care Act as health exchanges will be created in Maryland by January of 2014.

Nationally, within the eye care community, a debate has arisen over the inclusion of "stand-alone" vision plans as a component of the proposed health exchanges. As an eye care provider, executive of a regional eye care delivery system and concerned citizen who has studied the delivery of eye care throughout the U.S. for the past two decades, I would like to offer some advice as our legislators continue to ferret out the appropriate details for the health exchanges: Be certain to include easy and affordable access to comprehensive eye and vision benefits.

While technology and ingenuity have allowed those with visual loss to be productive members of society, most would readily agree that healthy eyes and crisp clear vision add to the quality of life, the learning experience and the quality of the workforce. Regardless of who "wins" the debate on stand-alone vision plans versus vision benefits incorporated within a health plan, we must make certain that both quality medical eye care and vision care are services offered in the exchanges.

In 1965 when Medicare was originally developed, mostly for those age 65 older, it was decided that medical eye care would be included (for example, treatment for glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration or, simply, a conjunctivitis) in the covered benefits, but vision care (the optical correction of the eyes' focus) was excluded, creating a distinct wall separating medical eye care from vision care services. While my colleagues in the eye care industry (optometrists and ophthalmologists) are well aware of the difference between medical and vision care services, the average citizen of Maryland is confused by the distinction and shouldn't have to even worry about it. They should simply know they need to visit the eye doctor and be assured that the care they require is included in their benefits package.

Let's make the delivery of care in Maryland accessible, affordable and less confusing. Let's compensate our care providers fairly and let's continue to showcase Maryland as the nation's leader in the delivery of health care.

Richard C. Edlow, Baltimore

The writer is chief executive officer of Katzen Eye Group.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Glaucoma
  • Ebola and the ethics of nursing
    Ebola and the ethics of nursing

    Nurses from West Africa to California have gone on strike to make their concerns about the Ebola crisis known. But what are the ethical considerations that come into play when nurses take such actions while their patients may be dying?

  • Health commissioner: E-cigarette bill isn't perfect but is a step forward
    Health commissioner: E-cigarette bill isn't perfect but is a step forward

    Recent legislation regulating the use of electronic smoking devices passed by the City Council and expected to soon be signed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is a step in the right direction to protect Baltimore's children and adults from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes ("Don't fall for...

  • Turning anger over Ferguson into positive action
    Turning anger over Ferguson into positive action

    The images on my television from Ferguson, Mo. and around the country following Monday's grand jury announcement were, to say the least, troubling.

  • Kidnapping case offered lessons
    Kidnapping case offered lessons

    Heather Harris' commentary, "Media message unfair to missing child" (Nov. 20), misreads the message sent by the police and the media in the recent case of the abducted Baltimore County girl. She suggests that the "noise" created leads people to think that a missing 12-year-old girl is no big...

  • Ferguson announcement botched
    Ferguson announcement botched

    I am struck by the fact that there were demonstrations throughout the country Monday night in reaction to the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown ("Ferguson's grievance," Nov. 25). The Ferguson Police Department had National Guard troops and...

  • Right as 'rain tax'
    Right as 'rain tax'

    I am not a fan of Gov. Martin O'Malley, but he was right for initiating his so-called "rain tax" ("'Rain tax' sobriquet is misleading," Nov. 19). In a Midwestern state, homeowners are subject to heavy fines if they allow runoff rain water to enter the streets. They must redirect it to their own...

Comments
Loading