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Research Letter
January 05, 2017

Rates of Routine Cataract Surgery Among Medicare Beneficiaries

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Center for Healthcare Studies, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  • 3Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Service, Chicago, Illinois
  • 4Department of Ophthalmology, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
  • 5Division of Ophthalmology, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, and Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 6Section of Ophthalmology, Providence VA Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island
JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online January 5, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.5174

Substantial variation in rates of cataract surgery among Medicare beneficiaries has been documented since the 1990s, with greater than 50% variation between selected states.1 More than 80% of all cataract surgery is covered by Medicare, so trends among Medicare beneficiaries are a barometer of national trends.2 Past estimates of Medicare surgery rates are limited, however, due to the reliance on 5% samples, exclusion of Medicare health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and the use of data more than a decade old.1,3 Identifying variations in practice patterns is an important step in improving quality of health care including access.3 We explored the rates of cataract surgery among Medicare beneficiaries with the goal of shedding light on geographic variation at the US county level.

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