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January 1993

Ophthalmology and the Resource-Based Relative Value Fee Scale

Author Affiliations

From the University of Illinois Eye Center, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111(1):50-55. doi:10.1001/archopht.1993.01090010054026

• The Medicare Resource-Based Relative Value Scale for ophthalmology has significantly reduced the level of reimbursement for surgical fees and only minimally increased evaluation and management fees. Some observers have felt that the methods for determining fees were flawed, and, generally, practitioners have been concerned about a potential loss of income. While reimbursement for individual services is being cut, projections through 1996 indicate that ophthalmology, as a specialty, will receive 55% more funding due to historical trends and increasing ranks of providers. This will translate into a more moderate global reduction in revenue of approximately 11%. The possible implications of the Resource-Based Relative Value Scale include a concentration of ophthalmic surgery into fewer practices, which may be able to distribute medical liability costs over a larger number of procedures. To counter the constraints of fee limits, individual physicians will probably seek to enhance their net income by greater use of paraprofessional personnel, the acquisition of new technologies, and the application of improved management skills.