The Diabetic Vision Loss and Blindness Prevention Act of 2018

glasses.jpgI am committed to making sure those with diabetes have easier access to care.–Rep. Tom Reed, facebook, July 31

Reportedly, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)  have introduced The Diabetic Vision Loss and Blindness Prevention Act of 2018, which would allow people on Medicare to go to their family doctors for diabetic eye disease testing. The bill has been renamed as H.R.6639 – To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage under the Medicare program of digital retinal imaging with remote interpretation. Rep. Sewell is a Democrat, so this bill is said to be bipartisan. Nether the text of the bill nor a CRS summary is yet available. This bill is said to be needed because currently Medicare will only reimburse specialists for diabetic eye care. An article in The Corning Leader explains:

There is no fair reason for diabetics on Medicare to wait to see a specialist for a simple test their family doctor has the ability to conduct.–Rep. Tom Reed

In my case, I needn’t wait–I make the next appointment at the end of the current one, six months or a year in advance.

Today’s bill is a commonsense fix that will give more constituents living with diabetes access to the eye screenings they need close to home. —Rep. Terri Sewell

If one lives where there are no Ophthalmologists, and a family doctor can do the exam, this would be good. I don’t think my family doctor has the time, experience, or equipment needed to do eye exams, even though she may be capable of it. Tom’s bill envisions the use of remote interpretation, presumably by a specialist. I have no idea what equipment and arrangements would be needed to make that work.

Tom has previously suggested use of remote interpretation. A patient would see a provider, not necessarily a doctor, who would consult with an expert via a video link if necessary. This could be a convenience for the patient, but also would be a shift away from a direct connection between patient and doctor to a model of cut-rate medical care. Is this what Tom means by “patient centered?”

The Diabetic Vision Loss and Blindness Prevention Act of 2018 reform the reimbursement requirements for Medicare and allow primary care doctor testing reimbursements.

If a primary care doctor did an eye exam during a routine visit Medicare wouldn’t pay for the visit? That does seem strange if true.

Dr. Robert Berke of Chautauqua Family Health Services has seen first-hand how diabetic retinal eye exams in the primary care setting improve access to critical, vision-saving tests.

Would one have to drive far in Chautauqua County to see an Ophthalmologist, or is this an attempt to entice patients who might need a specialist to accept lower cost care?

The similarity between the article printed by The Corning Leader and Tom Reed’s press release is remarkable. No wonder no author is listed by The Corning Leader. Is this journalism?

About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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10 Responses to The Diabetic Vision Loss and Blindness Prevention Act of 2018

  1. Carol says:

    It is interesting to see how far Reed will go when the disease affects his family. For anyone else, and any other health issue, he couldn’t care less. If he really did care, he wouldn’t vote to cut Medicare and Medicaid, and to gut the Affordable Care Act.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Anne says:

    Same with sexual assault…never heard a peep out of him on the topic until it was his niece who was attacked. The bigger issue to my mind is that he’s twice needed life-saving medical care–remember the blood clot that kept him from his first swearing-in? And then the bariatric surgery he said his doctor said he needed to save his life? The hypocrisy of his having health care there when he needed it but then trying to keep it from everyone else is astounding. And tone deaf. And honestly, this bill just underlines what I’ve always said about Reed, which is that he’s a man devoid of both imagination and of good ideas.


  3. Carol says:



  4. Rynstone says:

    Carol and Anne, even when Reed is doing things that are clearly unconstitutional to improve medial treatment for Americans and his constituents you find great fault with him and can’t admit he has done something that many and you like.

    It appears to me that at least 18 of the 20 readers of this blog suffer from some form of
    Reed Derangement Syndrome. I bet the Affordable Care Act has a program to treat this illness.


  5. Rynstone says:

    They have medication called Trumpex to treat Trump Derangement Syndrome. I am not a medical doctor but perhaps this might work for Reed Derangement Syndrome


  6. Rynstone says:

    Lets hope Reed Derangement Syndrome sufferers in NY State does not get as bad as Trump Derangement Syndrome
    The Democrat party has been taken over by ANTIFA and Communists

    The Future of the Democrat Party from a college Campus near you!


  7. whungerford says:

    I haven’t deleted the above spam because it illuminates how foreign propaganda spreads. In Isaac Asimov’s short story “Jokester,” super computers determine that humor is of extraterrestrial origin. Similarly, this spam has the ring of foreign propaganda, likely Russian.


  8. Carol says:

    You sure get wound up when someone doesn’t agree with you, Gary


  9. Carol says:

    Thank you, whungerford.


  10. Anne says:

    “Clearly unconstitutional,” Gary? Care to explain? (Though first I want to know where you received your J.D.) The real derangement I feel is from the way our public education system has so clearly failed so many voters who just don’t seem to understand how they’re being played. (And in case your critical reading skills are on a par with your critical thinking skills, I’m referring to you, Gary.)


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