Purpose To quantify Medicare beneficiary proximity to his or her yttrium–aluminum–garnet (YAG) laser capsulotomy–providing ophthalmologist and optometrist in Oklahoma by calculating driving distances and times. Design Cross-sectional cohort study using 2014 Oklahoma Medicare 100% and 5% data sets and Google Maps distance and travel time application programming interfaces. Participants U.S. fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries and Oklahoma ophthalmologist and optometrist laser capsulotomy providers. Methods The 2014 Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Limited 100% and 5% datasets from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) were obtained to identify the office street addresses of Oklahoma ophthalmologists and optometrists who submitted claims to Medicare for a YAG laser capsulotomy, and the county addresses of the corresponding Medicare beneficiaries who received the laser capsulotomy. The shortest travel distances and travel times between the beneficiary and the laser provider were calculated by using Google Maps distance and travel time application programming interfaces. Main Outcome Measures Beneficiary driving distances and times to his or her YAG laser capsulotomy–providing Oklahoma ophthalmologist and optometrist. Results In 2014, 90 (57%) of 157 Oklahoma ophthalmologists and 65 (13%) of 506 Oklahoma optometrists submitted a total of 7521 and 3751 YAG laser capsulotomy claims to Medicare, respectively. By using the Medicare Limited 5% dataset, there was no difference in driving distance between beneficiaries who received a laser capsulotomy from an ophthalmologist (median, 39 miles; interquartile range [IQR], 13–113 miles) compared with an optometrist (median, 46 miles; IQR, 13–125 miles; P = 0.93) or in driving time to an ophthalmologist (median, 47 minutes; IQR, 19–110 minutes) compared with an optometrist (median, 50 minutes; IQR, 17–117 minutes; P = 0.76). Conclusions For Medicare beneficiaries, there was no difference in geographic access to YAG laser capsulotomy whether performed by an Oklahoma ophthalmologist or optometrist as determined by calculated driving distances and times.
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