Purpose To estimate the rate and geographic variation of cataract surgery that is managed jointly by ophthalmologists and optometrists in aging Americans. Design Database study. Participants United States fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare Part B beneficiaries and their providers. Methods Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data furnished by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid were used to identify cataract surgery claims among FFS Medicare Part B beneficiaries in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2012 and 2013. Payments and joint management rates of cataract surgery by ophthalmologists and optometrists were calculated for each United States state. Geographic variations were evaluated by using the extremal quotient and coefficient of variation (CV). Main Outcome Measures Medicare allowed payments for cataract surgery (Current Procedural Terminology codes 66982 and 66984) and number of unique FFS Medicare Part B beneficiaries undergoing cataract surgery. Results The overall national rate of joint management of cataract surgery by ophthalmologists and optometrists among FFS Medicare Part B beneficiaries was 10.9% (range by state, 0%-75%) in 2012 and 11.1% (range by state, 0%-63%) in 2013. In 2013, the mean extremal quotient was 67 and the CV was 82.2, demonstrating very high variation in joint management between states. The Medicare allowed payment to optometrists in the joint management of cataract surgery was 2.1% of the total Medicare allowed payments for cataract surgery codes in 2012 and 2013. Twenty percent and 24% of all Medicare-participating optometrists submitted10 or more Medicare claims in the joint management of cataract surgery in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Conclusions The overall rate of joint management of cataract surgery by ophthalmologists and optometrists among Medicare beneficiaries was 10.9% in 2012 and 11.1% in 2013. Very high geographic variation was documented, with joint management rates ranging from 0% to 63% across states in 2013.
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