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These patients can require a lot of care and chair time, and the uncertainty of getting reimbursement can make it financially challenging, particularly for young, uninsured or underinsured patients, who might benefit the most from the procedure.
This procedure could end up being done mostly as a labor of love by surgeons who are willing to do whatever is necessary to help these patients—which, of course, is the right thing to do. Zadno notes that keratoconus is an orphan indication for the procedure. Furthermore, this is a one-time treatment; some expensive drugs have to be used monthly.
More important, our goal is to pursue new applications for cross-linking and improve the procedure, which requires resources. Zadno says that some doctors are concerned that raising the cost of the drugs will lower their reimbursement for the procedure.
The fee the physician charges is up to him or her. Meanwhile, our job is to work with the insurance companies to show the benefits of the procedure and convince them of its merits.
We decided to take the lead in the effort to obtain reimbursement so that more patients could have access to this procedure, including submitting to obtain a J-code for the drugs. In January, there were three insurance companies covering cross-linking. As of May, there are 14 companies across the country covering cross-linking, including Aetna. Physicians should be reimbursed for the procedure. Payers should save money by avoiding paying for corneal transplants. And it should make sense for us, the manufacturer, so that we can continue developing this technology for the future.
Steinert, MD, known for his leadership and expertise in the areas of cataract, refractive and corneal surgery. Steinert was a pioneer in LASIK, laser refractive surgery and corneal transplantation, developing new techniques that have preserved and improved vision for millions of individuals around the world.
He died peacefully at his home in Vail, Colorado, from complications of glioblastoma. He was 66 years old. He began teaching at Harvard Medical School in , eventually becoming an associate clinical professor; in he became a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, Irvine.
His list of accomplishments is remarkable. They include being the Irving H. While achieving all of this, he managed to maintain an active consultative practice in cataract, cornea and refractive surgery, and was on the editorial boards of several major ophthalmology journals. His textbook Cataract Surgery is considered the definitive reference on that topic. He was able to approach almost any situation with a cool and collected demeanor. He approached obstacles with a friendly smile, always taking the long view, keeping things in perspective.
He was a creator of possibilities. It was largely because of his dedication that we were able to construct the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute.
One of the things I will miss most is his sense of humor. We shared many good times together. Roger: One of the greatest gifts ever given to me was to be mentored by you and to call you a friend. Your legacy will live on in those you have trained and we will strive to make you proud.
I will miss you. Rest in Peace.
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