Keep Your Heads

Let’s face it folks. They see us coming a mile away! Here we are: older, maybe a little too trusting and slightly desperate. We are very often good pickins for the quacks and scam artists of the world.

Last month, May 2017 in real time, Modern Retina ran a piece on Medicare fraud as it relates to eye care. Unscrupulous doctors are fleecing Medicare literally out of billions of dollars.

These doctors are diagnosing every patient with wet AMD or some other condition without proper assessment. They are using treatments that have never been described or studied in the literature and sometimes don’t even offer that treatment but still bill.

One of the treatments was called ‘subthreshold laser’ treatment. The doctor writing the article indicated he had never seen any evidence suggesting subthreshold laser treatments helped wet AMD. He HAD however seen research suggesting these treatments were detrimental to those of us who have dry AMD.

In addition the doctor being prosecuted had billed for a totally different procedure than he had actually done. Not sure what he told his observant patients.

I have said it before (repeating myself a lot lately!) but if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. If no one has ever heard of the treatment, find out why. If your doctor asks you to go along with fraudulent billing because “no one understands” his great, new process, decline.

It is a federal offense and you do not want to be part of it. And perhaps most importantly, if he asks you to pay thousands for an ‘experimental’ procedure, run the other way.

Patients do not pay for experimental treatments. They pay us.

People get desperate and grasp at straws, but remember: the time and money and heartache you are spending on these so called treatments may leave you ineligible for later, proven treatments. They may injure you more. They may scam you out of big bucks and leave you with nothing to show for it.

Unfortunately as it stands now, there are no proven treatments for dry AMD. Anti-VEGF treatments stop the growth of new vessels but leave the underlying disease. I understand your frustrations. I share your frustration. That does not mean we have to be stupid about it.

Making decisions based solely on emotion is bad business. Keep your heads. There is progress being made. Wait for it.

written June 12th, 2017

Next: Lions & Tigers & Bears…Oh My!

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