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Special Supplement/Helping Hands – India Abroad

August 21, 2009

By Arthur J Pais

Dr Vadrevu K Raju has received many honors for his humanitarian work in saving the eyes of the poor not only in India but half a dozen countries ranging from Iraq to America – but the emotions he felt Srinu Muddula, who earned his doctorate in pharmaceutical studies from Rutgers University this year and began working for a major company, and who presented his first paycheck to the Eye Foundation of America that Raju started I n 1979, was transcendent.

It was in 1979 that Muddula had corneal transplants to both eyes, at the age of 2. His family had travelled to Morgantown, West Virginia, Raju’s home for more than three decades. The surgery was free and most of the other expenses were also born by Raju – now, it was time for Muddula to pay him back.

“You feel blessed when something like this happens,” he said, referring to Muddula’s gesture.

Muddula, who attended a fundraiser for the Eye Foundation of America last year which raised $750,000, declared: “If it wasn’t the foundation, I would not be here. I would not be talking to you. I would have been blind.”

State Journal

The July edition of Medical Economics magazine contained what might be a surprise to a lot of West Virginians.

The publication named the Mountain State as one of the 10 best places for physicians to practice. West Virginia ranked ninth on the list.

The positives the article listed included the state’s relatively low unemployment rate, which was 7.5 percent at the time the magazine was published. That was well below the national rate and the rates of neighboring states at the time.

Another positive was that the state saw income increase in 2008 as opposed to decreases in the rest of the nation. The magazine quoted a recruiter who said some annual compensation packages for doctors who come to West Virginia run $200,000 to $225,000.

Meanwhile, Medical Economics lists the state’s median annual primary care compensation at $151,500, which was the lowest listed in the article.

West Virginia came in just ahead of Alaska, which was ranked at 10. The rest of the list was:

8. Alabama

7. Minnesota

6. Oregon

5. New Hampshire

4. North Dakota

3. Indiana

2. Wisconsin

1. Texas

 

Although West Virginia made the list, the article did mention some negatives about practicing here.

“Despite reforms in 2001, malpractice liability insurance rates, while on the downward trend, are still some of the most expensive among the 10 Best Places to Practice,” the journal said. “The state is also gradually enacting a number of corporate and income tax reforms, which add to an already higher than average tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation.”

West Virginia’s malpractice insurance rate listed in the article at $20,528 to $23,057 per year. The only other state on the list that comes close is Texas, which as a rate range of $8,839 to $31,668. The median rate in Texas, however, is $16,674.

Medical Economics lists Beckley as the “Best town you’ve never heard of.”

Dominion Post

Section: Opinion

August 19, 2009

Clash over scope of optometrists needs to be reworked in Legislature

It’s no surprise that optometrists and ophthalmologists didn’t see eye to eye on former House Bill 2978.

Though this bill, which relates to the practice of optometry, will probably reappear in next year’s regular legislative session with a different number and different language, it’s still out of focus.

State optometrists argue that allowing them to practice what they are “trained” to do will not only provide better access to eyecare, but will make it more affordable.

Ophthalmologists claim that optometrists want to perform surgery without proper training, let alone a medical degree.

As nearly 80 million baby boomers begin to become Medicare-eligible, health care workforce and access issues rise to the top of policy makers’ agenda, coinciding with the Academy’s own initiatives. An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report released this month points to a shortage of practitioners serving older people. To improve ophthalmologists’ ability to keep up with the growing eye health needs of society, an Academy-produced white paper series (member login required) considers the best practices for high patient throughput in three practice types:

March 1 was the deadline for Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) accreditation for any new physician practices or new office locations, including ophthalmologists’ offices that supply post-cataract eyewear. The Academy strongly disagrees with the necessity of such accreditation for any physician practices and met with CMS on April 16, along with the AMA and several other health care provider groups.

The Academy is presenting on LASIK at a briefing tomorrow of the FDA’s Ophthalmic Devices Panel. The meeting provides an opportunity for the FDA to hear from the public and experts about LASIK satisfaction issues; several unhappy patients are expected to testify.

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