Academy Advocates for Regular Pediatric Vision Screenings to Identify Eye Issues
The Academy is advocating for regular pediatric vision screenings to identify eye issues as an essential benefit in health plans offered through state insurance exchanges. Michael X. Repka, MD, the Academy's medical director for governmental affairs, presented evidence-based recommendations for regular screenings to identify eye issues in children and young adults during a meeting with Department of Health and Human Services officials last week. The Academy, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, recommends that the essential children's vision benefit begin with regular eye screenings within the medical home, and cover a comprehensive eye exam, including refraction, for children or adolescents who fail a screening, have an unfavorable risk assessment, report a visual problem or cannot complete a screening. The groups also recommend coverage for glasses, contact lenses or low-vision aids determined to be necessary by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. The health-care reform law stipulates that HHS is to determine essential benefits included in the exchange health plans. HHS is expected to release its recommendations for minimum-benefits coverage by Dec. 31.