Anthem Inc., the umbrella company for Empire BlueCross BlueShield, is implementing a new rule that eliminates coverage for nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists during routine cataract surgery.
This new rule means that eye surgeons have to sedate the patients, perform the surgery and monitor their vital signs.
While Anthem states that the new policy was based upon the recommendation of a panel of medical experts, ophthalmologists, nurse anesthetists and major medical societies are banding together to voice strong opposition for the new rule and asking Anthem to rescind it before it goes into effect.
Ophthalmologists are not trained in anesthesiology and their attention is focused on the eye when doing surgery. Eye surgeons worry such a huge change will not only harm patients but other insurers might follow in the footsteps of Anthem follow suit.**