MedPAC Considers Medicare Payment Cuts for Specialists
Officials from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent Congressional advisory committee, today said MedPAC is considering recommending that physicians, along with hospitals, pharmaceuticals and Medicare Advantage, pay the more than $300 billion cost to repeal the SGR. If adopted by Congress, this funding plan would freeze Medicare payments to primary-care physicians at their current rate and cut Medicare payments to specialists by 18 percent, spread over three years. In the past, MedPAC said cuts of this magnitude would result in serious access problems for Medicare beneficiaries, and instead recommended small, positive payment increases for physicians. MedPAC will present its recommendations to Congress in October.

Medical Associations to Congress: Pass Medicare Physician-Pay Fix Now!
The Academy has joined a coalition of other medical associations in an American Medical Association (AMA) grassroots campaign calling for a permanent Medicare physician pay fix. The coalition is advocating for repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that is used to update Medicare physician pay. Physicians are scheduled for a 30 percent Medicare pay cut on Jan. 1, unless Congress intervenes. The coalition is urging the new joint House and Senate committee, charged with recommending $1.2 trillion in federal deficit savings, to include a permanent SGR fix in its plan. Congressional leaders are not commenting, or are pessimistic that the committee will include the more than $300 billion fix in its recommendations. The coalition, however, pointed out that every significant Congressional budget proposal has included replacing the SGR formula in its comprehensive deficit reduction plan. Continue reading on the AAO Eye on Advocacy blog at  www.aao.org

Our new Texas City office is nearing completion and we are on schedule to open the doors on Monday, September 26th.  The new address is 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110.  The office is located next to the Mainland Medical Center professional building.

Our Economy Is Good

There is no question that our national economy has been in the doldrums for the past several years and some might say that it has been worse than that, but Texas, and particularly Houston, has been fortunate to have been spared the worst. Those of us who live and work in the Clear Lake area have been wrestling with the end of the Shuttle Program at Johnson Space Center and the loss of jobs that this has entailed. While this has been troubling, a recent communication from Bob Mitchell, President of Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership is very encouraging.

It seems that NASA, while discontinuing the Shuttle Program, is embarking on a new and ambitious effort to expand the commercialization of space and some of those projects are being developed right here. There are at least two companies that have been funded, who will hire about 250 people to pursue space projects in Clear Lake.

In addition to space related opportunities, Bob points out that many of our other local industries; chemical, electronic, and medical, are expanding and hiring some of the engineering talent that so abounds in this area as a result of the Space Program.

There are a number of other projects and expansions that are slated for this region and in particular, Ellington Field, that hold promise for continuing the economic vitality of Houston and The Bay Area in particular. We are indeed fortunate to live and work in such a vibrant community.

 

Introducing Botox and Juvederm

Non-invasive cosmetic procedures can reshape and enhance normal facial features that will help with self esteem. As we age, our skin elasticity decreases and that can lead to wrinkles and loss of volume. For those unwanted wrinkles, there’s BOTOX®. For loss of volume, there’s dermal fillers.

BOTOX® Cosmetic is a prescription medicine that is administered by a healthcare professional as a simple, nonsurgical treatment. It is injected directly into the muscles between the brows injected into muscles and used to improve the look of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) in people 18 to 65 years of age for a short period of time (temporary). BOTOX® is a purified protein that works by blocking overactive nerve impulses that trigger excessive muscle contractions. This reduces muscle activity that causes moderate to severe lines to form between the brows. Individual results may vary.

BOTOX® Cosmetic is a prescription medicine that is injected into muscles and used to improve the look of the “11s,” the moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines). It works by blocking nerve impulses to the injected muscles. This reduces muscle activity that causes moderate to severe lines to form between the brows.
JUVÉDERM® XC is the smooth gel filler that your doctor uses to instantly smooth away wrinkles around your mouth and nose. With just one treatment, you’ll get smooth and natural-looking results that last up to a year.†

Everyone’s skin ages differently and JUVÉDERM® XC may be used to rejuvenate multiple problem areas.* From smile lines to vertical lip lines, you can smooth away unwanted wrinkles and restore natural contours. Learn more about the individual treatment areas by rolling over the list below.

Young, healthy-looking skin contains an abundance of a naturally hydrating substance called hyaluronic acid (HA). But as you age, sunlight and other factors can reduce the amount of HA in your skin. The lack of HA causes your skin to lose structure and volume, creating unwanted facial wrinkles and folds – like those parentheses lines around your nose and mouth.

Using a dermal filler like JUVÉDERM® XC is a safe and effective way to replace the HA your skin has lost, bringing back its volume and smoothing away facial wrinkles and folds.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring molecule. Much like a sponge, its primary function is to bind and absorb water, which creates volume in the face. In this way, Hyaluronic acid can be thought of as the body’s internal moisturizer. But, as we age, HA diminishes, which contributes to the presence of lines and folds. JUVÉDERM® XC injectable gel works to correct this by restoring hyaluronic acid in your skin, helping to diminish wrinkles and nasolabial folds.

If you have qustions or would like more information about Botox or Juvederm, call 800-423-EYES.

Today marks the 20th Anniversary that we performed our first Laser Vision Correction Surgery. We are proud to have been a part of history in the making:
It all started with a grant from The Moody Foundation, allowing the purchase of the first FDA approved excimer laser in Texas.
We were the first to use the FDA approved laser to treat refractive errors and take people out of glasses.
There were only eight clinic study centers in the United States.
We treated 40 of the first 300 patients inoriginal FDA study.
Those 300 patients have grown to over 2 millions patients in this country alone.


In our part of the world it is most important to wear sunglasses because many studies have shown that ultraviolet light from the sun can contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration, and skin changes in the eyelids, including cancer.
Sunglasses should be worn in the summer, especially at the beach or in the water and in the winter when participating in outdoor sports like skiing at high altitudes. Additionally, some medications ( some psoriasis drugs, tetracycline, allopurinol) increase sensitivity to ultraviolet light.

The main factor in purchasing sunglasses (in addition to the cosmetic and aesthetic aspects) is how much ultraviolet (UV) A and B rays are blocked. Even clear glasses absorb some UV light, but certain added treatments to glasses give even better blockage of the harmful rays. The higher the percentage of UV blocking the better (100% is ideal).

Ground and polished lenses in the sunglasses are the best, even in non-prescription eyewear. Inexpensive lenses can cause distortion of images.

Polarized lenses cut down on reflected glare, as in looking at water in fishing and pavement in driving. Polarized lenses need to be combined with an additional chemical to block the harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Wraparound glasses are shaped to keep light from coming in around the frame and can often be combined with your prescription.

Gradient lenses are darker at the top and get lighter toward the bottom and are good for driving to see the dashboard better.
Mirror-coated lenses cut down on visible light, but do not necessarily cut down on the harmful UV rays.

Blue-blockers are the amber colored lenses that give a yellowish cast to objects. It is felt they are good for preventing macular degeneration are and popular for outdoor activities (skiing and hunting).

Patients who wear contact lenses and who have had cataract surgery with lens implants need to check with their eye doctor to see if the lenses cut out the harmful rays.

One pair of sunglasses does not fit every situation, but with the above information, you can get a start.