Claim: Pediatric ophthalmologist Dr. Zane Pollard penned an editorial on health care reform entitled "ObamaCare and Me."
I have been sitting quietly on the sidelines watching all of this national debate on healthcare. It is time for me to bring some clarity to the table by explaining many of the problems from the perspective of a doctor.
First off, the government has involved very few of us physicians in the healthcare debate. While the American Medical Association has come out in favor of the plan, it is vital to remember that the AMA only represents 17% of the American physician workforce.
I have taken care of Medicaid patients for 35 years while representing the only pediatric ophthalmology group left in Atlanta, Georgia, that accepts Medicaid. For example, in the past six months I have cared for three young children on Medicaid who had corneal ulcers. This is a potentially blinding situation because if the
cornea perforates from the infection, almost surely blindness will occur. In all three cases the antibiotic needed for the eradication of the infection was not on the approved Medicaid list.
Each time I was told to fax Medicaid for the approval forms, which I did. Within 48 hours the form came back to me which was sent in immediately via fax, and I was told that I would have my answer in 10 days. Of course by then each child would have been blind in the eye.
Each time the request came back denied. All three times I personally provided the antibiotic for each patient which was not on the Medicaid approved list. Get the
point — rationing of care.
Over the past 35 years I have cared for over 1,000 children born with congenital cataracts. In older children and in adults the vision is rehabilitated with an intraocular lens. In newborns we use contact lenses which are very expensive. It takes Medicaid over one year to approve a contact lens post-cataract surgery. By that time a successful anatomical operation is wasted as the child will be close to blind from a lack of focusing for so long a period of time.
Again, extreme rationing. Solution: I have a foundation here in Atlanta, supported 100 percent by private funds, which supplies all of these contact lenses for my Medicaid and illegal immigrant children for free. Again, waiting for the government would be disastrous.
Origins: Dr. Zane F. Pollard is a pediatric ophthalmologist with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, who describes his background as follows:
I did my undergraduate work at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. I graduated Tulane University medical School Alpha Omega Alpha (medical school's top 10% of graduating class). Internship at the Univ. of Southern California in Los Angeles, one year of General surgery residency at the U. of California in San Francisco. Two years in the US Navy. Residency in Ophthalmology at the U. of S. California in Los Angeles, fellowship in pediatric Ophthalmology at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. In practice with Eye Consultants of Atlanta for the past 35 years. Published 90 papers in peer reviewed Scientific Ophthalmology Journals. Member of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Ophthalmological Society. Board certified in Ophthalmology.
Dr. Pollard's above-referenced editorial on health care reform, entitled "ObamaCare and Me," was published on the American Thinker web site on 6 August 2009.