Industry pays optometrists $18.2M under Physician Payments Sunshine Act: 5 things to know

During the first year of mandatory reporting under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, optometrists accepted cash, cash equivalents or in-kind payments surpassing $18.2 million, according to Medscape.

Under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, manufacturers of drugs, devices, and biological or medical supplies, which Medicare and other plans cover, are required to report "payments or transfers of value provided to physicians or teaching hospitals" to CMS each year.

Researchers analyzed 36,426 optometrists who received payments totaling $18,289,817.

Here are five things to know:

1. Optometrist payments have a wide range from merely $1 up to $406,392.

2. The industry paid optometrists a total of more than $18.2 million, $13.2 million of which the industry paid to the top 10 percent of payment recipients.

3. The researchers found the average transaction value reached $111.

4. The average payment per physician was $502.

5. Erik Mothersbaugh, OD, a clinical instructor at the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, said these findings indicate financial gains can largely influence prescribing decisions.

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