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May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015

For More Information Contact:

Jennifer Burke
Summit Medical Group
Marketing/Communications Director
[email protected]

Jamie Arnold, APR
Welch Allyn, Inc.
Public Relations Manager
[email protected]


Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most prevalent but preventable blinding diseases in the world, more than 100 million affected

Skaneateles Falls, NY, May 13, 2015 – Welch Allyn, Inc., a leading medical diagnostic device company that delivers practical innovation at the point of care, today announced an exclusive three-year agreement to provide onsite diabetic retinopathy screening services for Summit Medical Group  East Tennessee’s largest primary care organization, comprised of 220 physicians who engage in almost one million patient encounters annually.

welchDiabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults[1]. With early detection, the sight-threatening disease can be treated and the risk of severe vision loss decreased by more than 90 percent[2]. Unfortunately, nearly half of all diabetic patients do not get the recommended annual retinal exam[3] due to either lack of access to specialist care or lack of compliance with their doctor’s referral.

SummitSS_ColorUsing its award-winning RetinaVue™ Network that combines retinal imaging with proprietary over-read architecture and a network of board-certified physicians, Welch Allyn enables retinal screening for diabetic retinopathy as part of a routine primary or convenient care visit.  By improving access and making the screening more convenient, compliance rates can double in less than 12 months[4].  Increased compliance permits earlier detection and treatment of the disease to help prevent severe vision loss.

“The agreement with Summit Medical Group is a great opportunity for both organizations to work together to provide sight-saving solutions in primary care settings where there is the largest potential for impact on improving population health, while also lowering the cost of care,” said Scott Gucciardi, Welch Allyn senior vice president, New Healthcare Delivery Solutions at Welch Allyn.

“This alliance is another example of Summit Medical Group’s commitment to quality that has led our primary care physicians to rank top ten in the nation for all three categories of National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition: Patient Centered Medical Home, Diabetes Recognition Program, and Heart/Stroke Recognition Program,” said Ed McBride, MD, vice president of Clinical Services at Summit Medical Group.

RetinaVue retinal screening for diabetic retinopathy has other potential benefits.  In addition to the obvious benefit of preserving vision, diabetic retinopathy screening can help both provider practices and payer systems to comply with quality-of-care metrics established for diabetic patients under various state and federal healthcare programs and with insurance plan accreditation. For health insurers, annual retinal examinations are included in the NCQA HEDIS health insurance plan accreditation program, as well as the Medicare Advantage “Stars” quality rating program.  Providers participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP ACOs), Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Value Based Purchasing (VBP), and Meaningful Use Programs may also have performance payments tied in part to the performance of annual diabetic retinopathy screenings. For more information about Welch Allyn RetinaVue Network visit

[1] Ruta LM, Magliano DJ, Lemesurier R, Taylor HR, Zimmet PZ, Shaw JE. Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in Type 2 diabetes in developing and developed countries. Diabet Med 2013; 30: 387-398.

[2] American Academy of Ophthalmology Retina/Vitreous Panel. Preferred Practice Pattern Guidelines. Diabetic Retinopathy. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2008:7.

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Health Indicators Warehouse.

[4] Garg S, Jani PD, Kshirsagar AV, King B, Chaum E. Telemedicine and Retinal Imaging for Improving Diabetic Retinopathy Evaluation. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Oct 1:1-2.


About Summit Medical Group

Summit Medical Group has more than 220 physicians at 54 practice locations in 12 East Tennessee counties as well as four ancillary service centers, eight physical therapy centers, four express clinics, and one sleep services center. Summit provides healthcare services to an average of more than 270,000 patients and is dedicated to offering value-based care. Summit’s Statcare division provides superior care for hospitalized patients and includes more than 60 physicians working with mid-level providers. For more information, visit

About Summit Strategic Solutions

Summit Strategic Solutions, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, specializes in providing customized, consumer-focused services that deliver value and efficiency while improving outcomes and quality of life. Summit Strategic Solutions includes a Management Services Organization (MSO) that provides business, operational, financial, and legal services for its customers.

About Welch Allyn, Inc.

Since 1915 Welch Allyn has brought a unique perspective to developing diagnostic solutions by combining pragmatic knowledge with a visionary spirit of innovation and ongoing improvement.  As a leading global manufacturer of physical examination instruments and accessories and EMR-connected vital signs and cardiac monitoring solutions, the company has a steadfast commitment to delivering superlative medical products, services and solutions that help healthcare professionals provide better care for their patients.  Welch Allyn is headquartered in Skaneateles Falls, N.Y. (USA) and employs nearly 2,600 people in 26 different countries. Visit for more information.  Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Maria Cornelius