American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
This Year’s Laureate Dr. Dohlman
The board of trustees of the Academy is proud to announce the selection of Claes H. Dohlman, MD, as the recipient of the Laureate Recognition Award for 2007.
Dr. Dohlman is recognized as the founder of modern corneal science and for his years of teaching and educating young ophthalmologists in the field of cornea. Dr. Dohlman created the fellowship program at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Retina Foundation, which was the first formal corneal fellowship program in the United States. He has also trained hundreds of fellows, many of whom are full professors.
In recognition of his contributions to ophthalmology, we acknowledge the debt we all owe to him for his commitment to teaching and education, enabling many of his students to leave their own mark on the profession.
Mark Your Calendars for CODEquest
The AAOE’s CODEquest Ophthalmic Coding College is a one-day seminar sponsored by your state society to get you up to speed on state and specialty-specific coding information. Find out what’s new in 2007 and what’s coming in 2008. Learn about CPT, ICD-9, OIG investigations and more, and get answers to all your coding questions.
For a complete schedule and registration instructions, visit www.aao.org/codequest.
Reach Out With the EyeSmart Public Awareness Campaign
In July, the Academy launched the EyeSmart campaign, a public education initiative to bolster awareness of eye disease, injuries and infections, and the role ophthalmologists play in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions.
The campaign will initially focus on five major eye diseases—age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye and glaucoma—and the coming spike of these diseases among the Baby Boomer generation. EyeSmart’s goals are to:
EyeSmart is a response, in part, to members’ requests for the Academy to increase the public’s knowledge about ophthalmology. We will need your help to make this campaign a success.
BCSC 2007–2008 Now Available Online
The 2007–2008 online edition of the Basic and Clinical Science Course (Product # 283007V) is now available for purchase. This new format offers password-protected access, enhanced search capabilities and user-friendly features. It also includes:
This product costs $685 for Academy members ($982 for nonmembers).
To place an order, visit www.aao.org/store or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8540.
Newest OTA: Corneal Thickness Measurement
The Ophthalmic Technology Assessment of Corneal Thickness Measurement in the Management of Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (Product # 112059), published in Ophthalmology this month, evaluates the published literature to assess whether central corneal thickness is a risk factor for the presence, development or progression of glaucomatous optic nerve damage related to primary open-angle glaucoma. This product costs $11 for Academy members ($16 for nonmembers).
To place an order, visit www.aao.org/store or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8540. OTAs can also be downloaded for free online. Visit www.aao.org/education and click “Ophthalmic Technology Assessments.”
Oklahoma Academy Leader to Participate in SOE EuLDP
Amalia Miranda, MD, current president-elect of the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology (OAO), will join 27 ophthalmologists who were nominated by national European ophthalmological societies to participate in the 2007–2009 European Society of Ophthalmology’s (SOE) European Leadership Development Programme (EuLDP). Dr. Miranda, originally from Spain and now practicing in Oklahoma City, joined her EuLDP colleagues who hail from all across Europe in a June EuLDP orientation session held in Vienna in conjunction with the Joint Congress of the SOE and the Academy. The congress provided Dr. Miranda an opportunity to interact with leadership of the Spanish Ophthalmology Society and provide input.
“Participating in the SOE leadership development program will be a great opportunity to exchange cultural, scientific and practice management ideas with my counterparts in Europe. From my end, I think I can bring the Oklahoma experience and the history of scope-of-practice battles to help my colleagues understand what has transpired in the United States,” said Dr. Miranda.
Foundation Staff Member Elected President of OHSJenny Benjamin, the director of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Museum of Vision and the Stanley M. Truhslen, MD, director of Ophthalmic Heritage, was elected president of the Ocular Heritage Society (OHS). The OHS was founded in 1982 to bring people together from different backgrounds who share a common interest in preserving the heritage of ophthalmology. Ms. Benjamin, along with her responsibilities to the Museum of Vision, will be playing a key role in the development of the OHS’ annual meeting in San Francisco in April 2008.
The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin has awarded Vadrevu K. Raju, MD, with the Distinguished Community Service Award. A native of Rajahmundry, India, he has also performed more than 15,000 volunteer operations in India, restoring vision to children and adults.
Ophthalmology has lost three seminal figures.
Robert N. Shaffer, MD, for whom the honorary lecture in glaucoma is named, died July 13. He was 95. The Shaffer lecture is presented each year during the Academy’s Annual Meeting.
Dr. Shaffer was born Jan. 18, 1912, in Meadville, Penn. He earned his medical degree from Stanford University and completed his residency at Stanford Lane Hospital in San Francisco. He stayed in Calfornia to establish the first glaucoma clinic in the West at the University of California, San Francisco in 1942.
Well known as a leading glaucoma specialist, he coauthored, with Bernard Becker, MD, the definitive textbook Diagnosis and Therapy of the Glaucomas, which was first published in 1961. And since 1965, more than 40 Shaffer Fellows went through the personal training in glaucoma that Dr. Shaffer offered to one promising young doctor each year. Later, in 1978, he cofounded with H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, and John Hetherington MD, the Glaucoma Research Foundation, which funds research to find a cure for glaucoma.
J. William Rosenthal, MD, an Academy member for 52 years, passed away June 28, 2007. He was 84.
He earned his medical degree at Tulane University in 1945, his doctor of science degree from University of Pennsylvania in 1956 and was in private practice in New Orleans from 1951 through 2004. He was the president of the Lions Club and the New Orleans Academy of Ophthalmology, as well as chief of ophthalmology at the New Orleans Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital.
In addition, Dr. Rosenthal served as a founding director of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Museum of Vision, chairman of the Museum of Vision committee and vice chairman of the Academy Foundation board.
Robert H. Kennedy, MD, passed away June 23, 2007, while running a 5K race in Key Largo, Fla. He was 53. Dr. Kennedy attended Mayo Medical School and completed a residency in ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic and a fellowship in ophthalmic plastic surgery at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. In addition, he held a doctorate degree in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota.
He was a faculty member at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas prior to cofounding North Texas Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery. Dr. Kennedy was an associate examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology and was president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Annual Business Meeting
Notice is hereby given that the annual business meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology will be held on Sunday, Nov. 11, in the Auditorium at the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, from 10 to 10:30 a.m.
Proposed Fee Schedule Boosts Payments
Ophthalmology and the Academy scored a major victory in July as CMS proposed to accept the AMA’s Relative-Value Update Committee (RUC) recommendation that payments for Eye Codes be adjusted to fall in line with the increases instituted in 2007 for E&M services. This would restore the relationship between these services that had existed prior to 2007, and will result in an increase in payments for ophthalmology of $154 million, or approximately 2 percent. CMS released the proposed rule for the 2008 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule in early July.
However, ophthalmologists and other specialists still face nearly 11 percent in reductions. This is due to the negative 9.9 percent update resulting from the SGR formula, as well as the 1 percent cut from the practice expenses methodology transition. However, if Congress acts to block the 9.9 percent update, ophthalmology will end up with at least a 1 percent increase.
Last year, the Academy protested CMS’ decision to de-link E&M and eye visit codes, which led to the opportunity to resurvey the codes in December. The Academy presented the justification for the increase at the 2007 February RUC.
“Ophthalmology is the only surgical specialty to receive an increase in relative reimbursements, based on increases in the values of Eye Codes,” said Michael X. Repka, MD, the Academy’s secretary for Federal Affairs. “It took two years to convince both the AMA RUC and CMS that Eye Codes should see similar increases to the E&M codes approved previously by the CMS. This is a great, hard-earned victory.”
A cap on imaging service payments at the lowest amount paid for the service in either the hospital outpatient or office setting continues in 2008 with CMS adding six ophthalmic codes. CMS indicates there will be no discernable impact on ophthalmologists from this change. However, the Academy disagrees that these services were meant to be included in the definition of imaging services as outlined by Congress and will protest their inclusion. The final rule is expected to be released in November.
The CMS acceptance of the AMA RUC recommendation is expected to result in an increase in payments for ophthalmology of $154 million.