EyeNet Magazine

Academy Notebook

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What's Happening 

Norm Abram Helps Academy Promote Eye Protection

He’s been informally spreading the word for years, but with a new public service announcement recorded for radio and television, PBS’s Norm Abram is officially an advocate for eye safety. In spots recorded for use by the Academy’s EyeSmart campaign, Mr. Abram reiterates the message he’s included in broadcasts of The New Yankee Workshop for years: When working in the shop or doing other activities with an injury risk, think about eye protection first.

To view the public service announcement, visit www.geteyesmart.org/injuries.


EyeNet Earns High Scores in Media Rankings

EyeNet Magazine would like to thank its readers for helping us earn top rankings in the 2009 Nielsen Focus and Media-Chek surveys. EyeNet ranked No. 1 in High Readers (all ophthalmic publications) and Average Issue Ad Exposure (nonpeer- reviewed publications). EyeNet also ranked No. 1 for the fifth year in a row in Reader Frequency (nonpeer- reviewed publications).



International Scholar and Ophthalmologist Education Awards

The Academy has developed two international awards recognizing members from outside the United States for their commitment to lifelong learning.

To receive the International Ophthalmologist Education Award, interested members need to complete 90 continuing medical education credits within a three-year period. At least half the credits must be Academy-sponsored CME. Both Academy and non- Academy CME must be recorded on the Academy’s online transcript service. Only credits earned after applying for the award can be counted.

Members who have already received the International Ophthalmologist Education Award are eligible to apply for the International Scholar Award. To qualify to receive this award, interested members need to achieve 60 CME within a two-year period after applying and must pass a timed online self-assessment.

In recognition of these honors, award recipients will receive a certificate and will be listed on the Academy Web site, in the Annual Meeting Final Program and in EyeNet.

For more information, or to apply for these awards, visit www.aao.org/international. To access the online CME transcript service, visit www.aao.org/cme.


Academy Store 

Check Out the Latest Clinical Education Videos

The Academy has recently released the following new and updated clinical DVDs and CD-ROM:

  • The Challenging Cases in Cataract Surgery (#252419) and Complications During Cataract Surgery (#252421) DVDs are designed to enhance and expand the skills of the cataract specialist. They are each $140 for members and $190 for nonmembers.
  • The Front Row View: Video Collections of Eye Surgery, Series 3 (#0252416) is the third installation of the popular DVD series. It demonstrates clinical techniques, innovative surgical procedures and educational concepts across six subspecialties, and is $129 for members and $180 for nonmembers.
  • The Eye Care Skills: Presentations for Physicians and Other Health Care Professionals CD-ROM (#0240391) includes educational and training presentations targeted at nonophthalmic medical professionals. This new version includes readyto- use presentations on eight important ophthalmic topics, the ability to edit slide content and a library of more than 500 full-color image and text slides. It is $190 for members and $245 for nonmembers.


New DSEK OTA Available

The Ophthalmic Technology Assessment of Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty: Safety and Outcomes (#112068), published in September’s Ophthalmology, surveys the evidence that supports the safety and effectiveness of DSEK for endothelial diseases of the cornea.

This product costs $11 for members and $16 for nonmembers. OTAs can also be downloaded for free online.


Inform Your Patients With New Cataract Surgery DVD

The third edition of the Understanding Cataract Surgery (#050112) patient education DVD includes explanations of cataracts and cataract surgery, an animation for YAG laser capsulotomy, real patients discussing their experiences and an OMICreviewed “Aid to Informed Consent” chapter.

Looped and Spanishlanguage versions are also included with the DVD.

This third edition is $225 for members and $295 for nonmembers.

To view clips from this DVD, visit www.aao.org/cataractdvd. To view a list of all Patient Education DVDs, visit www.aao.org/patienteddvds.


Academy Introduces New Edition of Its Manual for Residents

The new edition of Practical Ophthalmology: A Manual for Beginning Residents, Sixth Edition (#0210011) will be available for purchase at the Joint Meeting in San Francisco.

This 340-page book covers each element of a thorough ophthalmic exam, organized in the order they are performed.

It features step-by-step instructions for 66 clinical procedures, several tips for avoiding or resolving common problems, and discussion of ocular emergencies and common eye medications.

The book is $75 for members and $110 for nonmembers.


Order 2010 Coding Products Today

The following AAOE coding products are now available for purchase:

  • 2010 Ophthalmic Coding Series: Essential Modules Collection (#012369
  • 2010 Introduction to Ophthalmic Coding Module (#012371)
  • 2010 Ophthalmic Coding Series: Specialty Modules collection (#012370)
  • 2010 ICD-9 for Ophthalmology (#012389)
  • 2010 ICD-9 Quick Reference Card (#012396)

Other updated coding resources, though not yet available, can be preordered.

  • 2010 CPT Pocket Guide for Ophthalmology (#012390)
  • 2010 Ophthalmic Coding Coach (#012366)
  • AMA's 2010 CPT Standard Edition (#012393)
  • AMA's 2010 CPT Professional Edition (#012392)
  • AMA's 2010 HCPCS Level II Professional (#012391)

For more information about these coding products and for pricing, visit www.aao.org/codingproducts.


Academy Store

To order products from the Academy Store, 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. To learn more about these products, visit us in the Academy Resource Center (Moscone North, Booth #3569) at the 2009 Joint Meeting.


Members At Large 

Illinois Association of Ophthalmology’s Outreach in Vietnam

After the success of its 2008 trip to Hanoi, the Illinois Association of Ophthalmology (IAO) returned to Vietnam this July for the second phase of the organization’s skills transfer and outreach in the area.

The latest trip started with a phacoemulsification course that took place at the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) in partnership with Alcon- Vietnam.

Marian Sue Macsai-Kaplan, MD, and Ronald C. May, MD, taught the weeklong series of lectures, wet labs and surgeries to about 15 ophthalmologists from throughout the country. This was followed by a day of cataract surgery with two of these students at their clinic in Dong Ha, an area close to the Vietnamese demilitarized zone that has experienced serious economic and health challenges. Some 14 patients also received cataract surgery done jointly by IAO members and two local ophthalmologists, Drs. Hoang Thi Thu Ha and Nguyen My Sen.

“I am very gratified with Alcon’s sponsorship of our most recent program in Vietnam,” said Dr. May, the IAO project director. “They really stepped up to the plate, not only providing financial support to the Illinois doctors and the VNIO course but also donating IOLs, equipment and personnel for our surgery in Dong Ha.”

For more details about the IAO and its activities at home and abroad, visit www.ileyemd.org.


Candidates’ Views 

Meet the Board of Trustee’s Nominees for 2009 Election

In June, the Academy’s Board of Trustees nominated an official slate of officers for its 2010 Board of Trustees. The following have given their consent to serve if elected and therefore constitute the official slate. If the Academy’s membership approves all candidates, their respective terms begin Jan. 1, 2010. Members will be given the opportunity to vote online or by paper ballot for officers and trusteeat- large positions of the Board of Trustees.


Richard L. Abbott, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for President-Elect

Receiving the nomination for the position of President-Elect of the American Academy of Ophthalmology for 2010 from the Board of Trustees is an extraordinary honor and a privilege. I recognize that it is a formidable responsibility to serve in this position; however, I welcome the opportunity to lead an organization I have spent nearly 30 years serving as a volunteer on multiple committees, including the past 12 years on the Committee of Secretaries and the Board of Trustees. It has been one of the highlights of my career to work closely with many colleagues and friends in the areas of education, ophthalmic practice, quality care, global alliances and ophthalmic liability insurance. This experience has provided me a distinctive insight into our unique professional needs and requirements. It has also given me an appreciation of the remarkable talent and dedication of our members and Academy staff.

The Academy, as a professional organization, represents over 93 percent of practicing ophthalmologists in the United States and a growing number of ophthalmologists overseas. The expanding intricacies and rising costs of our health care system, as well as the evolving complexities and stresses placed on us as practitioners, will require increasing demands for innovative leadership and support from our Academy. With health care reform now on the horizon, creative ideas, as well as practical approaches to ease the bureaucratic burden for physicians and allow them to not only survive, but prosper in the new medical environment, will continue to be a high priority for the Academy. Strong advocacy efforts for appropriate reimbursement, continued work to achieve realistic scope of practice laws, improved tort reform legislation, and innovative educational products and support to most efficiently meet requirements for maintenance of certification and quality-based performance measures will be at the top of my list as your president. In addition, developing ophthalmic practice models that encourage efficient and cost-effective patient care to help meet the demands of the aging Baby Boomers will also be critical in assisting our members to meet the demands of a new health care environment.

James Rohack, MD, in his inaugural address as President of the AMA to the 2009 meeting of the House of Delegates stated, “As physicians, we are blessed. And with that comes responsibility. We must hold true to our Ethics as the Evolution of the American health care system unfolds. And never forget that we as a profession exist for the patients we serve.” If given the honor to serve as your president, I will work diligently to uphold this principle. I will be dedicated to advocate for our profession and our patients, to continue to enhance our educational products in providing upto- date, clinically relevant evidence-based information and to find new and proficient ways to reduce the burden we all face in the growing regulatory environment in which we practice. Ideally then, our limited professional time can remain focused primarily, where it should be, on the health and well-being of our patients.


George B. Bartley, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Trustee-at-Large

The American Academy of Ophthalmology, for more than a century, has served patients and practitioners with distinction. While taking pride in its history, the Academy must act wisely and assertively to address today’s unprecedented challenges. Success will require excellence in advocacy, in each of several dimensions.

The Academy must be an exemplary advocate for quality and value improvement, devising relevant methods to enhance patient safety and to demonstrate that the treatments we recommend are both effective and affordable. We expect no less when we ourselves are patients, and we would probably demand much more if we were personally responsible for balancing the health care budget. The onus—or, more optimistically, the opportunity—to prove value is ours.

The Academy must be an advocate for interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. Health care increasingly crosses traditional specialty training lines, so we must actively engage our colleagues throughout medicine to improve the overall body of knowledge. Fragmentation is an ever-present threat, not only to the care we provide for our patients but to the viability of our specialty if we neglect the realities of health care legislation and regulation.

To that end, the Academy must advocate for its members at local, state and national political forums. We are fortunate to have skilled and respected liaisons in this realm, and their efforts deserve our support.

The purpose of political advocacy, ultimately, is to ensure that medicine remains a profession rather than devolving into a commodity. Professionalism is characterized by adherence to principles that promote ethics, service and education. The Academy must conduct its business affairs with unimpeachable integrity; this is one of the specific responsibilities that the membership rightfully expects of its Board of Trustees. Professionalism spawns service, which has long been a hallmark of the Academy and is a great opportunity for growth both in the United States and abroad as the Academy’s international presence expands. Education is arguably the most lustrous jewel in the Academy’s crown. We are obliged to sustain and enhance our programs and offerings as a commitment to lifelong learning. This is the foundation on which the quality and value improvement goals mentioned earlier will be based.

Why must the Academy be successful? I find a statement written by Dr. William J. Mayo a century ago, in 1910, to be eminently relevant: “The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered, and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, union of forces is necessary.” By advocating partnerships between the subspecialties of ophthalmology, with other disciplines of medicine and health care, and with the public and its elected representatives, the American Academy of Ophthalmology will fulfill its mission of ensuring that the public can—and will—obtain the best possible eye care.


Jean E. Ramsey, MD, MPH
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Council Chair

It is a great honor to be nominated for the position of Council Chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. I invite my fellow Academy members to attend a Council session, at either the Annual Meeting or the Mid-Year Forum. You will witness firsthand the honest and frank debate and the diverse issues addressed. The Council functions as a dynamic and vibrant forum for discussion and the exchange of ideas. With active representatives from both state ophthalmology societies and subspecialty organizations, it has been and continues to be a stage for the identification of emerging concerns for our patients and profession. In a spirit of open communication and cooperation, the Council allows all voices to be heard and respected. Our profession and our Academy have reaped the benefits of the Council’s democratic process.

I have participated in the Council since 1999. I have been part of vigorous debate in this forum. For the past two years, I have represented the Council in the capacity of Vice-Chair on the Board of Trustees of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. I have also had the opportunity to be part of other Academy committees and task forces and, in this capacity, have worked with many dedicated members on common projects. As Director of the Pediatric Ophthalmology Service at Boston Medical Center, I see pediatric and trauma patients, and as Assistant Dean for Alumni Affairs at Boston University School of Medicine, I work closely with medical students, medical school administration, faculty and alumni. All of these experiences keep me rooted in patient care, and directly involved with the health care education and delivery system.

To my fellow Councilors, I have pledged my commitment to keep the Council strong and active, and to faithfully reflect the concerns of the Council when serving in the liaison role with the Academy. I make this same pledge to all my Academy colleagues.


Gregory L. Skuta, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Senior Secretary for Clinical Education

Although the American Academy of Ophthalmology has been highly active and successful in a variety of arenas, education always has been and should continue to be our very highest priority. It therefore has been an extraordinary privilege to serve as the Academy’s Senior Secretary for Clinical Education and is an honor to be nominated to serve for a second three-year term.

The Academy’s educational programs are broad and consistently outstanding in quality. As a prime example, the Basic and Clinical Science Course remains an established and vital educational instrument for residents and experienced practitioners alike. Recently, we have devoted particular emphasis toward (1) meeting the needs of our members who are participating in the American Board of Ophthalmology’s MOC process; (2) further developing our Web-based educational offerings; and, in an era of increasing globalization, (3) ensuring that we offer programs that address the needs of the worldwide ophthalmologic community. Indeed, the development and launch in November 2007 of the Ophthalmic News & Education (O.N.E.) Network have been vital to advancing the breadth, quality and reach of our educational programs. Other initiatives are under way to enhance our ability to deliver evidence-based eye care, to continually improve clinical and surgical practice (a key goal of all of our educational programs) and to ensure that our patients receive the highest possible quality of eye care.

As an active clinician, surgeon and medical educator who continues to actively participate in the MOC process, I am familiar with both the opportunities and challenges associated with lifelong learning. My experience as a former chair of the Academy’s Self-Assessment Committee (1993–1998), which produced the ProVision programs, as a member of the Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program Committee (1999–2000), and as Secretary for Ophthalmic Knowledge (2001–2006) provided valuable insights and preparation for my current role. Service as President of the American Glaucoma Society (2005–2006), as a Director of the American Board of Ophthalmology (2001–2008) and as a Director-at-Large for the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology (1993–1999) also has broadened my perspective and experience. In addition, the opportunity to serve on the Academy Awards Committee has only strengthened my respect and admiration for the hundreds of Academy members who willingly volunteer their time, energy, talents and resources to support the Academy’s mission “to enhance lifelong learning . . . of ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) ensuring that the public can obtain the best possible eye care.”

If re-elected as Senior Secretary for Clinical Education, I can affirm my commitment to serve as a guardian of the Academy’s educational programs and as advocate for goals and initiatives that will enhance our ability to improve the care provided to our patients both nationally and internationally. Working together with the Academy’s leadership, staff and volunteers, I believe that our educational future remains promising and bright.


Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Council Vice Chair

I am deeply honored to be nominated to serve as Vice Chair of the Council and to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Academy.

As Council Vice Chair and Trustee, my mission will be to serve our profession by representing the diverse practices of our membership. The coming months and years will be a truly tumultuous and challenging time for all of health care. Ophthalmology’s role in health care is unique, and it will be essential that the Academy can represent the needs of its members in the larger debate on health care reform. At the same time, we face novel and pressing challenges within the profession. It is critical that we work diligently to resolve our internal issues; continue to defend our patients by ensuring that surgery is performed only by surgeons and medicine is practiced by medical doctors; and that we maintain our powerful, unified voice to the rest of medicine and to the government. All of us who practice ophthalmology know what a profound and powerful force we, as a profession, are in safeguarding the vision of our society. I sometimes challenge our residents to imagine a world without ophthalmologists, in which nearly every person over the age of 65 would be consigned to a life of poor or no vision. Our contributions cannot be minimized.

I bring broad experience to these positions. I am one of a small number of uveitis specialists who practice in the Northwest and have a busy referral practice. Prior to coming to Seattle in 2008, I practiced for 10 years as a member of the Barnes Retina Institute, a large retina practice in St. Louis, that is an amalgam of private practice and university service. In my current position, I am chair of a mid-sized academic department and director of the University of Washington Eye Institute, a 20-ophthalmologist multispecialty group, which includes comprehensive and subspecialist members. I am acutely aware of the financial issues involved in ophthalmology practice! I believe strongly in the obligation of every ophthalmologist to not only practice state-of-the-art care but endeavor to improve upon it. I am a clinician-scientist with NIH funding, working on novel treatments for irreversible blindness as well as diagnostic tests for ocular inflammation. I serve on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Ophthalmology and Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. Within the Academy, I have served on numerous committees including the Basic Clinical and Science Course, Maintenance of Certification and nominating committees; organized and taught Lifelong Education for the Ophthalmologist courses and many individual courses at the Annual Meeting; and have completed the Leadership Development Program in 2003. I have been Councilor to the Academy for the American Uveitis Society for the past three years. Outside the Academy, I am currently President of the American Uveitis Society and serve on the Board of Trustees of the Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.

I respectfully ask for your vote for Vice Chair of Council and member of the Board of Trustees of the Academy.


Academy Governance Overview

BOARD OF TRUSTEES. The policy-making body of the Academy. The charge of the Board of Trustees is to manage and direct the business affairs of the Academy in furtherance of its mission and strategic goals.

SECRETARIATS. Directly involved in the development and management of program activities and services. The Secretaries provide recommendations to the Board on the relative priority of major programs within the Academy.

COMMITTEES. Under the direction of the Secretariats, Committees develop and implement specific programs that address the long-range objectives of the Academy.

COUNCIL. The Council serves as the advisory body to the Board of Trustees and provides recommendations for Board action based on membership concerns.


Washington Report

Bonuses With Use of EHR

By adopting and using certified health information technology (HIT) software and demonstrating “meaningful use” of electronic health records, physicians can qualify for new incentive payments from Medicare totaling up to $44,000 over five years. The Academy has been actively involved in ensuring ophthalmologists can qualify for and receive the incentive money that was included in the federal stimulus bill for adoption and use of electronic health records (EHR) and other health information technologies.

If adopted successfully by the end of 2011, physicians will be eligible for reimbursement up to $18,000 in the first year, followed by yearly incentive payments of $12,000, $8,000, $4,000 and $2,000. Physicians adopting by Dec. 31, 2012, will be eligible for first-year payments of $15,000, followed by yearly incentive payments of $12,000, $8,000 and $4,000. CMS will release its definition and final requirements of “meaningful use” of HIT in an interim final rule later this year. An additional 10 percent HIT bonus payment is available for eligible physicians practicing in any area designated as a health professional shortage area. Practitioners who do not adopt HIT will face a reduction in their Medicare fee schedule payments, starting with a 1 percent penalty in 2015, 2 percent in 2016 and 3 percent in 2017, and the penalty could go up to 5 percent if fewer than 75 percent of physicians demonstrate meaningful use.

To qualify for the incentives, physicians will have to use certified HIT systems based on meaningful use requirements that the Department of Health and Human Services recommends. The tentative goal for 2011 and 2013 is to electronically capture reportable health information, in coded format, to track key clinical conditions. By 2015, the tentative goal for meaningful use is to achieve and improve performance and support-care processes on key health system outcomes. Other meaningful use goals are:

  • Ensuring that a percentage of prescriptions are electronic
  • Providing clinical decision support
  • Reporting quality measures
  • Providing patients with an electronic copy of their health information
  • Exchanging health information with external clinical entities.

The Academy will continue to closely monitor and participate in developments of HIT and meaningful use requirements, to be released in December.

Visit the Academy-sponsored Electronic Office (Moscone West, Booth #5159) during the Joint Meeting for more information.

The Academy has been involved in ensuring ophthalmologists can receive incentive money for EHR use.


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