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WHAT’S HAPPENING 

State Societies Pilot Academy’s Screening Initiative

The Academy launched EyeSmart EyeCheck last summer in Los Angeles to combat undetected eye disease and visual impairment among minority populations in the United States.

This spring and summer, several state societies are taking the EyeCheck program on the road and providing free eye screenings for those populations at greatest risk and with limited access to health care. “The Illinois Association of Ophthalmology (IAO) looks forward to being one of the state ophthalmology societies that is partnering with the Academy for the EyeSmart EyeCheck,” said IAO President Chris Albanis, MD.

Tamara R. Fountain, MD, Academy secretary for Member Services, is playing an integral role in securing the IAO’s event location and encouraging participation from society members. “This is a public service directly aimed at addressing ethnic disparities in health care,” said Dr. Fountain. “Dovetailing on the inaugural Los Angeles effort, which targeted the Latino population, we are rolling this out in Chicago with a specific emphasis on the black community. Both the Latino and black populations are at risk for certain eye problems. We hope to energize the area’s ophthalmic community to come out and support this novel screening program.” In addition to the IAO, the Florida Society of Ophthalmology and the Texas Ophthalmological Association will be offering free EyeCheck screenings in Miami and San Antonio this spring.

At the Academy’s Council meeting at this month’s Mid-Year Forum, society councilors and leaders will be brought up to speed on the EyeCheck effort. This update will include a report on the activities of the state ophthalmology societies that have signed on to be part of the pilot effort.  

For more information, visit www.geteyesmart.org.

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TAKE NOTICE 

Register for the MOC Exam Review Course

The Academy’s MOC Exam Review Course will be held from July 22 to 24 in Rosemont, Ill. This is the only review course based on the Practicing Ophthalmologists Curriculum (POC), which also is used by the American Board of Ophthalmology when formulating questions for the Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge examination.

To register online, visit http://one.aao.org/ce/moc/mocexamreview.aspx.

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Get the Most Out of Your Online Community

The Academy Online Community is your place to network with other Academy members. Participation involves three basic steps:

  • create or update your persona with contact information and a photo.
     
  • join groups based on subspecialties, alumni programs and more.
     
  • get involved—upload photos and videos, start a discussion, comment on the EyeNet blog or ask your peers for advice.

To get started, visit www.aao.org/community.

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Congratulations to the Eye-Wiki Resident Contest Winners

The following residents won a trip to this month’s Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C. Winners were chosen for submitting outstanding articles to the Academy’s EyeWiki:

  • Kevin M. Bowman, MD, Eastern Virginia Medical School.
     
  • Annie K. Lim, MD, UCLA.
     
  • Sujata P. Prabhu, MD, Stony Brook University.
     
  • Juliette M. Stenz, MD, University at Buffalo, Ross Eye Institute.

For more information, visit www.aao.org/eyewiki.

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Finishing a Residency or Fellowship?

If you are completing a training program this year, you should have received a Member Status and Training Update form in the mail. To retain your member-in-training status, please let the Academy know by June 17 that you will be continuing your training in 2012.

If the Academy does not receive your updated status, your 2012 membership category will be changed accordingly.

If you have any questions, contact Member Services by phone, 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8581, or by e-mail, member_services@aao.org.

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Need an EHR Expert? Use AAOE’s Updated Directory

The AAOE has updated the search functionality of its online consultant directory to make it easier to locate consultants who can help you with EHR selection, transition and implementation. The new EHR search criteria include:

  • Compliance and Risk Management—EHR documentation compliance,
     
  • Information Technology—EHR contracting,
     
  • Information Technology—EHR project management, and
     
  • Information Technology—EHR system selection.

To begin a search, visit www.aao.org/aaoesite and click “Consultant Directory” and “Search Consultant Listings.”

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Ask the Ethicist: Responsibilities of the On-Call Ophthalmologist

By the Ethics Committee

Q: I was recently called by the ER at my local hospital regarding a 67-year-old female patient with sudden, painless visual loss in one eye. I am a neuro-ophthalmologist and was not on call. The ER physician explained that the on-call ophthalmologist refused to see the patient saying that he felt the problem described fell outside his area of expertise. I went to the ER and examined the patient—she had a central retinal artery occlusion. Proper follow-up care was arranged. I am upset about how things unfolded with the on-call doctor and would like to know what my obligations are in comparison.

A: Your ethical obligation was to act in the best interests of the patient, which you did. Depending on your contract with the hospital and the hospital’s medical staff bylaws, your legal obligations were likely limited or nonexistent since you had no preexisting physician-patient relationship. By refusing to act, your colleague risked failure to uphold both his ethical and legal obligations to care for the patient within his capabilities. In addition, when deciding to avoid the patient, he relied on information from the ER physician who was not qualified to determine the cause of visual loss.

The legal considerations surrounding on-call arrangements, hospital privileges and state and federal laws and regulations are complex. Although the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act is primarily directed at hospitals, a physician who fails to respond to an emergency situation when he is the on-call physician is also at risk of penalties. Overall, the consequences of inappropriate or ineffective ER coverage include ineffective emergency services, delays in patient care and greater numbers of patient transfers.

You should discuss this matter with your hospital staff and an experienced health care attorney to improve your and your colleagues’ understanding of the ethical and legal requirements of on-call service and to better collegiality among local physicians.

For more information or to submit a question for this column, contact the Ethics Committee staff at ethics@aao.org. To read the Code of Ethics, visit www.aao.org/about and click “Ethics” and “Code of Ethics.”

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ONE : CHECK OUT THE LATEST OCULOPLASTICS EDITORS’ CHOICE VIDEO ONLINE.

In case you missed the 2010 Oculofacial Plastic Surgery Subspecialty Day in Chicago, the Academy made Surgical Repair of Lower Eyelid Retraction available on the Ophthalmic News and Education (ONE) Network. Presented at the meeting, Norman Shorr, MD, discusses his method for surgical treatment of lower eyelid retraction in which subperiostial midface lift is combined with hard palate mucosal grafting and fat transfer to add support and volume. He also traces the 20-year evolution of the management of post-blepharoplasty eyelid retraction.

To view the video and other Subspecialty Day presentations, visit www.aao.org/one and click “Media Library” and “Editors’ Choice Videos.”

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ACADEMY STORE 

Animate Your Website and Presentations With Digital-Eyes

Digital-Eyes Ophthalmic Animations for Patients, 2nd Edition, subscription (product #digitaleyes) is a collection of more than 70 downloadable 3-D animations of eye anatomy, common eye conditions and treatment options. They are all available in English and Spanish. Topics include AMD, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, LASIK, refractive procedures and more.

A 12-month subscription gives you access to updated and new animations as they become available. File formats include Flash, QuickTime, Windows Media and high-resolution files.

For more information and pricing, 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.

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MEETING MATTERS 

Save These Dates for Orlando

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Academy’s Annual Meeting. Circle the following dates:

  • June 1: Advance Program available on the Academy’s website.
     
  • June 22: Registration and housing open to Academy and AAOE members.
     
  • July 6: Registration and housing open to nonmembers.
     
  • Aug. 3: Early Registration fee deadline.
     
  • Aug. 31: Last day to register and have your badge and meeting materials mailed to you before the meeting.
     
  • Sep. 28: Last day to register online for the Annual Meeting.
     
  • Oct. 21–22: Subspecialty Day.
     
  • Oct. 22–25: Annual Meeting.

For the most up-to-date meeting information, visit www.aao.org/2011.

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Big Changes in Orlando

Orlando has changed dramatically since the last time it played host to the Academy’s Annual Meeting in 2002. There are now over 1,700 new hotel rooms within five minutes of the Orange County Convention Center, including those at a new Westin and Hilton and at an expanded Peabody Orlando. There are also many new restaurants within walking distance at the Pointe Orlando and minutes away by cab on Sand Lake Road.

In addition, traffic has improved around the convention center thanks to the addition of a road between the freeway and Universal Studios, which has greatly reduced traffic on International Drive.

For more information about Orlando and its nightlife, attractions, recreational activities and cuisine, visit www.aao.org/2011.

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Hotel Meeting Space Requests

Would your alumni or subspecialty group like to meet during the Annual Meeting in Orlando?

If so, please note that hotel meeting space requests are now being accepted. Assignments are made on a first-come basis.

For details, including hotel options, meeting times and processing fees visit www.aao.org/meetings/annual_meeting/exhibitors/meeting_space.cfm.

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MEMBERS AT LARGE 

People

The Foundation Fighting Blindness has awarded Stanley Chang, MD, with its Visionary Award. Dr. Chang is the chairman of ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center. He has developed several surgical approaches to treat complicated forms of retinal detachment.

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Who’s in the News

Rachel J. Bishop, MD, and Lee R. Duffner, MD, were interviewed by The New York Times for a Jan. 14 story on the dangers of ultraviolet rays. “Most people don’t appreciate the damage that UV rays can do to their eyes,” Dr. Bishop said. “I see many older patients who have growths on the whites of their eyes that were caused by sun damage.”

Dr. Duffner advised against looking only at price and style when purchasing UV-protection. “Some cheap sunglasses are great, some expensive ones are not,” he said, noting that ideal sunglasses block all UV radiation up to 400 nm.

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D.C. REPORT 

The Push Is On to Pass Truth in Advertising

This January, Reps. John A. Sullivan (R-Okla.) and David A. Scott (D-Ga.) introduced bipartisan legislation that would help empower patients to make the best medical choices for themselves and their families. The Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2011 (H.R. 451) holds all health care providers to the same truth-in- advertising standards as every good or service in the United States, making it unlawful for any health care professional to make deceptive statements or engage in behavior that misleads patients about their level of training, education or skills. The legislation also directs the Federal Trade Commission—which already has authority over these types of issues—to pay particular attention to false and misleading advertising among all health care providers.  

A recent AMA survey of 850 U.S. adults underscored the importance of the bill, finding that more than 85 percent of respondents would support legislation to require greater clarity in health care advertising. It also showed that 93 percent of respondents believe only a licensed medical doctor should be able to use the title “physician.” Moreover, only half of respondents thought it was easy to identify an actual licensed medical doctor by reading what services they offer, their title and other licensing credentials in advertising or other marketing materials.

H.R. 451 has the support of a broad coalition of physician groups, including the Academy. On April 7, ophthalmologists will converge on Capitol Hill during the Academy’s 2011 Congressional Advocacy Day to emphasize the importance of the bill to their representatives and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor of the legislation. Even if you are unable to travel to Washington, D.C., this month, you still can advance H.R. 451 by using the Academy’s Capwiz website (www.capwiz.com/aao) to write your representative.

Truth-in-advertising legislation draws strong opposition from allied-health organizations, which have been able to stall progress at the federal level. States, however, are leading the charge in addressing the issue of patient confusion, introducing and passing truth-in-advertising legislation in the state legislatures. Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have recently enacted legislation that requires practitioners to supply basic degree-status information to consumers. Eleven other states are now considering similar legislation.

H.R. 451 has the support of a broad coalition of physician groups, including the Academy.

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