American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
Special Award Program
Guest of Honor Award
Distinguished Service Award
Special Recognition Award
This year it is presented to the executive directors of ophthalmology’s state and subspecialty societies.
Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award
International Blindness Prevention Award
Achievement Award Program
Life Achievement Award
Senior Achievement Award
Secretariat Award Program
The rise and fall of managed care has been one of the major forces affecting ophthalmic practices over the last 10 years.
According to the Academy’s membership surveys, the number of ophthalmologists who participate in any managed care contracts increased to a peak of 87 percent in 1998 and has dropped by 14 percent since then. Capitated contracts, which involve sharing the risk of health care cost by the provider, have had a significant decrease, dropping by almost half from 28 percent in 1998 to a level of only 15 percent in 2003. Whether new attempts by the federal government to encourage more managed care in the Medicare system as part of a subsidized business model will once again increase the managed care presence is of some concern.
There is a close correlation between the rise and fall of managed care over the last 10 years and the number of members experiencing a decline in their practice access. At its peak in 1998, 41 percent of survey respondents were having difficulty with patient access to their practices; this has declined to 20 percent in 2003. While rising overhead and decreasing reimbursement continue to be major problems for practicing ophthalmologists, decreased patient access due to restrictive managed care contracts appears to be less of a problem.
Reps Bilirakis and Johnson were recognized for their key roles in stopping the 4.5 percent cut in the 2004 Medicare physician reimbursements and replacing it with a 1.5 percent update through 2005.
Sen. Sununu was recognized for championing Medicare coverage of vision rehabilitation services, which resulted in the implementation of a five-year national demonstration project.
Eye M.D. Vies for Seat in U.S. Congress
Come January, ophthalmologists may have one of their own in the U.S. House of Representatives. After winning a hard-fought primary, Melissa M. Brown, MD, is once again the GOP candidate for Pennsylvania’s 13th District, which includes northeast Philadelphia and some outlying suburbs. In the 2002 elections, Dr. Brown came within 7,653 votes of unseating incumbent Democrat Rep. Joe Hoeffel, who is standing down this year.
She now squares off against Democrat Allyson Schwartz in what promises to be one of this year’s most competitive congressional elections.
For more information on Dr. Brown’s candidacy, visit www.melissabrownforcongress.com.
For the Record
To nominate a candidate by petition for the 2005 board, submit a written petition to the Academy’s executive vice president no later than Aug. 24. The petition must be signed by at least 50 voting Academy members and fellows. To suggest a nominee for the 2006 board, look out for the call for nominations that will be published in January’s EyeNet Magazine.
To read the rules in full, see Article V of the Academy’s bylaws at www.aao.org/bylaws
The Ethics of Expert Witness Testimony
Rule 16, regarding appropriate expert testimony, went into effect on Jan. 1, 2004. Challenges submitted to the Ethics Committee regarding potentially false, deceptive or misleading testimony must relate to testimony given after that date. The Ethics Committee will screen all submissions carefully to assure appropriate use of resources, as it is not feasible to hold a hearing in every close case.
The rule is as follows: “Rule 16. Expert Testimony. Expert testimony should be provided in an objective manner using medical knowledge to form expert medical opinions. Nonmedical factors (such as solicitation of business from attorneys, competition with other physicians, and personal bias unrelated to professional expertise) should not bias testimony. It is unethical for a physician to accept compensation that is contingent upon the outcome of litigation.
“False, deceptive or misleading expert testimony is unethical.”
To read the Code of Ethics in full, visit www.aao.org/bylaws.
Go Online to Share Clinical Images
Because of the special conditions regarding the uploading of images online, first-time users must register with the gallery. After this initial registration, when you log in to the Academy Web site you will automatically be logged in to the Image Gallery.
To access the Image Gallery, visit www.aao.org and click on “Image Gallery.”
Accounts Receivable: Improve Collections
Specifically, the course will address how you can increase cash flow, reduce accounts receivable lag time, improve your collection ratio and decrease billing expenses.
The audioconference will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 11 a.m. to noon PDT. The cost is $110 for AAOE members and $145 for nonmembers. If you are unable to attend at that time, you can purchase the handouts and a recording of the course for the same prices.
Government to Help You Get Wired
President Bush recently announced the goal of personal electronic medical records for most Americans by 2014. More immediately, in 2004 the government will set standards that allow medical records, such as x-rays and laboratory tests, to be stored and sent electronically. With CMS talking about paying doctors for performance (or quality), e-medicine is a likely way to differentiate doctors.
Plan calls for new technology department. Also as part of this plan, a new “senior department” was established. It will be led by National Health Information Technology Coordinator David Brailer, MD, PhD, who reports to secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. Dr. Brailer is charged with developing a strategic plan to guide implementation of the nationwide health information technology infrastructure and coordinate it with hospitals and medical groups.
President Bush envisions a system that guides medical decisions at the time of care, improves health care quality, reduces errors, advances the delivery of appropriate, evidence-based care and reduces inefficiency. Academy member Jonathan C. Javitt, MD, MPH, chairs the Health Care Delivery Subcommittee of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and presented recommendations on steps needed to achieve much of the plan.
Not the first attempt at e-medicine. This is not the first attempt at the federal level to jump-start e-technology in medicine. Last year the Academy helped derail a proposed mandate on physicians requiring them to adopt e-prescribing —a costly proposition for providers in the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act. Instead, the bill calls for voluntary, rather than mandatory, e-prescribing with financial incentives for physicians in targeted sectors and the mandated establishment of standards.
Get the Latest Cataract Surgery Reference Text
Edited by Roger F. Steinert, MD, with a team of highly respected contributors, it includes sections on preop considerations, advances in the techniques for ECCE and phacoemulsification, future trends for cataract extraction, management of pediatric cataracts, IOLs, operative complications, the management of postop complications and more.
It is published by Elsevier and costs $195.
To order the book, visit www.aao.org/store or phone at 415-561-8540.
No Grace Period for New ICD-9 Codes: Beat the DeadlineOn
Traditionally, physicians were allowed a 90-day grace period and could continue to use the old codes until Dec. 31. But HIPAA rules now require that the codes you use are valid at the time you provide the service; consequently, any services you provide on or after Oct. 1 must be billed with the new ICD-9 codes.
To help you prepare for the Oct. 1 updates, the Academy is taking orders for 2005 ICD-9 for Ophthalmology.
To buy this book, visit www.aao.org/store or phone the Academy Service Center
Enjoy a Sneak Peek at New BCSC Section 14
Section 14 offers a current look at the vital issues in refractive surgery. It is eligible for up to 30 category 1 CME credits.
The 2004–2005 BCSC is available for shipping now. Individual volumes cost $69 for members and $99 for nonmembers; the complete 14-volume set (#0280954) costs $685 for members and $982 for nonmembers.
New LASIK OTA
Reprints of LASIK for Hyperopia, Hyperopic Astigmatism and Mixed Astigmtism (#112051) are $11 for members and $16 for nonmembers.
To place an order, visit www.aao.org/store or phone 415-561-8540.
The Big Easy Awaits
Book your travel. For air and car reservations, contact ATC, the Academy’s official travel service. Attendees receive special discounts on United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, as well as the lowest available fares on other carriers. Car rental discounts have also been arranged with Avis and Budget Rent a Car. Reservations can be made by going online at www.aao.org, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by faxing 858-362-3153 or by phoning 800-458-9383 (toll-free within the United States).
ATC is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Bring guests. They may have to put their diet on hold, but there are plenty of walking tours and other activities to burn those calories off: Visit www.aao.org/ annual_meeting and click “Spouse & Guest Program.”
Bring the kids. If they’re between 6 months and 12 years old, you can register them at Camp AAO. Visit www.aao.org/meetings/annual_meeting and click “Child Care” for a list of activities, which includes Mardi Gras Mambo, Gumbo Good Time, Zoo Cruise and a trip to Six Flags New Orleans.
Free Help for Young Ophthalmologists
Sunday, Oct. 24, is YO Day at the Joint Meeting. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., learn about key business issues at the YO Half-Day Program. From 2:15 to 5 p.m., attend the Professional Choices Job Fair to meet with representatives from practices who are hiring. From 5 to 7 p.m., attend the YO Reception.
Welcome to the Real World of Ophthalmology: Reality 101 is a free interactive session that draws on the experience of established Eye M.D.s. The session is on Monday, Oct. 25 from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.
Visit the Professional Choices Business Center to use free interview booths or to add your name to the applicant database. Open from Saturday, Oct. 23 through Tuesday, Oct. 26.
Save 50 percent off the ticket price for all standard Instruction Courses and Breakfasts with the Experts if you are a member-in-training.
For more information, visit www.aao.org/yo
Attend the Refractive Surgery Symposium and Reception
The free symposium takes place on Monday, Oct. 25, at 5:30 p.m. and is followed by a reception from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
It is presented by the International Society of Refractive Surgery of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (ISRS/AAO) and the European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE) and is sponsored in part by an educational grant from Alcon.
Chaired by James J. Salz, MD, and Bo T. Philipson, MD, the session provides an opportunity to hear refractive surgery pioneers and visionaries from around the world, and to honor those who were instrumental in the subspecialty’s development.
For the full program, go to the Online Program and search for Spotlight Session “SPO2.”
Send your cancellation requests by mail, to American Academy of Ophthalmology, 655 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94109-1336; by fax, to 415-561-8576; or by e-mail, to email@example.com
Members at Large
This was the first year that residents were invited to attend the program. Jennifer H. Smith, MD, and Beth K. Bruening, MD—both participants in the Academy’s 2003– 2004 Leadership Development Program—arranged for state societies to sponsor the residents’ attendance. “We wanted residents to learn about the political process and the role of the Academy and state ophthalmological societies in shaping health care policy,” said Dr. Bruening.
As part of Mid-Year Forum’s Advocacy Day, residents visited Capitol Hill to discuss important bills, such as the Veterans Eye Treatment Safety (VETS) Act, HR 3473. Andrew P. Doan, MD, PhD, spoke to Rep. James Leach (R–Iowa), a cosponsor of the VETS Act. “This opportunity allowed me to thank him for his support of ophthalmology and patient care,” said Dr. Doan. “Physicians need to be more involved with their state medical societies and political action committees. I am going back to my program to share this information with the residents.”
Robert Melendez, MS, MD—who was admitted to optometry school and then switched direction to complete medical school—explained the differences between ophthalmology training and optometry training to the staff of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R–Texas).
Drs. Pyatetsky, Doan and Melendez were sponsored by the Illinois, Iowa and Texas state societies, respectively. Other residents (and their sponsoring societies) included: Joel Bezek, MD (D.C.); B. Christian Carter, MD (Virginia); Johanna Jensen, MD (Washington); Andrew Lam, MD (Pennsylvania); Stacy A. Sjoberg, MD (Maryland); Silvia L. Speidel, MD (Oklahoma); Phillip J. Suffridge, MD (Arkansas); Tony Tsai, MD (Maryland) and Alyssa N. Wenger, MD (Arkansas).
The Academy thanks those societies that sponsored residents’ participation in the 2004 Mid-Year Forum and encourages more state societies to do so next year.
States Help to Promote Healthy Vision Month
If you would like to participate in future campaigns, or if you would like to become an EyeCare America volunteer, phone 877-887-6327.
Who’s in the News
On March 1, HealthScout.com quoted Richard E. Bensiger, MD, on steroids and cataracts. William A. Boothe, MD, was featured in the Feb. 22 issue of The Dallas Morning News on his choice of ophthalmology as a career and on his use of LASIK.
Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD, was quoted in the Jan. 24 USA Today on successfully performing his customized LASIK procedure for eyes with large pupils on actress Mimi Rogers.
The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) interviewed William A. Branner III, MD, and Jonathan D. Christenbury, MD, for a Jan. 18 article on wavefront-guided LASIK.
A Feb. 9 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted Harry C. Eggleston, MD, on the development of an IOL that can be adjusted with an external magnet after implantation.
Eugene M. Helveston, MD, was featured in the Jan. 26 issue of The Indianapolis Star in an article on his development of Cyber Sight, a telemedicine program that trains eye care professionals to treat children in medically underdeveloped countries, and on his receiving the Academy’s 2003 Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award.
Igor Kaiserman, MD, was quoted in the March 1 issue of HealthScout.com on his study of wavefront LASIK and contrast sensitivity that appeared in the March Ophthalmology.
In its April issue, Big Apple Parent magazine quoted Norman B. Medow, MD, FACS, on the topic of vision therapy for children with learning disabilities.
Alpa S. Patel, MD, was quoted in the Feb. 9 issue of the Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.) on cataracts.
Thomas L. Steinemann, MD, was quoted in the March 2 issue of PersonalMD.com on orthokeratology.
Keith A. Skolnick, MD, William W. Culbertson, MD, Raananah S. Katz, MD, and Philip J. Rosenfeld, MD, PhD, were quoted in the Jan. 6 issue of The Miami Herald on IOLs, glaucoma and contact lenses.
At an April 2 awards ceremony, the University of Missouri Medical Alumni Association recognized Robert W. Enzenauer, MD, for his community service by presenting him with its Distinguished Service Award.
The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus has announced that Christie L. Morse, MD—a graduate of the Academy’s leadership development program—will be 2005 president-designate and president-elect in 2006.
In elections that took place on May 26, Ioannis G. Pallikaris, MD, was elected the next rector at the University of Crete.
Two ophthalmology residents were honored at the AMA’s Excellence in Medicine awards banquet. Melinda A. Hakim, MD, and Sherman W. Reeves, MD, MPH, were both presented with the AMA Leadership Award. Nalin H. Tolia, MD, received an AMA scholarship to participate in leadership development training.
The Prevention of Blindness Society of the Metropolitan Area awarded Arthur L. Schwartz, MD, with its Professional Service Award. The presentation took place at the society’s annual Night of Vision Gala in Washington.
The Publishers Marketing Association shortlisted Steven E. Wilson, MD—author of Winter in Kandahar—for its 2004 Benjamin Franklin Award in the Best New Voice in Fiction category. To buy the book, visit www.winterinkandahar.com
The American Glaucoma Society announced the recipients of the 2004 Clinician-Scientist Fellowships in Glaucoma. Christopher A. Girkin, MD, Richard K. Lee, MD, PhD, Shan Lin, MD, Steven L. Mansberger, MD, MPH, and Douglas J. Rhee, MD, will receive one-year sponsored grants.