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What’s Happening

FYI

Academy Store

Meeting Matters

Washington Report

Members at Large

What’s Happening

After the Tsunami: Volunteers Help Navy Provide Health Care

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to volunteer your expertise overseas? Eric P. Purdy, MD, responded to Project Hope’s call for volunteers to work on a U.S. Navy hospital ship that was being destroyed to Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Read his account of that medical humanitarian relief mission.

FYI

Last Chance to Update Your Listing for Next Membership Directory

Visit the Academy’s Web site to ensure that information printed in the next membership directory and published online at Find an Eye M.D. is complete and accurate. Go to www.aao.org, click on “Member Services” and choose “Update Your Membership Listing.” The deadline to make any changes to your listing before the next membership directory goes to press is July 31.

Any questions? Please contact Member Services by phone, 888-393-3671 (toll-free) or 415-561-8581, or e-mail, member_services@aao.org.

Add Your Practice to a List of Resources for the Visually Impaired

The blind and visually impaired can find out about local resources by visiting VisionConnection’s online “Help Near You” database (www.visionconnection.org). VisionConnection partnered with the Academy, Lighthouse International and the American Optometric Association to redevelop this database.

Do you provide vision rehabilitation services? Add your practice to the “Help Near You” database by filling out an online form at  www.visionconnection.org/.

Academy Store

What’s New With BCSC 2005–2006

The new edition of the Basic and Clinical Science Course is out this month. Ten volumes have undergone minor updates, and three have gone through a major revision:

Section 2, Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology (Product #0280025), provides the grounding every ophthalmologist needs in the basic and clinical sciences underlying current ophthalmic practice. Included are discussions on ocular anatomy, embryology, genetics, biochemistry and pharmacology. The chapter on ocular pharmacotherapeutics has been completely revised and updated with a discussion of the latest drugs and their usage. A new chapter on light hazards presents the latest research in this field.

Section 3 has a new title, Clinical Optics (#0280035). It begins with detailed discussions of physical and geometrical optics and the optics of the human eye. The application of optical phenomena to clinical refraction, the design and fitting of contact lenses and optical considerations with IOLs and in refractive surgery are also presented. An expanded chapter on vision rehabilitation examines the latest information in this growing field, including current practices in the management of low vision. The final chapter describes and explains the workings of optical instruments. New and newly redrawn illustrations help clarify many of the concepts discussed.

Section 5, Neuro-Ophthalmology (#0280055), continues its strong focus on clinical relevance with a symptom-driven approach to neuro-ophthalmic complaints. The emphasis is on examination and the appropriate use of adjunctive tests—from a patient’s presenting signs and symptoms to anatomic localization of lesions and a definitive diagnosis. The anatomy of the visual pathways, cranial nerves and vascular system is described, as are important neuroimaging studies. In this edition, some diagnostic approaches have been simplified and many illustrations were revised.

The Academy is also publishing two BCSC companion volumes: International Ophthalmology (#0288301), which was previously BCSC Section 13, and the new The Profession of Ophthalmology: Practice Management, Ethics, and Advocacy (#0288001). Part I of The Profession features chapters on assessing practices, insurance coverage, computer systems and more. Part II presents an overview of medical ethics and 13 case studies of ethical dilemmas. Part III explains how to advocate on behalf of patients and the profession on such issues as scope of practice and tort reform. It includes many sample forms and letters for your practice, and is useful whether you are just starting out or are a veteran, in solo or group practice or an academic position.

Each of the 13 BCSC volumes provides up to 30 or 40 category 1 CME credits. The 2005–2006 BCSC series will soon be available on CD-ROM. The Academy Store will start taking advance orders for the CD-ROM on June 27. The purchase of either the entire 13-volume print set (plus Master Index) or the CD-ROM will include your choice of one of the companion books (in print or CD-ROM format).

To place an order or find out about pricing information, visit www.aao.org/bcsc or phone the Academy Service Center at 888-393-3671 (toll-free) or 415-561-8540.

Botulinum Toxin Under the Spotlight

Botulinum Toxin for Cosmetic Oculofacial Use is the Academy’s latest Ophthalmic Technology Assessment.

It reviews the evidence for safety and effectiveness of botulinum toxin for glabellar, frontal and lateral canthal rhytids (wrinkles) and discusses the potential functional complications of botulinum toxin cosmetic rejuvenation of the periocular and facial region.

The survey was published in this month’s Ophthalmology (www.ophsource.org). Reprints (Product #112054), cost $11 for members and $16 for nonmembers.

To buy a reprint, visit www.aao.org/store or phone the Academy Service Center at 888-393-3671 (toll-free) or 415-561-8540.

Meeting Matters

Registration Opens This Month

Mark your calendar for June 29, which is when registration, ticket sales and housing reservations open for Academy and AAOE members. (Nonmembers must wait until July 13.)

Look for a copy of this year’s Advance Program to arrive in the mail later this month. In the meantime, you can find a guide to Chicago hotels  453K and full abstracts and program information at www.aao.org/annual_meeting.

Whom to Contact for Your Hotel, Travel and Child Care

Now is the time to start planning for Chicago.

For hotel reservations, contact the official housing company, Expovision, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT. (Housing opens on June 29 for Academy and AAOE members; July 13 for nonmembers.) Phone 866-774-0487 (toll-free in the United States) or 703-770-3908; or e-mail aaohousing05@expovision.com.

For air travel and car rental reservations, contact the official travel service, Associated Travel Concepts online at www.atcmeetings.com/aao or by phone at 800-458-9383. If you prefer to make your own arrangements, the Academy has negotiated discounts with three companies: United Airlines (800-521-4041; for a domestic flight, give discount code #556ER), Avis (800-331-1600; #J100502) or Budget Rent a Car (800-772-3773; #U064319). All phone numbers are toll-free in the United States. For links to their Web sites, visit www.aao.org/annual_meeting and select “Travel & Transportation.”

For child care (Camp AAO) information, contact Accent on Childrens’ Arrangements by phone at 504-524-1227 or by e-mail at registraton@accentoca.com.

Program Includes Many Free Events

You’ll have dozens of free events to choose from at this year’s Annual Meeting. Highlights include:

  • The Opening Session (Sunday Oct. 16, 8:30 to 10 a.m.), which will feature a keynote address given by Francis Collins, MD, director of the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute.
  • Late Breakers in Comprehensive Ophthalmology Symposium (Sunday Oct. 16, 2 to 3:32 p.m.), which will update you on your specialty’s most current developments.
  • Spotlight on Cataract Surgery: New Pearls on Managing Complicated Cases and Complications (Monday Oct. 17, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), which will include the first Charles Kelman Lecture.
  • Ultimate Grand Rounds (Monday Oct. 17, 3:45 to 5:15 p.m.), during which cataract and retina case studies will be put to debate.
  • Spotlight on Glaucoma: Glaucoma Care and Technology (Tuesday Oct. 18, 8:30 to 11 a.m.) and
  • Best of Anterior Segment Meetings 2005 (Tuesday Oct. 18, 11:20 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.), which will showcase the best papers from the ASCRS, ISRS, AGS and Cornea Society meetings.

2005 Subspecialty Day Offers More Options Than Ever Before

For the latest advances that can be applied immediately in your practice, join your colleagues for this year’s Subspecialty Day (Friday Oct. 14 and Saturday Oct. 15). Choose from six Subspecialty Day meetings:

  • Retina 2005—Changing Concepts and Controversies (Friday and Saturday)
  • Refractive Surgery 2005 —Simply the Best (Friday and Saturday)
  • Glaucoma 2005—Paradigm Change in Theory and Practice (Saturday)
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology 2005—Clinical Scenarios, Evidence-Based Reviews and Controversies: A Multilevel Approach (Saturday)
  • Pediatric Ophthalmology 2005—Little Kids, Big Issues (Saturday) and
  • Uveitis 2005—New Frontiers in Diagnosis and Treatment (Saturday).

Float between meetings. Register for either the Retina or Refractive Surgery meetings and you can float between those two meetings on Friday and you can attend any of the six meetings on Saturday. Register for any of the one-day meetings and you can float between meetings on Saturday only.

Attend Friday’s reception. Registrants for all six Subspecialty Day meetings are invited to attend the Subspecialty Day Welcome Reception, which takes place in the Subspecialty Day exhibit area from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Friday Oct. 14.

Access the Annual Meeting Exhibit Hall. Your Subspecialty Day badge allows you to visit the Annual Meeting Exhibit Hall when it opens on Saturday Oct. 15.
 
Five Reasons for Practice Managers to Visit Chicago

  1. AAOE members enjoy free registration for the Annual Meeting.
  2. They can choose from 63 ticketed AAOE Instruction Courses—37 of which are new this year—and more than 70 roundtable discussions. JCAHPO continuing education credits are available for select courses, in addition to CME credits.
  3. They’ll enjoy 10 hours of free events, including the General Session: Integrating Innovation Into Your Practice (Sunday Oct. 16, 10:15 a.m. to noon), Building Effective Teams In Your Practice (Tuesday Oct. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and a series of facilitated group discussions that are tailored to different practice sizes.
  4. They’ll get free reimbursement advice at the Coding Booth and can schedule a free appointment with a practice management consultant.
  5. They can purchase a ticket for the AAOE/JCAHPO Coding Camp, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 15,
    7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For full listings of practice management sessions, visit www.aao.org/aaoe.

Visa Information

International members who are planning to attend this year’s Annual Meeting may need a visa to enter the United States.

Visit the Academy’s Web site at www.aao.org/annual_meeting and select “Visa Information” for helpful links and current information affecting travel to the United States. You may also personalize your letter of invitation on this Web site or request one by calling 415-447-0320. A letter of invitation may assist in securing a visitor’s visa.

Advance planning is critical, as the review process may take up to six months. Apply now for a visa by contacting the U.S. embassy or consulate in your locality.


Washington Report

A Three-Tiered Pay Structure for the VA

A new law that is expected to go into effect in January will create a three-tiered pay structure that could potentially compensate VA-employed ophthalmologists at a rate more comparable to that of their colleagues in the private sector. It’s called the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel Enhancement Act of 2004.

Because VA ophthalmologists are compensated less than their counterparts in academic positions and in private practice, recruitment and retention of physicians has been difficult.

But James C. Orcutt, MD, chief of ophthalmology at the VA, hopes the new pay structure will put VA ophthalmologists at least on par with their colleagues in academia—a significant advance in achieving parity since ophthalmologists in VA hospitals train nearly half of all U.S. ophthalmologists.

It’s unclear exactly how the new pay structure will impact physician pay because the VA is currently developing regulations for the new law. However, the law passed by Congress sets out the following three-tiered structure:

Base pay: Defined by law and updated annually.

Market pay: The VA Secretary is to make this determination on a case-by-case basis, not less than every two years. While based on rates identified by the Association of American Medical Colleges, market pay will depend on a number of factors, including the need for the particular medical specialty, the level of physicians’ experience, the health care labor market, board certification of the physician and prior experience of the physician within VA.

Performance pay: The law provides that performance pay may not exceed the lower of $15,000 or 7.5 percent of the sum of the base pay and market pay elements payable to a physician. Performance pay is linked to the achievement of specific goals and performance objectives agreed to in advance. 

Members At Large

State Societies Sponsor Residents to Attend the Mid-Year Forum

This year’s Mid-Year Forum (April 6–9) involved almost 40 residents sponsored by their state ophthalmological societies and/or training programs.

“The Mid-Year Forum introduced me to a part of ophthalmology that is crucial to the preservation of our profession,” said Cristiana Pieroni, MD, a resident at the Tufts New England Eye Center.

“I learned that we have a responsibility, beyond our day-to-day practice and learning, to ensure quality care for our patients,” she said.

This pilot effort was conceived by Jennifer Smith, MD, and Beth Bruening, MD, both graduates of last year’s Academy Leadership Development Program. Andrew Doan, MD, PhD, a resident at the University of Iowa, helped to rally resident participation. “My participation in last year’s Mid-Year Forum opened my mind to the political, financial and social problems facing our profession. I wanted to get more young leaders involved so that we can make a difference now.”

As part of the Mid-Year Forum’s Advocacy Day, residents visited Capitol Hill to discuss important bills, such as Medicare payment for physicians before impending cuts take effect in 2006, FDA regulation of plano contact lenses and medical malpractice reform. Eric Jay Wolf, MD, a resident at Columbia University, N.Y., described the Mid-Year Forum and Congressional Advocacy Day as an eye-opening experience. “It served as a call to arms for increased political awareness among ophthalmologists of all ages. The lessons learned will be quickly integrated into my professional life.”

The Academy thanks those societies and training programs that sponsored residents’ participation in the 2005 Mid-Year Forum and encourages more state societies to do so next year.