EyeNet Magazine

Academy Notebook

• What’s Happening
• Washington Report
• Academy Store
• Meeting Matters
• Members At Large

What’s Happening

Survey Results: Is Ophthalmology a Good Career Choice?

The practice of medicine is increasingly complex and requires doctors to maintain knowledge across an array of issues, including coding, compliance, malpractice prevention, insurance contracts and employment law. It might be expected that physicians would find less career satisfaction in a system with so many growing demands, but “a survey of Academy members shows the opposite to be true for ophthalmologists,” said Academy Secretary for Member Services Ruth D. Williams, MD. “Nearly 80 percent of our members are satisfied with ophthalmology as a career choice, and these numbers are fairly stable over the last seven years.”

While approving of their career choice overall, ophthalmologists aren’t quite as likely to be satisfied with their current practice situation. Those who practice subspecialty ophthalmology more than 91 percent of their time report the greatest satisfaction overall, and those in solo practice tend to be the least satisfied with their day-to-day practice situation. Still, in general, the trend for all ophthalmologists is an increasing satisfaction with both their current practice situation and ophthalmology as a career choice.

A gradual, consistent up-tick in satisfaction ratings with the Academy is evident. “The increasing ratings of the Academy reflect efforts and successes on a wide range of issues, as well as effective communication with the members,” said Dr. Williams.

“The most interesting question asked,” said Dr. Williams, “is whether our Academy members would recommend ophthalmology as a career to a young person. The response is significantly more positive now, than it was five years ago.”

Nearly 60 percent of the ophthalmologists surveyed now recommend a career in ophthalmology, whereas only 40 percent recommended it five years ago.

Physician Satisfaction
CAPTION: PHYSICIAN SATISFACTION. These data were collected from a large group of Academy members and have an approximate sampling error of +/- 3 percent. Survey respondents had five options: extremely satisfied (or, in the case of recommending ophthalmology as a career choice, extremely likely); very satisfied; somewhat satisfied; somewhat dissatisfied; and very dissatisfied.


The Maintenance of Certification Review Course—July 21–23

Whether you are preparing for the American Board of Ophthalmology’s DOCK exam or just want a quick update on clinical knowledge, registration is now open for the MOC Exam Review Course, which will take place in the Chicago area.

Course content will be based on the Practicing Ophthalmologists Curriculum (POC), a knowledge base from which the questions will be drawn for the DOCK—or Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge—exam.

You will be taught by the same physicians who created the POC; so you will be studying with the experts.

In addition to Core Ophthalmic Knowledge (a required DOCK module), you may select up to two practice emphasis areas (PEAs) appropriate for your DOCK exam. You can earn up to eight Category 1 CME credits for each day attended.

The Course is scheduled from July 21 to 23, 2006, in the Chicago area.

Online registration ends on June 21, 2006. Seating is limited.

To learn more, or to enroll, please visit www.aao.org/review_course.

Ethics Education for Residency Programs

The ACGME requires that formal education in professionalism and ethics be included in residency curricula and considers it to be a fundamental area of competency.

To assist training programs in meeting this educational requirement, the Academy’s ethics committee has been offering an Ethics Education Lecture Program for more than 12 years. Recently, the ethics committee redesigned the lecture program to make the most of the limited time that residency programs have available for ethics instruction. The new program sharply limits the time spent on abstract concepts, instead emphasizing real-life case scenarios that illustrate ethical issues in everyday practice.

If you want to provide this ethics program to your residents, contact Charles M. Zacks, MD, chairman of the Academy’s ethics committee, at czacks@maineeyecenter.com or Mara Pearse Burke, manager of the Academy’s ethics program, at ethics@aao.org.

Finishing a Residency or Fellowship?

If you are completing a training program this year, you should expect to see a Member Status and Training Update form in the mail in the coming weeks. Please take the time to fill out and return this form by June 16.

To keep your membership status up to date, the Academy must know whether you will be completing or continuing your training in 2006.

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

Take Part in the Eye Injury Snapshot Project—May 14–21

For one week in May, please put your focus on eye injuries, and participate in the 3rd Annual Eye Injury Snapshot Project.

Last year, nearly 1,000 physicians from across the nation participated in the project, bringing into focus the nature, frequency and severity of eye injuries. The Academy is, for the second year in a row, partnering with the American Society of Ocular Trauma, and is urging all ophthalmologists, residents and emergency room physicians to report every eye injury treated during the week of May 14–21.

“This study routinely demonstrates the incredible scope of eye trauma in this country, occurring without respect to age, gender or locale,” said Andrew G. Iwach, MD, Academy secretary for communications. “This is an opportunity for the Academy to build awareness around eye safety, and I encourage my medical colleagues to be a part of this effort.”

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

Join Us for a May 9 Web Conference and Enhance Your Project Management Skills

The AAOE’s next Web conference, Project Management: Planning For Success, will provide you with tools and advice on designing and managing a project.

Whether you are implementing a new phone system, hiring a new associate, opening a new office or redesigning an existing one, effective project management skills are essential. The Web conference will be presented by Ron Rosenberg (a practice management consultant) and Walt Underwood, MBA, FACMPE (an administrator and AAOE past president).

The fee is $140 for members ($175 for nonmembers) and your practice pays only once—regardless of the number of people participating. The presentation will be delivered live over the telephone, and you will be able to view the speakers’ slides online as they present.

If you are unable to attend the event, CDs of the presentations—including both the audio and slides—will be available for purchase following the Web conference. The Web conference will take place on Tuesday, May 9, from 11 a.m. to noon PDT.

For more information, or to register, visit www.aao.org/aaoe.

Eye Talk on Your iPod

As Seen From Here is a weekly series of interviews with ophthalmology authors that you can download for free to your computer, iPod or other MP3 player. The program, which includes more than 50 episodes, is CME accredited by the New York University School of Medicine.

If you subscribe to the service, you will automatically receive each new audio file as soon as it is posted online.

For more information, visit www.asseenfromhere.com.

Coding Seminars in Your State? Check the Codequest Schedule

Get up to speed on the trickiest of coding conundrums by attending a Codequest seminar.

Designed specifically for the ophthalmology practice, these seminars are scheduled to take place throughout the United States—Codequest experts have already visited 10 states in the first three months of this year.

Future seminars are currently scheduled for the following states—Colorado (Oct. 21), Florida (Aug. 18), Louisiana (May 12), Maryland (May 5), Nebraska (April 21) and Virginia (Sept. 29–30)—and more are likely to be added.

To see when Codequest is in your state, visit www.aao.org/aaoesite/promo/coding/codequest.cfm.

Washington Report

Medicare Reimbursement Tops the Agenda

The Secretariat for Federal Affairs met earlier this year to set the Academy’s annual advocacy agenda. Three Medicare physician reimbursement issues were designated as top priorities for the Academy’s attention and resources.

“Medicare reimbursement policy is high on the list of advocacy priorities because so many of our patients are Medicare beneficiaries and it has such a great effect on our practices and the quality of patient care,” said Michael X. Repka, MD, secretary of Federal Affairs, in reference to the three prioritized issues.

1) Derailing payment cuts under the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Left in place, the SGR formula will result in fee cuts in 2007 and beyond. Unfortunately, the cost to the government of fixing the SGR continues to skyrocket, and the growing federal deficit make congressional action a challenge. For the Academy, the SGR is incompatible with a viable P4P system, thus the two issues are inextricably linked.

2) Ensuring fairness for ophthalmology in the development of a Pay for Performance (P4P) reimbursement system. Congress and CMS have made it clear that some form of P4P will be an inevitable part of Medicare payment reform. “The reality is that Medicare payment tied to quality measures will now be part of any discussion on positive payment reform,” said William L. Rich III, MD, the Academy’s medical director of health policy. Working to ensure ophthalmologists’ access to payment differentials, the Academy led the development of ophthalmology performance measures. Although CMS has not yet included the measures in its new 2006 Physician Voluntary Reporting Program, the Academy continues to work with CMS to ensure that ophthalmology is able to participate when those financial incentives eventually become available in 2007 or 2008.

3) Ensuring fairness for ophthalmology in practice expense policy. The other top reimbursement priority is to ensure that any new CMS policy for calculating indirect practice expense (PE) is fair and based on appropriate survey data. Last year, an Academy-created coalition persuaded CMS not to implement a disastrous PE calculation proposal. CMS is revisiting the issue, and the Academy is deeply involved in those discussions.


Academy Store

A Guide for Those Who Own, or Hope to Own, Their Own Practice

Buying, Selling, and Owning the Medical Practice, second edition, is a comprehensive guide for any physician considering a practice transition. The resource helps physicians strengthen their position in ownership, leadership and administration, ensuring the medical practice continues as a strong institution.

It also includes tips, questions to consider and a review of the employment options that are available.

Buying, Selling, and Owning the Medical Practice (Product #012162) costs $55 for members and $74 for nonmembers.

For more information, or to order, visit www.aao.org/store or phone 866-561-8558 (toll free) or 415-561-8540.

Literature Review Puts Capsule Staining Under the Spotlight

Dyes such as indocyanine green and trypan blue are used to stain the lens capsule to improve visualization—but is capsule staining a safe and effective adjunct to cataract surgery?

To answer that question, the Academy’s latest Ophthalmic Technology Assessment evaluates data in the published literature.

Capsule Staining as an Adjunct to Cataract Surgery is published in this month’s Ophthalmology, which is available online at www.aaojournal.org.

Reprints (Product #112056) cost $11 for members and $16 for nonmembers.

To buy a reprint, visit www.aao.org/store or phone 866-561-8558 (toll free) or 415-561-8540.

Focal Points Online

Subscribe to Focal Points Online and enjoy an enhanced PDF version of the Focal Points print subscription series. You will receive 12 modules for the 2006 subscription series featuring several enhancements, including video footage of surgical procedures and the ability to access online references and resources.

This year’s titles include: Periorbital Skin Cancers: The Dermatologist’s Perspective, Optic Atrophy, Gonioscopy in the Management of Glaucoma, Dry Eye and more.

Each Focal Points Online module is eligible for up to two Category 1 CME credits, for a total of up to 24 credits per subscription year.

A 2006 subscription to Focal Points Online costs $145 for members and $205 for nonmembers.

You also can buy the Focal Points Kit—which includes both the online and print versions—at a discounted price of $175 for members and $250 for nonmembers. Or if you already have a subscription for the print version of Focal Points, you can add a subscription to the online version at a reduced cost of $30 for members and $45 for nonmembers. Subscribe any time during the year and receive the complete 2006 Focal Points Online set.

For more information, or to place an order online, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints.

Meeting Matters

Save These Dates

Mark your calendar for the Academy’s Joint Meeting with the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.

June 1: The Advance Program will be mailed to Academy and AAOE members. You will also be able to access this information on the Academy’s Web site.

June 28: Registration and housing opens to Academy and AAOE members.

July 12: Registration and housing opens to nonmembers.

Nov. 10 to 11: Subspecialty Day meetings

  • Glaucoma 2006: Risky Business in Vegas
  • Refractive Surgery 2006: The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • Retina 2006: Emerging New Concepts

Nov. 11: AAOE/JCAHPO Coding Camp

Nov. 11 to 14: Joint Meeting

Nov. 11 to 14: AAOE Program

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

International Attendees

Most visitors to the United States will require a visitor visa upon entry. Secure a visitor visa through the U.S. Department of State; apply early to avoid delays.

For visa information and a letter of invitation, visit the Academy’s Joint Meeting Web site at www.aao.org/annual_meeting and select “Travel and Transportation.”

How Well Do You Know Las Vegas . . .

. . . back then?

  1. Gambling: A 1910 law made it illegal to gamble in Las Vegas. How many years ensued before it was legal again?
  2. Hotels: In 1946, “Bugsy” Siegel opened his first hotel. What did he name it, and what was he naming it after?
  3. Entertainers: In 1955, what was Liberace’s weekly salary? . . . and today?
  4. Gambling: What is the highest slot jackpot ever hit?
  5. Hotels: Which is the city’s most valuable hotel, and what is it valued at?
  6. Entertainers: When Celine Dion started performing at Caeser’s Palace, what was her weekly salary?

For the answers, see the bottom of this page.

Members at Large

Radio Show Educates South Dakotans

“It’s important to provide eye care information as a public health service and to promote the profession of ophthalmology,” stated Kenneth J. Knudtson, MD, during the Academy’s Leadership Development Program in San Francisco earlier this year. Dr. Knudtson—who represents the South Dakota Academy of Ophthalmology in the program—has been using radio shows to spread news about eye care issues.

On Tuesdays, he serves as a guest on “Afternoon Smorgasboard,” a daily radio show. Dr. Knudtson uses an interview format to discuss such issues as diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma and the difference in education and training between the three “O’s”—ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians.

Cynthia A. Bradford, MD, the Academy’s secretary for State Affairs, commented, “This is a timely and critical effort given the recent results of the survey conducted by the National Consumers League. The survey found that the public is confused about who performs eye care. But when respondents were presented with a written profile of ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians, 95 percent of participants said they would prefer to see an ophthalmologist for surgery, and 92 percent preferred to have an ophthalmologist prescribing medication. Dr. Knudtson is setting a great example in helping to educate the public. Hopefully more in our profession will follow in his footsteps.”

In addition to his weekly radio spots, Dr. Knudtson has begun appearing in a guest spot for the public television show On Call, which is hosted by internist Richard Holm, MD. Dr. Knudston plans to develop prerecorded radio spots on eye care issues that will be sent to radio stations around the state. “Media exposure is important for our profession, and especially important for the eye health of the public,” said Dr. Knudtson.

Eye M.D.s Heading Schools of Medicine

Eve J. Higginbotham, MD, has been appointed dean and senior vice president of academic affairs at Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine. She is scheduled to assume her new responsibilities on April 24. “By ascending to such positions, ophthalmologists can help to raise awareness of their specialty and ensure that it has an important role in medical schools,” said Bartly J. Mondino, MD, executive vice president of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology.

“Over the years, ophthalmology has lost some of its influence in medical centers and medical schools,” he said “A contributing factor has been the diminishing financial support generated for both hospitals and practice plans as ophthalmology has shifted from an inpatient to an outpatient specialty. Ophthalmology departments today are playing less of a role in schools of medicine —participation of ophthalmology faculty in training medical students has dropped and some medical schools are not even requiring an ophthalmology clerkship as part of its curriculum. For all of the above reasons, it is very important that ophthalmologists become deans.”

In addition to Dr. Higginbotham, three other ophthalmologists currently head schools of medicine: Joseph E. Robertson Jr., MD, MBA, at Oregon Health & Science University; Tom Deutsch, MD, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago; M. Roy Wilson, MD, MS, at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. This month John G. Clarkson, MD, steps down after 11 years as dean at the University of Miami. And in 2004, Stephen J. Ryan, MD, returned full-time to ophthalmology after 13 years as the dean of Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.


When the American Glaucoma Society held its Annual Meeting in Charleston, S.C., March 2 to 5, it invited E. Michael Van Buskirk, MD, to be Guest of Honor, George A. Cioffi, MD, to be Clinician-Scientist Guest Lecturer and Murray A. Johnstone, MD, to be 16th AGS Lecturer. Max Forbes, MD, was presented with the AGS President’s Award.

The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus held its annual meeting in Keystone, Colo., March 15 to 19. The AAPOS Honor Award was presented to Stephen P. Christiansen, MD, Daniel E. Neely, MD, Lance M. Siegel, MD, and Jitka L. Zobal-Ratner, MD. The AAPOS Senior Honor Award was presented to Monte A. Del Monte, MD. The AAPOS Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to John. D. Baker, MD, George R. Beauchamp, MD, Albert Biglan, MD, Joseph H. Calhoun, MD, Thomas D. France, MD, Eugene M. Helveston, MD, Burton J. Kushner, MD, Marilyn T. Miller, MD, Edward L. Raab, MD, Arthur L. Rosenbaum, MD, William, E. Scott, MD, and John W. Simon, MD.

Who’s in the News

James C. Lai, MD, was interviewed by New York City’s CBS affiliate about a patient who received a Retisert implant. The interview was aired on the evening news in October and was later aired by several other affiliates around the country.

A 3-year-old Iraqi girl who had been blinded by shrapnel was flown to the United States for surgery. This shrapnel had already started to rust when Saad Shaikh, MD, volunteered his time to remove it, reported the Orlando Sentinel on Feb. 5. Dr. Shaikh performed two surgeries, which took a total of 10 hours.

In a Jan. 13 article, the Times-Republican reported that Donny Suh, MD, was about to embark on an 11-day ORBIS trip to China. “Traveling and helping people is something I’ve always wanted to do. That was part of why I chose the medical field,” said Dr. Suh. The Iowa newspaper published a follow-up article on Feb. 12.

The Texarkana Gazette interviewed Charles N. Thornton, MD, for a Feb. 23 article on macular degeneration. After describing the condition, he urged readers of the Texas newspaper to have regular eye exams.

Who’s News? Submit news of Academy members by e-mail, eyenet@aao.org, by fax, 415-561-8575, or by mail, EyeNet, P.O. Box 7424, San Francisco, CA 94120-7424.


Answers 1) 21 years—the Nevada Legislature approved a legalized gambling bill in 1931; 2) The Flamingo Hotel—it is said that he named it after the long legs of his showgirl sweetheart; 3) Liberace earned $50,000 per week at the newly opened Riviera; 4) $39,713,982 was won at the Excalibur hotel-casino on March 21, 2003; 5) The Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in 2005, is valued at $2.5 billion; 6) In 2004, Celine Dion was earning $832,500 per week. (These data are courtesy of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, www.visitlasvegas.com, and Las Vegas Weddings, www.vegasweddings4u.com.)


About Us Academy Jobs Privacy Policy Contact Us Terms of Service Medical Disclaimer Site Index