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Academy Notebook
 
 

• For the Record
• FYI
• Academy Store
• Members at Large
• Washington Report


For the Record

Meet the Candidate for President-Elect: Dr. Parke’s Statement

It is a singular honor to serve the Academy and my fellow members as president—perhaps the professional honor of a lifetime. I am proud to be an ophthalmologist, the son of an ophthalmologist, and the father of an ophthalmologist-in-training, and I consider the American Academy of Ophthalmology to be the most significant and powerful voice we ophthalmologists have in the future of our profession. It is the only organization that can speak for us all.

Having served for six years on the board of trustees, I also recognize the Academy presidency to be a formidable responsibility.

The president is, after all, for one year, the national elected voice of our profession to the public and to potential key decision-makers throughout government, industry, medicine and society. The president also impacts the agenda and deliberations of the board of trustees. To represent and serve our membership effectively and justly requires leadership based on effective communication skills, personal integrity, professional knowledge and respect, organizational temperament and management acumen.

For the past 15 years, I have served as chairman of the department of ophthalmology at the University of Oklahoma and as president and CEO of the independent, nonprofit Dean McGee Eye Institute. It is my privilege to lead a group of highly gifted, diverse colleagues whom I respect for their talents and their spirit. Even with administrative responsibilities, I still see patients and perform vitreoretinal surgery. Patient care has always given me great pleasure and pride.

Within the Academy, I have been given the opportunity to serve a number of different roles: trustee-at-large, senior secretary for ophthalmic practice and member or chairman of at least 17 other committees. Other professional responsibilities have included the boards of the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company and the American Board of Ophthalmology, and president of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. I also have been a director of the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology since 1993. I have made many trips to the state legislature and the governor’s office to lobby and offer testimony on behalf of ophthalmology and of medicine—not always successfully.

Ophthalmology and the Academy face a rapidly changing environment and its accompanying challenges —such as health system costs and structure, physician payment, increasing demand for services, scope of practice, globalization, professional fragmentation, information systems practice integration, medical quality and safety assurance, and public trust. As physicians advocating for patients, our profession and ourselves, we all must become informed and engaged if we expect fair and rational outcomes. We cannot individually assume a passive stance as just “physicians”; we must project ourselves as active “physician-citizens.”

If given the honor to serve as your president, I pledge to you that I will guard the Academy’s mission of education and public service. I will listen to my colleagues, be sensitive to our diversities, advocate vigorously for our patients and for our profession, and lead the Academy to the best of my ability to benefit its membership and those whom we serve.

The 2006 Annual Business Meeting

The Academy’s Annual Business Meeting will be held on Sunday, Nov. 12, in Venetian, Ballroom A-C at the Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, from 10 to 10:30 a.m. The order of business shall be:

  • Call to order
  • Report of the president
  • Report of the executive vice president
  • Election of fellows and members
  • New business
  • Announcements and notices
  • Adjournment

As stated in the Academy Bylaws, the order of business may be amended by an affirmative vote of a majority of the voting fellows and members present and voting at the meeting.

FYI

Introducing a New Award for Non-U.S. Academy Members

Are you an international member of the Academy? If so, you can qualify for the International Ophthalmologist Education Award.

First go online to apply for the award. You then need to complete 90 continuing medical education (CME) credits over a period of three years. Half of the credits must be Academy-sponsored CME. You will use the Academy’s online transcript service to record both your Academy and non-Academy CME.

If you complete 90 CME credits within three years of applying for the award, you 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 the award, visit www.aao.org/international. To access the online CME transcript service, visit www.aao.org/cme.

Go Online to Review and Update Your Academy Listing

Now is a good time to check the biographical information that appears in your “Find an Eye M.D.” and “Find a Colleague” listings.

The Academy has added and modified some of the topics that it collects data on.

  1. You can now add information about your satellite office(s). This information will be included in the online “Find an Eye M.D.” search. It will be your responsibility to ensure that this information is correct.
  2. When you edit your personal information, you will see a survey question. Your answer will help the Academy better understand your practice focus. (Your response will not change your listing.)
  3. Under Edit Your Practice Information, please complete the “Primary Practice Name” field. The Academy is preparing to launch a national ophthalmic practice benchmarking study, and only practices that can be identified by their practice name will be invited to contribute data and to access the results. (More details on the Ophthalmic Benchmarking Practice Data Survey will follow in the months ahead.)

Please note that the Academy reserves the right to exercise editorial judgment. Also, due to current computer specifications, the Academy cannot list any information that is not requested online in “Update Your Membership Listing.”

To review and update your listing, go to www.aao.org/member and select “Update Your Membership Listing.” If you have any questions, please contact Member Services by e-mail at member_ services@aao.org or by phone at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8581.

Review the Candidates for 2006 Membership

The candidates for 2006 Academy membership are now listed online. These applicants have not yet been reviewed by the board of trustees.

If you have reason to believe that any individual(s) should not be recommended by the board for election to membership, please submit the reason(s) with documentation (specific names, dates, places, etc.) in writing as soon as possible and no later than Nov. 1.

Please send any documentation by mail—AAO, Member Services, Attention: Jill Hartle, P.O. Box 7424, San Francisco, CA 94120-7424; by e-mail—member_services@aao.org; or by fax—415-561-8575.

Membership is a privilege and is conferred upon recommendation of the board of trustees and election thereto by a three-fourths (3/4) affirmative vote of the voting fellows and members present at the Annual Business Meeting, which this year takes place on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas.

To view the list of candidates, please visit the Academy’s Member Center at www.aao.org/member.

Academy Store

A Definitive Guide to Eye Care for the Nonophthalmologist

The Physician’s Guide to Eye Care, now in its third edition, provides primary care physicians, nurses and medical technicians with practical on-the-spot advice to meet their ever-increasing need for ophthalmic information.

Like the previous editions, this book was developed in cooperation with the nation’s largest primary care medical societies: the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Physicians and American Geriatrics Society. It was written by Jonathan D. Trobe, MD, who also wrote the first two editions.

This illustrated book provides step-by-step recommendations for performing an ophthalmic screening examination, screening the symptomatic patient, interpreting common ophthalmic systems and signs, managing the red eye and handling eye trauma.

It also covers new methods of treating refractive errors, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, severe dry eye syndrome and other ophthalmic entities. There are new sections on retinitis pigmentosa and cancers of the eyelids. The book also features discussion of 59 systemic diseases with important ophthalmic manifestations, including new entries on graft vs. host disease, Cogan’s syndrome, cryptococcal infection, inflammatory bowel disease and cicatricial pemphigoid. The book provides up-to-date information about the latest ophthalmic medications, systemic medications with ophthalmic side effects, and expanded annotated resources, as well as a glossary of ophthalmic terms, illustrations of ophthalmic anatomy and responses to common questions asked by patients.

The Physician’s Guide to Eye Care (#0240407) costs $68 for member and $88 for nonmembers.

A How-To Guide for Practice Compliance

Use the Compliance Guide for the Medical Practice to find out which laws apply to your practice. Its how-to instructions will help you to create a compliance program. It also includes tips on changing the office culture so that compliance is expected.

Topics include billing and reimbursement compliance, personnel policies, OSHA, CLIA and HIPAA.

Compliance Guide for the Medical Practice (#012177) costs $99 for members and $134 for nonmembers. It is published by the AMA and is now available at the Academy Store (see the box the on next page).

Help for Implementing an Electronic Health Records System

Are you considering moving from paper-based records to EHRs? This book provides step-by-step technical guidance that covers:

  • Security preparedness—Find out about federal regulations and learn techniques that will help you manage your security risks.
  • Organizational readiness —use workflow analyses to assess your practice’s IT readiness; determine a path for change management.
  • Human resources implementation—get prepped on common pitfalls and learn how to overcome them.
  • Return on investment—find out how you can use your electronic data to improve workflow efficiency, identify new revenue streams, improve patient communications and more.
  • Remittance implementation—learn the basic rules of transaction standards.

Technical and Financial Guide to EHR Implementation (#012178) costs $99 for members and $134 for nonmembers. It is published by the AMA.

Two DVDs to Educate Patients—Dry Eye and Glaucoma

The new Dry Eye DVD is designed to help patients understand causes of dry eye, and presents methods for managing and treating this condition. It will help you provide patients with an easy-to-understand explanation of the condition. The Dry Eye DVD features commentary from a doctor and a patient with dry eye. This DVD also includes full color animation.

The Academy’s Understanding Glaucoma is a new DVD that includes chapters that feature aids to informed consent for laser and drainage surgery.

The DVD is designed to help patients understand primary open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. This informative and upbeat patient education tool features an ophthalmologist discussing diagnostic techniques and treatment options, including visual field testing, proper techniques for administering eyedrops, and surgical options. Compliance is emphasized, as is the importance of regular glaucoma evaluations. Clear and concise computer animation shows the eye, diagnostic techniques and treatment actions.

Both DVDs include content in English and Spanish.

Dry Eye DVD (##050112 ) costs $180 for members and $232 for nonmembers. Understanding Glaucoma (# 050111) costs $180 for members and $232 for non-members.

Members at Large

In Oklahoma, a Pre-K Vision Screening Bill Becomes Law

Legislators in Oklahoma were asked to consider two approaches to protecting children’s vision.

Optometrists pushed for a compulsory, comprehensive eye exam for school children, but couldn’t persuade lawmakers to introduce their proposal as a bill.

The Academy, meanwhile, worked in concert with the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus to promote a different approach. Their members argued for a bill that requires children entering kindergarten, first grade and third grade to undergo a vision screening. Children who fail this screening are referred for further vision evaluation, which is performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. This bill passed Oklahoma’s House and Senate by near unanimous votes and was signed into law by the governor this summer.

“The enactment of the ‘Children’s Vision for Excellence Act’ is a true victory for the children of Oklahoma,” said Cynthia A. Bradford, MD, Academy secretary for Sstate Aaffairs. “We needed to support the children and their eye and vision health with options that were both clinically effective and fiscally responsible, which is what Oklahoma children deserve.”

On another positive note, as the bill completed its passage into state law, Oklahoma’s optometry association endorsed it.

Brazil Invites Academy MDs to Share Their Advocacy Experiences

The Academy’s secretary for State Affairs, Cynthia A. Bradford, MD, and her predecessor in that position, Michael W. Brennan, MD, were invited to join more than 40 leaders of Brazilian ophthalmic societies for an advocacy forum in São Paulo.

The forum was the brainchild of Walbert Souza, MD, a participant in Curso de Liderazgo, which is the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology’s leadership development program. Zelia Correa, MD, played a key role in coordinating this across-continents effort. Dr. Correa is chairwoman of the Council on Brazilian Ophthalmology’s (CBO) young ophthalmologist committee and is the Curso’s director. The event was sponsored in part by Allergan and Alcon.

Dr. Souza’s vision, and his project as CBO’s Curso participant, was to bring together leaders from Brazil’s 26 state societies and its ophthalmic subspecialty societies, along with participants from the CBO’s young ophthalmologist section, in order to discuss how to integrate and unify their legislative agendas within the CBO.

Participants discussed regulatory advocacy and— in a live telecast from Puerto Rico—Natalio Izquierdo, MD, a 2004 Curso graduate, discussed legislative strategies. The deputy ministers for health and labor were among the Brazilian ministerial representatives who discussed the development of personal and professional relations. Drs. Bradford and Brennan described the U.S. experience with scope of practice legislation.

CBO President Harley Bicas, MD, said, “This forum provided an excellent opportunity to learn pearls and pitfalls from each of the Brazilian state society leaders as well as from the U.S. experience. This should help us solidify and unify our strategies as we move forward.”

People

The Minnesota Academy of Ophthalmology has honored Rene W. Pelletier, MD, with the George T. Tani, MD, Humanitarian Award for his work with such organizations as Health Care for the Homeless and State Services for the Blind. The award honors MAO members who have demonstrated a pattern of humanitarian practice involving charitable activities, indigent care and community service.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation has presented its 2006 Award for Peace and International Understanding to Nepalese ophthalmologist Sanduk Ruit, MD. The foundation honored Dr. Ruit for “placing Nepal at the forefront of developing safe, effective and economical procedures for cataract surgery, enabling the needlessly blind in even the poorest countries to see again.”

Nelson R. Sabates, MD, has been named chairman of ophthalmology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. He has served as director of the residency training program and of vitreoretinal service in the Eye Foundation of Kansas City at Truman Medical Centers since 1993.

Who’s in the News

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Barbara E. K. Klein, MD, for a June 21 article discussing the use of popular cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to reduce the risk of cataracts. “It’s an interesting observation, and we’re very excited about it,” noted Dr. Klein, “but the findings need to be reviewed again and again in a variety of settings before we can really begin to accept them.”

Col. William P. Madigan, MD, ophthalmologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., was interviewed for a July 23 article in New Orleans’ The Times-Picayune detailing the thousands of service members who seek laser eye surgery to avoid wearing glasses. “Soldiers perform better if they don’t have to worry about breaking eyeglasses, losing contact lenses or glasses, or lenses fogging up at critical moments,” noted Dr. Madigan.

A nationwide shortage of cornea donations may soon be eased by making people with laser surgery eligible to donate, according to John Olkowski, MD, in the July 2 edition of Honolulu’s Star-Bulletin. Dr. Olkowski noted that patients with LASIK or PRK eye surgery have not been candidates for cornea donation because of the transplantation method. However, he added, endothelial keratoplasty will change this restriction.

People Magazine interviewed James B. Ruben, MD, for a July 24 article about 14-year-old Ben Underwood, a blind child who uses a steady stream of sounds with his tongue to navigate his environment by echolocation. Commenting on Ben’s ability to face new challenges, Dr. Ruben, the child’s ophthalmologist, stated, “The world is not going to change for these kids; they need to adapt to it.”

Teaching the basics of strength training to the visually impaired should be “a global concept,” remarked Henry Trattler, MD, in a June 15 story for The Herald, a Brandenton, Fla., newspaper. Dr. Trattler added that it is critical for them to learn the correct way to strengthen the entire body so as to be more capable of self mobility.

In the sunshine state, NBC viewers saw William B. Trattler, MD, explain dry eye. The live interview was broadcast on the Aug. 14 South Florida Today newscast.

Several PBS stations nationwide have recently picked up In Our Prime, a five-part series providing health and fitness advice and profiling Baby Boomers who are finding new careers and adventures in retirement. B. Thomas Hutchinson, MD, and Martin Wand, MD, are featured in the segment about EyeCare America’s Glaucoma EyeCare Program.

Washington Report

The Coalition for Healthcare Accountability Responsibility and Transparency (CHART) is an Academy-led effort that includes the AMA and other provider groups. It is combating the misinformation that clouds the public’s understanding of which health care providers are actually physicians.

The Problem. Misleading statements and advertisements by some allied health professionals can confuse patients about their provider’s qualifications. In the case of eye care, many patients mistakenly believe that an optometrist has attended medical school and performs ocular surgery. This is hardly surprising when optometrists in places like Michigan and New York are describing themselves as “optometric physicians” on their business cards and in ads that appear in the yellow pages, in news- papers and online. Other optometrists list laser or microsurgery in ads describing their practice. According to a recent CHART survey, 90 percent of Americans want to know in advance of treatment if their provider is not a physician. These data buoy the results of last fall’s National Consumers League eye care survey that found that more than 90 percent of survey respondents want a medical doctor to prescribe or inject medicines, and 95 percent want a medical doctor to perform surgery.

The Solution. Working with the Academy and CHART, Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) has introduced the “Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2006,” H.R. 5688, that provides additional protection for patients by specifying that it is a violation of federal law for nonphysician providers to misrepresent their education, skills or training. This bill would strengthen the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to challenge misleading marketing by health care providers who are not MDs, DOs or dentists and deter them from making deceptive misrepresentations. It would also make it unlawful for nonphysicians to hold themselves out as medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, doctors of dental surgery or doctors of dental medicine. The FTC’s attention to the issue could have a big impact.

You Can Make a Difference. Join the Academy’s effort to secure bill cosponsors. At the Academy’s Web site you can print a letter to your representative urging support for H.R. 5688. Go to www.aao.org/advocacy, selecting “Advocacy Action Center,” “Issues and Legislation” and “Health Care Truth and Transparency Act.” Or, if you have examples of misleading advertising from your area, please e-mail them to dsuko@aaodc.org so that the Academy can share them with the FTC, which is closely following this problem.