American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
On Nov. 13, voting opened for three positions on the 2007 board of trustees. One month later, voting closed and the results are as follows:
Nominations for the Academy Board
As past-president of the Academy, it is my privilege to serve as chairman of the Academy’s nominating committee in 2007. This committee represents a variety of interests within the Academy and is charged with identifying appropriate candidates for the open positions on the 2008 board of trustees.
We are especially interested in cultivating leaders who have a clear vision of the future of organized medicine and who reflect the strength and diversity of our members.
The Academy’s leaders should be knowledgeable, experienced and prepared to devote the time and energy required by a large organization in these challenging times. This work is both demanding and rewarding for those interested in helping to assure the Academy’s success and responsiveness to members. With these characteristics in mind, I ask you to assist the committee by suggesting appropriate candidates for the following positions in 2008:
Public trustees do not vote on Academy governance, the budget or other programmatic issues. They do, however, provide insight on how ophthalmology can better work with the rest of medicine, the public, government and industry. A public trustee should not be an ophthalmologist, but should be someone who is familiar with and has a personal interest in current medical issues. The nominating committee will be pleased to receive suggestions for appropriate individuals, which may include physicians from other medical specialties or leaders in industry, government, public policy or advocacy.
Thank you for your interest and participation in this process. Membership participation is vital, not only for the Academy but also for our collective goals to be able to provide appropriate, accessible, affordable eye care to the public. I look forward to receiving your suggestions as we seek to identify the leaders among our members.
Send your confidential suggestions by Feb. 4 to the following address: Harry A. Zink, MD, Nominating Committee Chair, American Academy of Ophthalmology, P.O. Box 7424, San Francisco, CA 94120- 7424. Suggestions can also be e-mailed to email@example.com or faxed to 415-561-8526.
AAOE Announces Its Chairwoman and New Board of Directors
Gaye Baker, OCS, at the Mason Eye Institute, University of Missouri, assumed her one-year term as chairwoman of AAOE this month. In addition, two administrators joined the AAOE board—Mark Kelly with Eye Care Specialists, Kingston, Penn., and Susan Lustig, JD, at the Shepard Eye Center in Santa Maria, Calif.
For more information on these and other members of the AAOE board, visit www.aao.org/aaoesite.
The Academy Honors Latest Life Members
The physicians below have been members of the Academy for 35 consecutive years. The Academy honors them for their support by granting them “life” status:
AREDS2 Seeking Study Participants
The NEI’s new AREDS2 study needs participants between 50 and 85 years of age with large drusen in both eyes, or large drusen in one eye and advanced AMD (neovascular AMD or geographic atrophy) in the other eye. They must be available for yearly eye examinations for at least five years. Enrollment is expected to end by December 2007.
AREDS2 will refine the findings of the original study by adding lutein and zeaxanthin and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA to the study formulation. Previous observational studies have suggested these nutrients may protect vision.
For a list of study centers, eligibility requirements and other information, visit www.nei.nih.gov/AREDS2 or call 1-877-AREDS-80.
Medem’s Fee Change and Services Updates
Medem’s iHealth is a suite of Internet services that is designed to support better patient engagement and reduce costs. In 2007, iHealth will be enhanced to include customizable online registration, iHealthCards, improved messaging services and strategic partnerships that provide additional integration with electronic medical records and other pharmacy and claims data. Medem’s 2007 subscription fees will change to $395 per year effective Jan. 1, but you will still be able to take advantage of an Academy discount and pay $295 per year.
For further information, contact Medem’s David Ruvalcaba at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 415-644-3915.
Renew Your Academy Membership for 2007
By now you should have received your membership renewal packet in the mail. Renew immediately so you can continue to take full advantage of all the benefits of Academy membership. To ensure uninterrupted benefits, your Academy membership dues must be paid by June 1.
To renew your membership online, please visit www.aao.org/member/paydues. You can also renew by mail, fax or phone, as specified in your renewal packet.
If you have any questions, please contact Member Services by phone, 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8581, by fax, 415-561-8575, or by e-mail, email@example.com.
Seeking Outstanding Ophthalmologists
Would you like to nominate a colleague for this year’s Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award? The Academy must receive your nomination by March 16.
The award recognizes Academy fellows and members for outstanding contributions to humanitarian efforts, such as participation in charitable activities, care of the indigent and community service. It acknowledges those who have performed above and beyond the normal duties of an ophthalmologist.
To obtain a nomination form, please contact Member Services by phone, 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8581, by fax, 415-561-8575, or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also complete a nomination form online: Go to www.aao.org, select “Member Services” and then “Awards.”
The Bettman Ethics Education Lecture Program
The Academy’s Ethics Committee has dedicated its lecture series on medical ethics to the late Jerome W. Bettman Sr., MD. He became an Academy member in 1948 and was instrumental in the conception, development and implementation of the Academy’s Code of Ethics.
The Bettman Ethics Education Lecture Program is a practical educational tool made available by members of the Ethics Committee and Academy staff for all residency programs.
For more information, or to schedule a lecture program, contact the Academy ethics manager, Mara Pearse Burke, at 319-351-0440 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Focal Points 2007: Online and in Print
Focal Points: Clinical Modules for Ophthalmologists is now offered in two versions: print and online. The online PDF format features enhancements such as video clips for selected modules, descriptions of surgical techniques and direct links to online references.
Modules are posted online on the first of each month. Print subscribers receive three modules quarterly. Subscribe to the online version, print version or both.
Focal Points offers the latest clinical findings and step-by-step descriptions of diagnostic techniques and therapies. Each title concentrates on a specific topic that can be read quickly.
This year’s titles include Botulinum Toxin in Ophthalmology; Vein Occlusions: Update on Diagnostic and Therapeutic Advances; Refractive Lens Exchange; Orbital Inflammatory Disease; Traumatic Hyphema: Current Strategies; Neuro-Ophthalmologic Emergencies; Diplopia; Drugs and Pregnancy; and more.
Sample module. For a free sample module, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints, where you can download LASIK Complications.
Credits. Earn up to two AMA PRA Category 1 credits per module for a maximum of 24 credits per subscription.
Cost. A one-year subscription for either the print or online format is $145 for members and $205 for nonmembers. Add $30 for members and $45 for nonmembers to subscribe to both.
Focal Points Archive. This consists of individual modules from 2000–2005 and is available only online in a downloadable format. More than 60 modules are available in all subspecialties. The cost per module is $20 for members and $40 for nonmembers. Visit www.aao.org/focalpointsarchive.
To order a 2007 subscription, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8581.
Get Savvy to the Latest Coding Changes
Use the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives’ newest coding resources to get up to speed in 2007. The Ophthalmic Coding Coach, Ophthalmic Coding Coach CD-ROM, Ophthalmic Coding Coach Kit, CPT Pocket Guide for Ophthalmology and Ophthalmic Coding FlipCards are now available. Buy any four 2007 coding products and save 10 percent. Visit www.aao.org/store and search for the keyword “coding.”
New Orleans Welcomes Back the Academy in November
The Annual Meeting will take place Nov. 10–13 in New Orleans. It will be preceded by the Academy’s Subspecialty Day, Nov. 9–10, which will feature meetings in cornea, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, refractive surgery and retina.
In 2006, the convention center underwent a $60 million floor-to-roof remodeling/renovation, and it hosted 45 meetings totalling more than 245,000 attendees.
For updates on the Annual Meeting, visit www.aao.org/annual_meeting.
Claim Your Las Vegas CME Credits by Jan. 24
The CME credits that you earned at the 2006 Joint Meeting and/or Subspecialty Day must be reported by Jan. 24.
As a service to members only, the Academy maintains a transcript of Academy-sponsored CME credits earned, provided the member reports those credits to the Academy. Members may also report credit earned through other CME providers, so that a record of all CME credits earned is available on a single transcript.
To report your CME, go to www.aao.org/cme.
Enjoy Highlights of Las Vegas 2006
If you missed a particular session from the 2006 Subspecialty Day or Joint Meeting, you can still catch up on the following highlights:
To take advantage of these highlights and more, visit “Meeting Archives” at www.aao.org/annual_meeting.
State Society and Executive Director Awards
On Monday, Nov. 13, during the Society Presidents’ Breakfast and Recognition Awards held in Las Vegas, Cynthia A. Bradford, MD, Academy secretary for State Affairs, applauded all state ophthalmology society executive directors and presented two of them with Outstanding Executive Director Awards:
Kory Diemert of the Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (WAEPS) was recognized as the 2006 Outstanding Executive Director for Organizational Development. Ms. Diemert worked with WAEPS leadership to establish a new society Web site in 2005, worked with the Academy to present a successful CODEquest program in conjunction with the WAEPS annual meeting, held a daylong CME program at the state medical society annual meeting and held monthly WAEPS educational meetings.
Janna Pecquet of the Louisiana Ophthalmology Association was recognized as the 2006 Outstanding Executive Director for Political Action. In post-Katrina Louisiana, Ms. Pecquet’s grassroots operation faced down an optometric surgery bill despite having few operating funds or resources. She was credited with managing a complex web of relationships between ophthalmologists, legislators and lobbyists.
Also during this breakfast, the 2006 State Affairs Star Award recipients were announced:
To contact an executive director, visit www.aao.org/statesocieties.
Wallace L. M. Alward, MD, has been named the Frederick C. Blodi Chair of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa’s Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.
David F. Chang, MD, has received the University of California, San Francisco’s Charlotte Baer Memorial Award in recognition of distinguished service and excellence in teaching.
The NIH has elected Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD, to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a national resource for independently informed analysis and recommendations on issues related to human health. Dr. Sieving is currently director of the NEI.
The Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology has honored Andrew W. Tharp, MD, with the Ophthalmologist of the Year Award for his contributions to the IAO and enhancement of the profession of ophthalmology. Jonathan D. Walker, MD, and Ralph W. Stewart, MD, also won the Humanitarian Ophthalmologist of the Year and Advocate of the Year Awards, respectively.
Who’s in the News
Wonsuck Kim, DO, was interviewed for Alabama Public Television’s Oct. 19 airing of “Remaking Alabama Medicine,” a series exploring solutions to medical errors and management of chronic diseases.
Dr. Kim is the founder of Eye Care Alabama, an outreach program to get eye doctors to volunteer their time to treat the underserved.
The Memphis Business Journal has presented its Health Care Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award to Roger L. Hiatt, MD, for his contributions to the improvement and advancement of health care. Dr. Hiatt has served for 30 years as chairman of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s department of ophthalmology.
Peter Andreas Netland, MD, PhD, was also honored with the newspaper’s Health Care Heroes Community Outreach award for his efforts to heighten awareness of open-angle glaucoma.
“It’s not the money that’s important to me,” said Jay L. Schwartz, DO, in an Oct. 8 interview with Phoenix’s East Valley Tribune concerning his role as primary team eye doctor for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phoenix Coyotes and the Phoenix Suns. “As a boy growing up in Chicago, I always knew I wanted to go into medicine and become a surgeon.”
As Dr. Schwartz added, “I’ve carefully kept track of players’ batting averages after I treat them. One Diamondback player, after treatment, improved his average by 10 points.”
Florida’s Orlando Sentinel quoted Victor B. Thomas, MD, for an Oct. 10 article on such computer-related eye problems as blurred or double vision, headaches, neck and back pain and light sensitivity.
“The prevalence of these problems has increased just as the use of computers in our everyday lives has increased,” said Dr. Thomas. “Patients worry about it because the symptoms are real and bothersome.”
“People with AMD are eight times more likely to have difficulties shopping, 12 times more likely to have problems using a telephone and nine times more likely to experience difficulties doing simple housework,” noted Frank J. Weinstock, MD, FACS, in a story he wrote for the Oct. 12 issue of Boca Raton, Florida’s Boca Raton News.
“All of these factors together,” Dr. Weinstock added, “lead to depression and a sense of isolation that many people with AMD needlessly experience.”
PPPs Translated Into Chinese
Chinese physicians now have their own version of the Academy’s Preferred Practice Patterns and the International Council of Ophthalmology’s Process of Care Guidelines.
In a three-year effort, the Chinese Ophthalmological Society started off by translating the Academy and ICO documents. Next, it invited teams of subspecialists to go over the translation line by line. They decided that the Chinese version would target the mid- to upper-level of the country’s eye care. Any recommendations that were deemed unsuitable for such practices were modified or dropped. In general, changes to the guidelines were minimal and tended to reflect cultural and societal issues.
COS president Jialiang Zhao, MD, spearheaded the project, with help from Richard L. Abbott, MD (representing the Academy and ICO), Gopal P. Pokharel, MBBS (WHO) and Leon B. Ellwein, PhD (NEI).
Beijing to Host ISRS/AAO 2007
ISRS/AAO’s third annual meeting—in Beijing, China, on May 26 and 27—will be simultaneously translated into Mandarin. It is being held in partnership with the Chinese Ophthalmological Society and the Asia-Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.
Advanced registration opens on Jan. 24 and closes on April 11. The last day to submit abstracts is Jan. 31. For more information, visit www.isrs.org.
A Survey of Iranian Eye M.D.s
What do Iranian ophthalmologists think of the Academy? S-Farzad Mohammadi, MD, of the Farabi Eye Hospital in Tehran sent out a survey to Iranian members of the Academy. He found that the five membership benefits that were most used were:
Most of the respondents were interested in e-services (90 percent) and had visited the Academy’s Web site (85 percent). The survey was backed by the Academy and Iran’s national society.
A survey for non-U.S. members: The Academy invites its international members to fill out a short survey at www.aao.org/international.
Election Results Produce a Mixed Bag
The Democrats’ election day victories in the House will create significant changes in the congressional landscape and are likely to impact many of the Academy’s legislative priorities when the victors take office this month. While many health policy experts believe that Democratic control of Congress will be beneficial for physicians on issues such as preservation of Medicare fee-for-service and reform of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula, a few physicians might regret losing some of their close allies.
For health care issues, the impact of the November elections and the new House Democratic majority will be felt most significantly in the makeup of the committees. The biggest change will occur in the Ways and Means Committee where Republicans lost eight members through the elections and retirements. Particularly painful losses for the Academy and the rest of medicine were the defeats of OphthPAC-supported committee members Reps. Clay Shaw (R–Fla.), J. D. Hayworth (R–Ariz.), Chris Chocola (R–Ind.) and chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee Rep. Nancy Johnson (R–Conn.). Taking over the gavel for the full committee will likely be Rep. Charlie Rangel (D–N.Y.) and for the Health Subcommittee Rep. Pete Stark (D–Calif.), both OphthPAC supported. Democrats will also enjoy a majority with the addition of several new colleagues joining the committee.
The shift on the Energy and Commerce Committee will not be as dramatic with only two Republicans leaving the committee. Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R–Fla.) is retiring and Rep. Charlie Bass (R–N.H.) lost his re-election bid. At time of press, Rep. John Dingell (D–Mich.) will likely take over as chairman, while the Health Subcommittee is likely to be chaired by Rep. Frank Pallone (D–N.J.)—provided that Reps. Henry Waxman (D–Calif.) and Ed Towns (D–N.Y.) take leadership positions on other committees.
In the 2006 election cycle, OphthPAC contributed $1 million to 198 congressional candidates. OphthPAC is also celebrating the election of Sen. Ben Cardin (D–Md.), who was a champion for health care issues in the House, to the U.S. Senate. The nine physicians already serving in Congress will welcome an allergist: Democrat Steven Kagen, MD, was elected in Wisconsin’s 8th congressional district.
With all the changes in Congress, you can make a significant difference. Make the trip to Washington for the Academy’s Congressional Advocacy Day, April 18–19, 2007—the nation’s largest and most effective constituent lobby day dedicated to ophthalmology. For more information, visit www.aao.org/advocacy/advocacy_day.cfm.