American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
2010 Mid-Year Forum
The Academy’s Mid-Year Forum will be held April 21–24 at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. This annual policy meeting brings together leaders throughout ophthalmology, including the Academy’s board of trustees and leadership from state, subspecialty and specialized interest societies. In addition., a cadre of young ophthalmologists will be sponsored to attend as part of the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador Program. This program is a collaborative effort with state and subspecialty societies, as well as training programs, to include members-in-training at the Mid-Year Forum, where they can further their interest and involvement in advocacy, learn about key issues facing ophthalmology and experience the policy input process at the Academy’s Council meeting.
Mid-Year Forum attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a series of sessions:
Preceding this year’s Mid-Year Forum is Congressional Advocacy Day, an important opportunity for all ophthalmologists to participate in advocacy at the federal level. Advocacy Day participants will learn about key Academy priorities during an evening briefing on April 21 and will head to Capitol Hill on April 22 for congressional visits arranged by the Academy’s Washington, D.C., staff.
Registration for Congressional Advocacy Day and the Mid-Year Forum opens this month on the Academy’s Web site. For more information, visit www.aao.org/myf or contact Gabrielle Naughten at email@example.com or 415-561-8565.
Congratulatory Message From Congress
On Sept. 23, a message from Sen. Herb Kohl (D–Wis.) congratulating the Academy on the 25th anniversary of its Code of Ethics was published in the Congressional Record.
“Mr. President, I would like to congratulate the American Academy of Ophthalmology as this year marks the 25th anniversary of their groundbreaking ethics code,” Sen. Kohl said. “One of the first of its kind in the medical world, this self-initiated Code of Ethics paved the way and set the standard for numerous other codes of conduct within professional medical organizations.”
To read the full message, visit www.gpoaccess.gov/crecord and search for “American Academy of Ophthalmology” (using quotation marks). For more information about the Academy Code of Ethics, visit www.aao.org/about and click “Ethics.”
New EyeSmart Initiative
The Academy’s EyeSmart public awareness campaign has launched a new initiative to help people with diabetes protect their vision. EyeSmart EyeCommitted is built around a campaign to have people with diabetes pledge to get an annual dilated eye exam.
The centerpiece of this effort is an online pledge application—a small widget or on-screen tool—that patients or doctors can add to their blogs or Web sites. Using this widget, people with diabetes can take the pledge online and then get periodic reminders by e-mail to follow through on their commitment to protect their sight.
For physicians, Eye-Smart has also created a free diabetic eye disease poster that stresses the importance of the annual eye exam.
To learn more about the campaign, visit www.aao.org/eyesmartcampaign.
On Oct. 26, voting opened for five positions on the 2009 board of trustees. One month later, voting closed and the results are as follows:
For more information on the Academy’s board of trustees, visit www.aao.org/bot.
Nominations for the Academy Board
By Michael W. Brennan, MD
As past-president of the Academy, it is my privilege to serve as chairman of the Academy’s Nominating Committee in 2010. This committee represents a variety of interests within the Academy and is charged with identifying appropriate candidates for the open positions on the 2011 board of trustees.
We are especially interested in identifying leaders in our profession with experience in confronting the critical issues facing 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 2011:
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. On behalf of the Nominating Committee, I look forward to receiving your suggestions as we seek to identify our profession’s future leaders. I can be reached at 336-228-0254 or 336-213-1670 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on how to send your confidential suggestions by Feb. 1, visit www.aao.org/about and click “Governance,” “Elections” and “Nominations Process.”
New International Advisors to Academy’s Board of Trustees
The Academy has introduced two international advisors to its board of trustees: Dennis S. C. Lam, MD, of Kowloon, Hong Kong, and Stefan Seregard, MD, of Stockholm, Sweden.
The advisors will attend board of trustee meetings as nonvoting members and will advise on relevant topics or issues in order to provide the views of members outside the United States. The board of trustees selected these two advisors for one-year terms from two of the four supranational regions. Next year, their replacements will be selected from each of the two remaining regions.
This two-year program will be reassessed in 2011.
AAOE Announces Its Board of Directors
Traci Fritz, COE, administrator of Fite Eye Center, will continue as AAOE chairwoman for a second year. AAOE welcomes Sandra Curd, MBA, COE, COA, OCS, administrator for Professional Eye Associates in Dalton, Ga., to the board. Other members of the AAOE board include Julia Lee, JD, Albert Castillo, Elise Levine, OCS, Gregory Brinton, MD, MBA, and Dianna Seldomridge, MD, MBA. David A. Durfee, MD, continues to represent AAOE to the Academy board of trustees in his role as senior secretary for Ophthalmic Practice.
For more information about members of the AAOE board, visit www.aao.org/aaoesite/about_us.cfm.
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.
Robert I. Adler, MD
International Ophthalmologist Education Award
The Academy is pleased to announce the recipients of the International Ophthalmologist Education Award for 2009. This award acknowledges Academy members who have demonstrated their commitment to staying current with advances in medicine through participation in CME and professional development.
Francesco P. Bernardini, MD (Italy)
The award is open to all international members not currently enrolled in a training program. To receive this award, members must obtain 90 CME credits within three years after applying for the award.
To apply, visit www.aao.org/international.
Take a Look at the 2010 Codequest Calendar
Attend Codequest, a half-day, state-specific coding seminar, to learn how to code properly, appeal your claims successfully and receive proper reimbursement. Topics include: daily chart notes covering all subspecialties; E&M vs. Eye code; modifier application; PQRI and e-prescribing; and more. Codequest attendees may e-mail coding questions prior to the meeting date and receive customized answers during the course.
To view the Codequest calendar, visit www.aao.org/codequest.
Renew Your Academy Membership for 2010
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, visit www.aao.org/member/paydues. You also can renew by mail, fax or phone, as specified in your renewal packet.
If you have 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.
Use EHR Central to Research Vendors
AAOE’s EHR Central offers a number of resources to assist practices with implementation and the optimal use of an EHR system.
The 2009 EHR Vendor Survey was recently completed by 17 vendors in the ophthalmology market. For each EHR product listed, the database captures information about current EHR installations, software specifications (including information on interfaces with ophthalmology devices), current CCHIT certification and plans to pursue ophthalmology certification when available.
For more information, visit www.aao.org/ehr and click “Vendors.”
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 19. The award recognizes Academy fellows and members for outstanding humanitarian efforts, such as participation in charitable activities and community service.
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 by visiting www.aao.org and clicking “Member Services” and “Learn About Awards.”
Q: Several patients have asked about corneal cross-linking as a possible treatment option for keratoconus. I advised them that I do not perform this procedure and am not convinced by the current research that it is effective in slowing the progression of keratoconus or improving best-corrected vision. These patients did not meet the criteria for enrollment in the FDA-approved trials that were under way at the time of their inquiries, and thus I advised them that I would not provide them with a referral to another physician who performs this procedure. Several patients became upset with me and decided to pay large sums of money out of pocket to have the corneal cross-linking procedure performed. What are my obligations regarding referring patients to other ophthalmologists for procedures that are considered novel or experimental?
A: The Academy’s Code of Ethics addresses the ophthalmologist’s obligations in situations such as this in Rule 4: Other Opinions. The patient’s request for additional opinion(s) shall be respected. Consultation(s) shall be obtained if required by the condition.
Any novel treatment modality in clinical trials in the United States is by definition “under investigation” and therefore not considered standard therapy. While ophthalmologists should be aware of ongoing clinical trials and mention these to their patients when appropriate, they are by no means required to do so. In the situation described, the patients were not candidates for the FDA corneal cross-linking trial, and thus there is even less obligation to refer these patients to ophthalmologists performing this procedure.
If and when results of an FDA-approved trial are published in the peer-reviewed literature indicating that corneal cross-linking is a beneficial treatment modality for patients who meet certain inclusion criteria, you should mention this treatment option with eligible patients. If the patient expresses interest in having the procedure performed, you feel that he/she would benefit from the procedure and it falls within your scope of practice, you should offer to provide the treatment or refer the patient to another ophthalmologist who does.
In cases in which data are published in the peer-reviewed literature supporting the efficacy and safety of a new treatment option but you remain skeptical of the technology and/or critical of the published data, your reservations should be communicated to the patient.
Check Out These Glaucoma Patient Education Materials
The Academy offers a number of peer-reviewed materials designed to enhance patient understanding about glaucoma and help them comply with their treatment regimen:
For more information, to see samples or view DVD clips, visit www.aao.org/patientedproducts.
Coding Coach Is Now Online
The Ophthalmic Coding Coach Online Subscription (#012367V) provides users with the same comprehensive coding information found in the popular 2010 print edition, including CPT codes, associated diagnosis codes, valuable coding clues and more. Users may access the online Coding Coach from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.
The Ophthalmic Coding Coach Online Subscription is $215 for members and $290 for nonmembers. Order four or more coding products and receive 10 percent off.
For information on coding products, visit www.aao.org/codingproducts.
Focal Points 2010: Online and in PrintThe 2010 Focal Points CME program features 12 modules on clinical topics. Combining the latest research findings with clinical discussions on diagnosis and treatment of a specific disease or condition, every module also includes “Clinician’s Corner”—an experts forum on controversial clinical issues discussed in the module.
Purchase of the print version includes access to Focal Points Online, which features video clips and direct links to online references. Subscribers also have the option of receiving only the online version at a reduced price. While the print modules will be mailed in four quarterly packets, online modules are published monthly.
This year’s upcoming module titles include:
Sample module. For a free sample of a past module, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints.
CME. 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 the combined print/online package is $187 for members and $252 for nonmembers. The online version alone is $155 for members and $209 for nonmembers.
To order a 2010 subscription, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8540.
Chicago Welcomes the Academy
The 2010 Joint Meeting of the Academy and the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology will take place Oct. 16–19 at McCormick Center in Chicago. It will be preceded by the Academy’s Subspecialty Day, Oct. 15–16, which will feature meetings in refractive surgery, retina, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology and pediatric ophthalmology.
For updates, visit www.aao.org/2010.
Claim Your 2009 San Francisco CME Credits by Jan. 20
The CME credits that you earned at the 2009 Joint Meeting and/or Subspecialty Day must be reported by Jan. 20.
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 also may report credits 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.
2009 Best of Show Videos
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2009 Best of Show video awards at the Joint Meeting in San Francisco. The 10 winning videos were selected by the Annual Meeting Program Committee.
To view any of the 2009 videos online, select “Scientific Program” and “Meeting Archives” at www.aao.org/2009.
This year’s recipients were:
2009 Best Papers
Congratulations to the authors of the Best Original Papers at the 2009 Joint Meeting in San Francisco. The 17 winning papers were selected by the panelists in each of the 11 paper sessions.
Sunday’s Best Papers were:
Monday’s Best Papers were:
Tuesday’s Best Papers were:
To view the Best Papers abstracts, go to www.aao.org/2009, click “Scientific Program” and “2009 Online Program,” and type in the paper’s Event Code.
Medicare Programs Offer Significant Incentives
In addition to the 5 percent bonus implemented on Jan. 1, ophthalmologists can receive up to a 4 percent bonus by voluntarily participating in Medicare’s 2010 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) and e-prescribing programs. Physicians have the option of participating in PQRI from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2010, or July 1 to Dec. 31, 2010. For physicians who participate July 1 to Dec. 31, 2010, the bonus will be on their charges from that half year.
As sought by the Academy, the 2010 Final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule restores Measure 139, “Cataracts: Comprehensive Preoperative Assessment for Cataract Surgery With Intraocular Lens (IOL) Placement” and Measure 141, “Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG): Reduction of Intraocular Pressure (IOP) by 15 Percent or Documentation of a Plan of Care,” as claims-based measures. These measures now may be reported via claims or a data registry. Ophthalmology has eight eye care measures and one process measure to report on in 2010. Two new cataract measures also will be part of 2010 PQRI but are only reportable via a data registry. Currently, there is no ophthalmology-specific data registry, but the Academy is researching options for quick implementation.
To receive the PQRI incentive, participating physicians will have to report on three quality measures 80 percent of the time. If fewer than three quality measures apply to them, they can report on fewer than three measures. However, they must do so 80 percent of the time.
Physicians have the opportunity to earn an additional 2 percent bonus if they voluntarily participate in e-prescribing. The process to earn the bonus is simplified in 2010: Physicians only have to report the e-prescribing measure 25 times during the year and report on one G-code. In 2009, there were three G-codes to demonstrate a practice was e-prescribing, and a practice had to report on 50 percent of applicable cases. In order to be eligible for the e-prescribing incentive, a minimum of 10 percent of your Medicare allowable charges must come from the office visit codes (Eye codes and E&M).
Beginning in 2012, eligible professionals who are not successful e-prescribers and do not qualify for an exemption will experience a 1 percent reduction in payment as penalty. In 2011 and 2012, e-prescribing participants will receive a 1 percent incentive and, in 2013, a 0.5 percent incentive. Providers who claim the stimulus money for adopting electronic health records (EHR) are not eligible to receive both the e-prescribing bonus and the EHR incentive.
Physicians who are not successful e-prescribers and do not qualify for an exemption will experience a 1 percent reduction in payment.