American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
Museum of Vision Commemorates 30 Years
Founded in 1980, the Museum of Vision, an educational program of the Academy’s Foundation, has worked to preserve and promote ophthalmic heritage.
In honor of its 30th anniversary, the award-winning museum has launched a new Web site, www.museumofvision.org.
The museum’s new site connects the past with the present with a host of interactive, state-of-the-art Web tools designed to make artifacts and exhibits come to life:
Prepare for the DOCK Exam With the Experts
The next Academy Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Exam Review Course is July 23–25 in Rosemont, Ill. The course is based on the Practicing Ophthalmologists Curriculum (POC), the same content the American Board of Ophthalmology uses to develop the exam questions. Interactive sessions are taught by a distinguished faculty of instructors who created the POC and who provide an in-depth review of the most relevant clinical information.
The MOC Exam Review Course covers Core Ophthalmic Knowledge on July 24, plus your choice of Practice Emphasis Area on July 23 and/or July 25. You also will be provided with a printed course syllabus.
Journal Back Issues Available
Stan L. Coleman, MD, of the Wilmer Eye Institute would like to offer issues of the American Journal of Ophthalmology and the Archives of Ophthalmology, published from 1959 to 1981, to an agency, school or library that wants them. The only expense would involve shipping, to be handled by the recipient.
For more information, please contact Denny Smith at email@example.com.
Get a Free Poster for Low Vision/AMD Awareness Month
The free AMD poster from the Academy’s EyeSmart public awareness campaign is a great way to teach your patients how to protect their sight against this eye disease.
If you do not already have the poster, order a copy by visiting www.aao.org/eyesmartcampaign. The poster is also part of the free Eye- Smart eye disease kit, which includes other posters, info cards and a tabletop stand.
Collaborate With Your Colleagues Online
The “groups” feature is now available in the online community at www.aao.org. Groups are your mini-community within the Academy’s professional network and allow you to share discussions and media with others who are interested. Groups are available for subspecialties, alumni, events and other ophthalmic interests.
Get started today by logging in to www.aao.org with your username and password and clicking on the Community tab. Join as many groups as you like. Don’t see a group for your interest? Start your own by submitting the form, and the Academy will help you get started.
Did You Know About the Discount for SimplifEye?
Domestic Academy and AAOE members save on health care supplies through the SimplifEye Ophthalmic Purchasing Program.
Choose from more than 30,000 products, including pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical supplies, and major equipment. Order online through a “lowest price guarantee” formulary developed with the help of ophthalmologists. There is no enrollment fee, and you will receive free shipping on orders of $100 or more.
For more information or to sign up, visit www.aao.org/simplifeye or call 800-772-4346.
Check Out the Latest Online Coding Tool
Audit your eye code exam documentation just as third party payers do with AAOE’s E&M Internal Chart Auditor for Ophthalmology, 2nd Edition, Online (#012397V).
It is $165 for members and $223 for nonmembers.
To order, visit www.aao.org/store or phone 866-561-8558 (toll free in the United States) or 415-561-8540.
Teach Your Patients About AMD
Help your patients and their loved ones understand age-related macular degeneration better with these peer-reviewed patient education products:
Eye fact sheets are also available as a downloadable online subscription (#057158V).
Submit Abstracts for Papers, Posters and Videos
If you are interested in being a presenter at this year’s Joint Meeting, abstracts must be submitted online. For paper, posters and videos, the online submitter opens on March 17 and closes on April 13. Videos are due April 23.
Be sure to review the abstract guidelines before making your submission.
Academy Exhibit at ASCRSIf your plans take you to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) 2010 Symposium and Congress from April 10 to 14 in Boston, stop by the Academy’s booth (#2531) to see the latest products from the Academy.
Check Out the Meeting Archives
Did you know that resources from past Joint Meetings are available in the online archives? Access programs, papers, posters, videos, lectures, podcasts and more at www.aao.org/2010. Click “Scientific Program” and “Meeting Archives.”
Reimbursement Increase Threatened
On Jan. 1, ophthalmologists got a 5 percent increase in Medicare payments—much of it due to changes in practice expense (PE) reimbursement—and are on track for an 11 percent increase by 2014. For years, PE has been a key reimbursement issue for ophthalmology, accounting for about 45 percent of Medicare fees. In 2005, CMS adopted new PE data for a few specialties—cardiology, radiology and oncology—at the expense of other specialties (including ophthalmology) whose PE was based on 1997 data. Because adjustments to PE reimbursement are “budget neutral,” increases to some specialties resulted in cuts to others. The Academy worked for the past four years to have a new PE survey conducted, validated and adopted by CMS.
CMS accepts new PE data. The Academy led an effort to get the AMA to conduct a new Practicing Physician Information Survey (PPIS) and worked to ensure that ophthalmologists responded with the highest participation rate. CMS accepted the PPIS and moved to correct reimbursement inequities between specialties by implementing the new data beginning Jan. 1, although an outcry from specialties experiencing cuts resulted in CMS’ decision to phase in the changes.
PE increase threatened. Unfortunately, ophthalmology’s increase continues to be at risk because those specialties that were negatively affected by the survey (especially cardiology) will not accept the CMS decision, publicly declaring that they will “use every legal, legislative, regulatory and grassroots resource at our disposal to halt its implementation.” The Academy is leading a coalition of 20 physician and health care provider groups to protect implementation of the new PE data. The coalition has waged a counter-lobbying and public relations campaign, and in part because of the Academy’s efforts, Congress has not interceded to stop implementation of the new PE data. However, several groups representing organized cardiology and individual cardiologists filed a lawsuit—which has since been dismissed—against the Department of Health and Human Services that called for an immediate injunction against use of the data to recalculate payments. In addition, Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D–Texas) has introduced legislation (H.R. 4371) to prevent implementation of cuts in Medicare payments to cardiology resulting from PPIS. The coalition has shared with Congress its concerns about H.R. 4371 and the precedent it sets.
Academy sources also indicate that the Senate is considering legislation that restores rates for adversely impacted specialties without penalizing specialties (including ophthalmology) that are due the PE payment increase. The one-year proposal, costing about $1 billion, would allow specialties facing cuts to work out issues with CMS.
The Academy, along with the coalition, continues to fight all efforts to halt implementation of the PE changes.