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2011 Mid-Year Forum

In April, more than 400 Eye M.D.s gathered in Washington, D.C., to question regulators, legislators and Academy leaders about some of ophthalmology’s most critical issues. EyeNet touches on two Mid-Year Forum sessions below.

The Ethical and Practical Aspects of Implementing an Integrated Eye Care Delivery Team. A successful integrated eye care team is carefully created and shares a common goal: To ethically serve the best interests of patients and enhance access to the best possible eye care. While the Academy maintains its position on Surgery by Surgeons and the unique competencies in the practice of medicine, ophthalmology also must look to the future and recognize that the paradigm is shifting toward the integration of optometrists into ophthalmology practices.

This session explored how the profession can solidify its role as the primary eye care provider in the ophthalmology- led integrated eye care team. To accomplish this, ophthalmologists must become more efficient and ensure ethical delegation of care. Participants discussed the risk-management considerations of developing an integrated eye care team. And two practices that have successfully integrated optometrists shared their experiences.

All Wired Up: Electronic Health Records and Data Registries. In medicine, there exists a significant gap between what is known (evidence-based medicine) and what is being done (current practices). The landmark Institute of Medicine report “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century” highlighted that gap and how a large proportion of patients fail to receive care meeting consensus standards. This session examined how health information technology—including electronic health records (EHRs) and data registries—hold promise for transforming the delivery of health care and increasing the quality and safety of care. The session also addressed concerns about safeguarding security and privacy, and covered implications for the physician-patient relationship and practice efficiencies. Speakers emphasized the benefits of data registries, and the security concerns and future meaningful use requirements for EHR adoption.

For more information on the Mid-Year Forum, go to www.aao.org/myf.



Board Approves Revised Policy Statements

The Academy board of trustees has voted to approve revisions to two policy statements—Role of Ophthalmology and the Ophthalmologist and Ophthalmic Care of the Medically Underserved.

To read these policies and others, visit wwww.aao.org/about and click “Policy Statements.”


Time Is Running Out to Register for the MOC Exam Review Course

Registration for the Academy’s MOC Exam Review Course is open until July 1. This is the only review course based on the Practicing Ophthalmologists Curriculum (POC), which is also used by the American Board of Ophthalmology when formulating questions for the Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge exam.

The course will be held from July 22 to 24 in Rosemont, Ill.

To register online, visit www.aao.org/moc.


Consult With Colleagues Without Leaving the Office

Have a perplexing case? Confer with colleagues in the Academy’s online community. The community is an ideal place for ophthalmologists to get advice, compare treatment strategies and discuss a difficult case in a secure members-only environment.

Begin by visiting a group that pertains to your topic, such as Retina/Vitreous or Glaucoma. Then scroll down to “Recent Discussions” and click on “Add a Post.” You can also extend your expertise to other ophthalmologists by posting to their discussions or by commenting on blog posts.

For more information and to begin a conversation of your own, visit www.aao.org/community.



Print Patient Education Handouts on Demand

The Downloadable Patient Education Handout Subscription (#pehandouts) gives you access to nearly 100 PDF handouts describing eye conditions and treatments. Reviewed by ophthalmologists on a regular basis, these handouts help keep your patients informed and help reduce your malpractice risk.

A 12-month subscription with unlimited downloads is $275 for members and $370 for nonmembers.

For more information and to view samples, visit www.aao.org/patienthandouts.


New Glaucoma OTA Available

The Ophthalmic Technology Assessment titled Assessment of Visual Function in Glaucoma (#112074), published in May’s Ophthalmology, reviews advances in technology and analytic tools over the past decade. The OTA concludes that further research on an objective measure of visual function is needed because newer techniques are not yet able to provide definitive guidance on the diagnosis of glaucoma or its progression over time.

OTA reprints are $11 for members and $16 for nonmembers and are also available in the Ophthalmic Technology Assessment Collection (#112071). The collection contains all current OTAs and is $50 for members and $99 for nonmembers. OTAs are also available free online to members.

For more information, visit www.aao.org/one and click “Practice Guidelines” and “Ophthalmic Technology Assessments.”


Show Patient Education Videos on Your iPad

You can now download the Academy’s patient education videos in a variety of file formats for your iPad, iPhone, laptop or desktop.

Each video is $225 for members and $295 for nonmembers. The Downloadable Patient Education Video Collection (#057160V) includes all nine titles and is $1,420 for members and $1,920 for nonmembers.

For more information and sample video clips, visit www.aao.org/patientvideos.




Carl Kupfer, MD, director of the NEI for 30 years, passed away on April 7 at the age of 83.

Dr. Kupfer was appointed the first director of the NEI in 1970 after it was established by Congress. During his time at the institute, he served under six NIH directors and six U.S. presidents, and watched the NEI’s budget grow from $24 million to more than $450 million. “Creating an NIH institute from whole cloth is a daunting task,” current NEI director Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD, said. “But Carl had a vision for the NEI and persevered to make it a reality . . . The NEI and the vision research community are a lasting legacy of Carl’s 30 years of service.”

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s Kupfer Award was named in his honor and awarded to him in 1993 for his public service on behalf of eye and vision research. In 1997, the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology Carl Kupfer Award for Prevention of Blindness was established in his honor.

Dr. Kupfer earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1948 and his medical degree in 1952 from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. He also served in the U.S. Air Force for two years before returning as a research fellow at both the Wilmer Eye Institute and Harvard Medical School.



Optometric Surgery—Don’t Let It Spread

In February, the Kentucky governor signed into law an all-encompassing optometric surgery bill. Despite an aggressive campaign waged by a coalition of medical groups to educate lawmakers about the risks to patients, the optometric surgery legislation flew through the Kentucky legislature and was signed into law by the governor within 13 legislative days of being introduced.

The Kentucky bill authorizes optometrists to perform the following:

  • Laser procedures, including laser trabeculoplasty, peripheral iridotomy, iridoplasty, YAG capsulotomies, LASEK and laser-”only” clear lens extraction
  • Incisional surgery (“scalpel procedures”), with exceptions;
  • All methods of administering pharmaceutical agents, including injection procedures (except schedules I and II); and
  • Local and regional anesthesia.

The legislation also creates an independent optometric board so that no other board or state agency has authority to question what constitutes the practice of optometry. This optometry board has sole authority to expand optometric scope of practice without any legislative or regulatory oversight.

It is clear from the Kentucky experience that this is part of a well-funded, well-organized national campaign by optometry to legislate surgical privileges. The Academy and state ophthalmic societies are currently battling optometric surgical initiatives in Alabama, Colorado, Nebraska, South Carolina and Texas.

The Surgical Scope Fund is ophthalmology’s primary tool for protecting patients by fighting optometric surgical scope of practice expansion throughout the United States. Funds are used for political and educational infrastructure activities, media and political strategy, and lobbying expertise. Since its inception in 1999, the Surgical Scope Fund has protected patient safety by successfully derailing optometric surgical initiatives in 25 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Your financial support is instrumental in providing the advocacy resources needed to fight patient-threatening surgical scope expansion by nonphysicians. You can contribute online or check your contribution history by visiting www.aao.org/ssf.

Contributions to the Surgical Scope Fund are confidential. Corporate and individual donations are accepted but are not tax deductible as a charitable or business expense. Contributions can be unlimited and are not subject to Federal Election Commission reporting requirements. Funds are not used for contributions to political candidates or their PACs.

If you have questions, contact the Academy’s Governmental Affairs office at 202-737-6662.

Protect your patients by supporting the Surgical Scope Fund.


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