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Yo info

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November/December 2008

YO Info™ is the American Academy of Ophthalmology's newsletter for young ophthalmologists (YOs) — those in training as well as in their first few years in practice.

This newsletter provides YOs with information about practice management, coding and insurance questions, balancing work and family, and many other issues relevant to YOs. You'll also learn more about resources and services that are already available to you from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives (AAOE).

Editor's Note
In addition to first-person coverage of the Joint Meeting, this issue we also debut video coverage in our story on how YOs observe the holidays at work. Let us know what you think or suggest stories you would like to see in a future YO Info by sending an e-mail to

Practice Management
Signs and Symptoms of the Best Practices
Since I work in ophthalmology, I tend to either accompany family to the ophthalmologist office or certainly hear details following the exam, surgery, etc. Over the past few months, several family members have had strabismus surgery, retinal detachment surgery, cataract extraction with IOL, bilateral blepharoplasty, retinal tear repair, basal cell carcinoma removal and glaucoma surgery, as well as numerous special testing services and exams. During those visits, I’ve found that, in addition to coding correctly, many of the offices I’ve visited have displayed what I consider to be signs and symptoms of the best practices. Here are a few of the highlights.

Avoiding Illegal Service Referrals: The Stark Statute Explained
At its core, the Stark statute is this basic: If you, as a physician, or a member of your immediate family has a financial relationship with an entity, then you may not refer a Medicare or Medicaid patient to that entity and that entity may not submit a bill for any item or service defined as a designated health service (DHS), unless you qualify under one of the Stark exceptions. Unlike other regulations physicians usually deal with, the Stark law is a "strict liability" law, meaning that if you bill or the entity you referred to bills for a DHS and you are not protected by an exception, you are in violation of Stark (i.e. no intent is required).

Joint Meeting
YOs, What Do You Know? (What We Learned at the Joint Meeting)
I’m 30,000 feet over Oklahoma, flying back from the Academy’s Joint Meeting, and a gregarious septuagenarian with a three-beer buzz has just informed me that, in five years, I will never believe how dumb I am now. Fortunately, after attending the YO Program at the Joint Meeting, I will not have to wait five years to realize how little I know about preparing for my professional life after residency. And after speaking with residents in the YO Lounge at the meeting, I realized that I was far from the only person lacking such knowledge.

Mistletoe, Potlucks and Gas Cards: How YOs Celebrate the Holidays at Work
If Frank Capra made It’s a Wonderful Life in this century, and set scenes in the office of an ophthalmologist, would he use the same decorations, film the same type of celebrations? It’s hard to say. In a world where physicians work in varied settings, communities and practices, “the holidays” can mean everything from Hanukkah to Halloween to Valentine’s Day. And observance of them can range from decorations or free turkeys to extra time off.

10 Clinical Pearls for Cataract Surgery
The art of cataract surgery is an ongoing process of improvement for an ophthalmologist. Even when things become "routine," there are new and unexpected events that can occur that will challenge the best surgeon. Having performed more than 1,000 cataract surgeries over the last four years, here are the top ten pearls I've learned from my senior partner and mentor, Arthur J. Weinstein, MD, and friend, Alan Crandall, MD, Moran Eye Center, University of Utah.

YO Spotlight: Milan Shah, MD
For this month's YO Spotlight, we talked to Milan Shah, MD, who first came to our attention for his involvement in the 2008 Mid-Year Forum and Congressional Advocacy Day. He discussed his passion for advocacy, especially regarding scope-of-practice issues. Dr. Shah is currently in a vitreoretinal surgical fellowship at Indiana University.

Events and Resources

Is Your Eye on Efficiency? Take Advantage of New Resource Section
To help ophthalmologists prepare for the coming baby boomer-led increase in patients, the Academy has launched a new section of resources designed to help practices maximize efficiency. Learn more.

Get to Know the Academy’s New EVP: David W. Parke II, MD
As you may have heard, Dr. Parke was recently named the new executive vice president and CEO of the Academy, replacing H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, upon his retirement in the new year. YO Info talked with Dr. Parke earlier this year.

Preferred Practice Patterns: Blepharitis
As a service to its members and the public, the Academy has developed a series of guidelines called Preferred Practice Patterns™ (PPP) that identify characteristics and components of quality eye care. The YO Info newsletter provides a link to a PPP to help familiarize young ophthalmologists with this important resource.