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Young Ophthalmologists
Yo info

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March 2009

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
This month we kick off a new series looking at the big decisions faced by many YOs. The first question: Whether or not to get a fellowship. While this story focuses mainly on the decision as faced by U.S.-based ophthalmologists, we plan to do a future story on U.S. fellowship opportunities for internationals. Let us know what you think of the series or would like to see us cover in the future by e-mailing

Practice Management
Network Your Way to a Job
networking verb 1 : Creating a web of contacts to support and help others. 2 : Oftentimes thought of as schmoozing and pandering to get what you want, but in reality, the art of building alliances.

Collecting Unpaid Charges: What a Practice Can and Can’t Do
The ophthalmology practice, like any business, invariably encounters a percentage of charges that go unpaid. When an insurance company or other payor is involved, the collection process for those unpaid obligations is viewed under the law in the context of one business pursuing another in satisfaction of a contractual obligation. However, when the unpaid debt is the obligation of a patient, both federal and state laws impose extensive requirements on the business seeking payment. These laws are designed to protect the consumer from overreaching collection practices. In addition, state and local medical societies may have procedural and ethical requirements that must be observed when it comes to collection of payment for medical care and treatment.

Eye M.D.-Led Eye Care Teams: A Preview of the Mid-Year Forum’s Hot Topics
With an economic gloom that seems to deepen every week, it might seem a little counterintuitive to be preparing for increased workloads. Yet that’s one of the key topics Academy, state and subspecialty society leaders attending next month’s Mid-Year Forum will be looking at: what the coming influx of baby boomer patients means for practices. In particular, the forum’s closing session, “Physicians First: A Team Approach to Primary Eye Care,” will explore the importance of closely integrated, collaborative eye care teams led by ophthalmologists. Here’s a more detailed preview of a few of the forum’s highlights.

Big Decisions, Part 1: Is a Fellowship for You?
The question of getting a fellowship can be a tricky one. Do you need the additional training within the area of ophthalmology you want to practice? Will it give you an edge in a competitive market? Can you command a higher salary with a fellowship? For most people, the two immediate issues are cost and time.

The ABCs of Fellowship Applications
The first stop for most ophthalmology residents interested in a fellowship is SF Match. The San Francisco-based matching program has been coordinating the processing, distribution and review of post-graduate medical education applicants since 1977 and has processed more than 50,000 registered applicants worldwide.

Events and Resources

Deciding Between Private Practice and Academics? Ask Us Your Pressing Questions
Next month YO Info continues our new series on decisions with a look at the private-practice-vs.-academics debate. If you have related questions you’d like us to consider when planning the story, e-mail them to We cannot promise to cover all questions submitted, but will do our best to address the concerns you share with us.

Joint Meeting Abstract Submitter Closing Soon
Interested in presenting a paper, video or poster at this year’s Joint Meeting in San Francisco? Visit Presenter Central on the Academy’s Web site to learn about requirements or to submit an abstract. Don’t wait too long, though! The abstract submitter closes April 14. The deadline to submit actual videos is April 24.

Preferred Practice Patterns: Vision Rehabilitation for Adults
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.