|Defending What We’ve Earned: YOs’ Role in Leadership, Advocacy 08/12/2014|
The power players of the Academy’s Secretariat for State Affairs met in Freeport, Maine, last month to strategize how to protect our profession and our patients against optometrists seeking to expand their scope of practice. This team of practicing ophthalmologists volunteers countless hours of their time throughout the year, but these battles aren’t simply the purview of senior ophthalmologists. It’s up to us as young ophthalmologist (YOs) to help support and extend their hard work and dedication for the defense of our professional interests. That’s one reason I was there.
|Studying Won’t Protect Us: A Resident’s Lessons from Mid-Year Forum 05/13/2014|
I turned my phone back on after the OKAP exam to unexpected good news: I’d won the New York Clinical Grand Rounds contest and would be sponsored by the New York State Ophthalmological Society to attend the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum as an Advocacy Ambassador. The rest of that weekend, I celebrated winning the award. But now, after my trip, I realize the real prize was the experience I gained through participating in this extraordinary event.
|‘House of Cards’ in Real Life: 2 Things I Didn’t Know Could Shape My Future 04/17/2014|
Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., was addressing a group of fellow physicians before our much-anticipated visit to Capitol Hill. While he spoke, I pictured a version of Dr. Ruiz’ teenage self, dressed in a thick, itchy, poorly fitted blue suit in 100° weather soliciting donations to fund his college education. Dr. Ruiz told the group he wrote and signed a contract with contributing members of his community, promising to return as a physician.
|Braving the Vortex: Inside the Big Leaders’ Meeting in D.C. 03/18/2014|
It was the second week of January, and the polar vortex kept an icy chill over Washington, D.C. Nevertheless, 13 Academy leaders assembled at the annual Federal Affairs Secretariat meeting with one goal on their plate: to determine the year’s federal agenda for the world’s largest ophthalmology association. This annual meeting of the Secretariat for Federal Affairs includes a representative from the Young Ophthalmologist (YO) Committee. Why is a young ophthalmologist’s presence important? Because we bring a fresh perspective at a time when every decision made will directly impact our future.
|Stake Your Claim on the Future at This Year’s Mid-Year Forum! 02/10/2014|
Are you interested in how ophthalmologists can harness “big data” for their own practices? Are you concerned with the liability and data-security risks that electronic health records (EHRs) pose? Like the practice of all medicine, ophthalmology is both a clinical and political endeavor. That’s why the Academy hosts its annual Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C. For young ophthalmologists, the meeting provides a chance to learn about and weigh in on issues that could affect the rest of their careers in medicine.
|Making People Care: Caverns and Coffee at the Academy’s Secretariat for State Affairs Meeting 08/13/2013|
I have often wondered what it takes to make people care. I try to convince my patients with diabetic retinopathy to control their blood sugars and my AMD patients to stop smoking, but it’s difficult to make people do something they don’t want to do. That was the challenge facing state and national leaders at the recent meeting of the Academy Secretariat for State Affairs, where I was the young ophthalmologist representative. Much of the discussion echoed questions I ask in my own practice: How do you make them care?
|Saving a Place at the Table 04/15/2013|
"If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu," said Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD, R-Ind. A former cardiothoracic surgeon now serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Bucshon spoke to a roomful of young ophthalmologists during a luncheon at the Academy’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. His words might seem harsh, but they resonated with me during my eye-opening experience on Capitol Hill. Rep. Bucshon is correct — ophthalmologists (and all physicians) have a responsibility to protect our profession and our patients by becoming engaged in politics. If we do not, then we will most certainly be “on the menu,” so to speak.
|From Eye Balls to Eye Bills: An Ophthalmology Resident Goes to Washington, D.C. 04/15/2013|
Walking into the U.S. Capitol building evokes a unique sense of history and civic responsibility. And when the only other time you’ve made that walk was on a middle-school field trip, it also evokes a sense of awe and anxiety. This April, I was fortunate to attend the Academy’s 2013 Congressional Advocacy Day as an Advocacy Ambassador alongside hundreds of other resident and fellow ambassadors from across the country.
|Saving Sight One Legislative Meeting at a Time: Why YOs Attend Congressional Advocacy Day 03/11/2013|
Most ophthalmologists probably enter medicine with a desire to directly intervene in the lives and bodies of people who would otherwise lose some or all of their sight. Once further into practice, however, many discover that protecting patients’ sight takes both work in the clinic or lab and the offices of state and federal legislators. That’s why many young ophthalmologists have blocked out April 11 to participate in the Academy’s 2013 Congressional Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.
|ACOs, EHRs and Compounded Drugs: The Mid-Year Forum’s Can’t-Miss Sessions 02/12/2013|
Apart from the Annual Meeting, the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum is the most important annual event for organized ophthalmology. Among the compelling issues that this year's attendees will tackle are compounded drugs, mid-level care providers and the impact of electronic health records.
|Four More Years: What the Election Results Mean for Ophthalmology 12/04/2012|
In the recent election, jobs and the economy weighed most heavily on the minds of voters. Although the two presidential candidates espoused a different approach to health care reform, Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD and other leaders believe that substantial system change would have proceeded regardless of the election outcome. “The reform drivers, particularly the cost driver, made the status quo an unsustainable option for either party,” said Dr. Parke, “and the amount of money invested in system change means that the train has long ago left the station.”
|Patient Safety Challenges Spur Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Advocacy 06/11/2012|
Scope-of-practice battles follow a predictable path, in most cases: optometrists work with state legislators to expand the procedures they are permitted to do or drugs they can prescribe by amending existing or introducing new legislation. Ophthalmology groups – usually the relevant local society, in partnership with the Academy – respond by educating legislators about patient-safety risks and the significant differences in training between ophthalmologists and optometrists. But what if the society facing scope-of-practice legislation represents more than 15 different island countries, each with widely different health and socioeconomic needs?
|YO Perspective: Advocating … Without Hairspray 05/14/2012|
I learned three important lessons from my experience at the Academy’s 2012 Congressional Advocacy Day: 1) You cannot bring hairspray (or any other liquids or snacks for that matter) into the Senate building; 2) The relationships we develop will have a profound impact on our careers and our lives; and 3) There is so much work that needs to be done and all of us need to be a part of the process. After attending the meeting along with 135 other Advocacy Day Ambassadors (i.e., residents and fellows) I returned to Philadelphia, where I’m a glaucoma fellow at Wills Eye Institute. I am truly inspired.
|YO Perspective: Traveling 3,000 Miles to Share My Voice 05/14/2012|
I recently traveled cross country from Sacramento, Calif., to attend the Academy’s Congressional Advocacy Day, and it was the quite the metaphorical journey. To sum up my experience: eye-opening and motivating. Despite the great challenges facing ophthalmology and other medical professions, the amount of energy and enthusiasm at Advocacy Day and the following Mid-Year Forum was invigorating. Reconnecting with familiar faces and meeting countless new colleagues was an additional highlight of the weekend.
|Advocacy Day: A Chance to Make Issues ‘Local’ for Your Legislators 03/12/2012|
To say that our country is in the middle of serious financial and international uncertainty is an understatement. And given that this is an election year, there appears to be a growing interest in politics and political involvement. So what about advocating in one area where your voice is certain to be heard: ophthalmology? And the timing couldn’t be more perfect for you to jump into the political arena and attend Advocacy Day.
|Protecting the Future of Ophthalmic Care and How You Can Help 07/11/2011|
A push by optometrists to perform surgery started in Oklahoma 13 years ago with the passage of laser surgery legislation, and it hasn’t stopped since. Organized optometry began a state-by-state campaign to extend its scope of practice to include surgical as well as prescriptive privileges. While scope of practice affects all ophthalmologists, YOs have the most to lose. These battles dictate a YO’s ability to practice medicine for the next 30 years.
|YO Perspective: A Chance to Lobby for Loan-Repayment Assistance, Other Changes 04/18/2011|
At approximately 5:35 p.m., train 84 from Washington, D.C., once again passes the small town of Ashland, Virginia. I am currently on my way home from D.C after attending this year’s Mid-Year Forum on behalf of the American Academy of Ophthalmology as one of the four EyeWiki Resident Contest winners. The event not only met but greatly exceeded my expectations and is certainly something that I am honored and humbled to have been a part of.
|YO Perspective: Why I’m Hopeful About the Future of Health Care 04/18/2011|
Arriving at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on the evening of April 6 for the welcome dinner of the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum, one could be excused for feeling pessimistic. The whole city anticipated a government shutdown by the end of the week, as Republicans and Democrats plodded through marathon negotiating sessions, seeking to cut billions from the federal budget and taking partisan swipes at each other in newspapers and on news websites. With the mood on Capitol Hill so apprehensive, it did not seem like an auspicious time to begin a lobbying effort arguing against reduced payments to physicians. However, it’s hard to keep a hopeful, young ophthalmologist down, so off I went to begin my first experience on Capitol Hill with a sense of cautious optimism.
|No MD Degree Needed for Eye Surgery - What Happened in Kentucky? 03/14/2011|
Within just days, organized optometry in Kentucky was able to push a bill through the state legislature and have it signed into law by the state governor on Feb. 24. The bill was detected by the Kentucky Medical Association and the Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons a mere 16 hours before the first committee hearing on the bill.
|Will this Year’s Congress Decide Your Future? What You Can Do to Have Input 02/14/2011|
Every year, the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C., is an opportunity to make a difference for ophthalmology. This year that chance coincides with a particularly important historical moment. For the first time since 1939, there are more than 100 new members of Congress. That’s 20 percent new members and staff, all of whom very likely don’t know the difference between an ophthalmologist and optometrist.
|YO Perspective: Change Will Happen Whether or Not You Speak Up 05/26/2010|
Being a non-sponsored Advocacy Ambassador (the designation given to members-in-training who participate in Advocacy Day), and given Baltimore’s proximity to Washington D.C., I elected to commute to the Hill from home on Advocacy Day. My day started bright and early as I caught the 7:40 a.m. MARC train to ensure that I would be on time for our 9:30 a.m. meeting at the office of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
|YO Perspective: The Forces that Brought Me to Mid-Year Forum and Advocacy Day 05/26/2010|
Sitting in California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office on Congressional Advocacy Day, I was surrounded by up-and-coming residents and fellows, as well as venerable ophthalmologists whose names I’d read in articles but never met until now. And as I sat there, I couldn’t help but wonder about the force that compelled me to come to the Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C.
|Academy Leadership Wants to Hear From You! 04/12/2010|
Taking call, sitting through long resident lectures, staying late at work to learn the ins and outs of really running a practice — all while getting married, having a young family and trying to find time for dinner with your partner. How do you do it all? Now throw in making time for the Academy? Why should you? Maybe you’re thinking, why would the Academy want to hear from me?
|Are You Ready for EHR Reform? 03/15/2010|
As we discussed last month, there are a variety of presentations and hearings at this year's upcoming Mid-Year Forum that address critical issues facing ophthalmology today. All sessions provide helpful information and advice for YOs and practicing ophthalmologists alike, but one in particular discusses a topic that is critical to your practice: the session on getting paid for using an electronic health record (EHR) system, chaired by Michael Chiang, MD.
|Medicare Reform, EHR and Ethical ‘No-Fly Zones’: A Preview of the Mid-Year Forum 02/08/2010|
Concerned about how health care reform will change how you practice medicine? Are cuts to Medicare keeping you up at night? Do you wonder what the line between ophthalmology and optometry will look like 20 years from now? For insight on all these questions and more, you won’t want to miss this year’s Mid-Year Forum.
|Resident Perspective: YOs on Capitol Hill 06/15/2009|
When my twin sister and I started our residencies in ophthalmology, we never predicted that less than a year later we would be in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill, meeting with legislators to preserve the quality of eye care in our nation. We did not imagine we would be presenting to the Council of the Academy, expressing our gratitude for their efforts in preserving the future of our profession. This is how it happened...
|Eye M.D.-Led Eye Care Teams: A Preview of the Mid-Year Forum’s Hot Topics 03/16/2009|
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.
|Advocacy Day: Change You Can Be a Part Of 02/10/2009|
What exciting times we are living in. While our country is facing serious financial and international uncertainty, we are seeing a renewed optimism in our government. And, for the first time in years, there is a growing interest in politics and political involvement. But your involvement doesn’t have to be over just because the election is. In fact, in many ways, involvement is more important than ever. The perfect way to jump in is by attending the Mid-Year Forum and Congressional Advocacy Day.
|Medicine Under Obama: The Impact for Ophthalmology 01/12/2009|
As the new administration takes office this month, there seems to be a great deal of anxiety among ophthalmologists regarding the possibility of a single-payer system. Let’s take a look at how this could play out.
|CAR: Your Inside Connection to the Board of Trustees 07/16/2008|
One of the most interesting and intriguing aspects of the Academy is its governance. For example, did you know that the Academy has a Council made up of representatives from 52 state societies, as well as 29 subspecialty and specialized interest societies? The Council has 102 Eye M.D. members, and their role is to advise the Academy’s Board of Trustees on a wide variety of issues. Issues are brought to the Board via the Council Advisory Recommendation (CAR) process.
|An Inside Look at the Mid-Year Forum 04/23/2008|
For this issue of YO Info, Stephen Khachikian, MD, shares his experiences at the 2008 Mid-Year Forum. Dr. Khachikian is a third-year resident in Albany, N.Y., and will be entering a cornea fellowship in Albany in July. He was sponsored by the Cornea Society through the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador Program.
|Ambassador Program Takes Members-in-Training to Washington 01/25/2008|
For the fifth year in a row, the Academy and several partners are giving members-in-training a chance to get firsthand exposure to critical issues facing ophthalmology and the face-to-face meetings Academy advocates hold with their national legislators during Congressional Advocacy Day and the Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C.
|Help Raise the Profile of Eye M.D.s – Get EyeSmart! 10/12/2007|
As you are probably aware, the American Academy of Ophthalmology launched the EyeSmartTM Campaign this past July. This new initiative is intended to raise public awareness about eye diseases and their risk factors, as well as the role ophthalmologists play in treating illness and injury.
|Drastic Medicare Physician Pay Cuts Looming 06/13/2007|
According to the Congressional Budget Office, Medicare physician payment rates will drop significantly in the foreseeable future, starting with an alarming 10 percent cut in 2008 if Congress does not intervene. The cuts are expected to total 40 percent by the year 2015 due to a flawed statutory formula, states the 2006 Medicare Trustees report.
|What Does Your State Society Do? 06/13/2007|
For a young ophthalmologist or member-in-training, all of the opportunities and responsibilities you face can be quite overwhelming. Add to that navigating the options the Academy has to offer and you very likely don't know where to begin. One great place to start is your state ophthalmology society.