The Academy is pleased to award the 2022 Distinguished Service Award to Cathy G. Cohen, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, for her invaluable service to medicine and ophthalmology. For nearly 30 years she has been a champion for members in Washington D.C.
Ms. Cohen’s impact includes leading successful advocacy campaigns protecting ophthalmologist payments under Medicare, ensuring appropriate eye care for veterans and passing the first blindness prevention Medicare benefit for detection of glaucoma.
She led the CMS adoption of updated practice expense costs built into physician payments, bringing ophthalmology hundreds of millions of dollars. She championed the successful passage of legislation making cosmetic contacts a medical device subject to regulation.
Collaborating with state societies and physician leaders, she has worked to support scope battles at the state level and coordinated a successful campaign that limited performance of laser eye surgery to ophthalmologists in the Veterans Affairs health care system.
Respected and recognized for her coalition building, Ms. Cohen initiated the Ophthalmology Leadership Advocacy Group, a collaboration between the Academy and subspecialty organizations. She also launched Congressional Advocacy Day, an annual event in Washington, D.C., that has become a forum for members to participate in educating members of Congress in ophthalmology’s priorities and concerns.