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  • Rebecca Hyder Named Vice President of Governmental Affairs

    Following a national search, Rebecca Hyder has been named vice president of governmental affairs for the Academy effective Dec. 5. She replaces Cathy Cohen, who is retiring after 25 years.

    In this critical position, Hyder will lead the Academy’s advocacy efforts and provide oversight for federal affairs, health policy/regulatory, and state governmental affairs.

    “The Academy is incredibly fortunate to have someone with Rebecca’s rich legislative experience and relationships step into to this vitally important role,” said Stephen McLeod, MD, Academy chief executive officer. “Her deep knowledge, strategic acumen and dedication to the profession will make a difference for our members and patients.”

    Since 2011, Hyder has served as Academy director of federal affairs and been responsible for advancing the organization’s federal legislative and regulatory priorities. She has been recognized with multiple awards and is responsible for many significant accomplishments, including:

    • Directing successful legislative campaigns to derail steep Medicare payment cuts in 2021 and 2022 and improve CMS’ Medicare payment rates for ophthalmology services, resulting in about $800 million for ophthalmology practices.
    • Leading legislative and grassroots components of the Academy’s successful multi-prong campaign to get Aetna to reverse its 2021 decision to require prior authorization for all cataract surgery.
    • Managing the Academy’s legislative campaigns to ensure ophthalmology practices were eligible for COVID-19 relief measures such as Provider Relief Funds and the Paycheck Protection Program.
    • Directing the Academy’s legislative effort to scale back substantial payment cuts for glaucoma and retinal detachment procedures that CMS implemented in 2016. A successful campaign resulted in more than $14 million a year going back to ophthalmology practices.
    • Heading the Academy’s lobbying effort on the Drug Quality and Security Act in 2013, preventing an onerous national patient prescription requirement from being included in the new law and securing access to most ophthalmic compounded products for office use.

    Hyder began her tenure at the Academy in 2009, serving as the manager for public health. Before that she spent 21 years on Capitol Hill, working her way up from intern to chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis. She later became the chief of staff for his son, Rep. Gus Bilirakis.

    During her time on the Hill, she worked on numerous legislative initiatives that were signed into public law, including legislation to eliminate the offset between military retired pay and VA disability compensation.

    She holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international affairs from George Washington University.

    Cathy Cohen will continue to provide support as Hyder transitions into the position.