It is an honor and privilege to be nominated for a second three-year term as Senior Secretary for Advocacy on the Academy’s Board of Trustees. Medicine and ophthalmology continue to face enormous challenges as the ACA/ MACRA regulations have a proportionally large impact on ophthalmic practice and our patients’ care. As nearly 40% of our membership will suffer penalties as a result of the onerous regulations this year, the Academy Federal Affairs team has worked hard to simplify and find relief from the burdensome requirements. As a result of the Federal Affairs team efforts, there has been significant progress in the reduction of penalties going forward as well as the measures required to pass the MIPS reporting. The Academy’s regulatory relief campaign will continue to work toward ensuring that no Academy member receives a penalty in 2019 – saving thousands of dollars for each of us. Other important issues currently active in Federal Affairs include compounding, telemedicine, meaningful use/ HIT, technology and device, drug pricing, and research funding.
Equally important are the scope of practice battles as more states are fighting attempts to grant surgical privileges to non-physicians with no medical or surgical training. The resources to fight scope of practice legislation are seriously challenged and require more strategic planning to continue the current level of engagement. The Academy’s Board of Trustees is fully committed and engaged in the Surgery by Surgeons policy.
Fortunately, the Academy has a talented and dedicated team of ophthalmologists and staff engaged in the multitude of federal and state legislative and regulatory issues. It has truly been a privilege to work closely with the many committees of volunteer physicians and devoted Academy staff who deserve much credit for ophthalmology’s voice being heard at the Federal and State level. The senior secretary must continue to support the efforts of these vital committees and staff with the necessary resources as it is critical to our membership.
The Federal and State Advocacy efforts have brought significant value to ophthalmology and our patients’ care over the past several years. I will continue to challenge all of our members to be engaged in advocacy issues on both the state and federal levels. I ask for your support to continue the successful ongoing advocacy efforts for our patients and profession.