• Academy Notebook

    News, Tips, Resources


    What's Happening

    Your Voice Is Needed on Capitol Hill

    The 2014 Congressional Advocacy Day (CAD), held in conjunction with the Mid-Year Forum (MYF), is scheduled for April 9-10. By participating, members can create strong relationships with elected officials, strengthen ophthalmology’s presence on Capitol Hill, build support for key legislative issues, and ensure that federal laws and regulations promote quality eye care for patients. This year’s CAD highlights issues related to Medicare payment reform and electronic health records.

    Unite with your colleagues. Nineteen ophthalmic subspecialty and specialized-interest societies have joined the Academy in the 2014 CAD Partnership program to promote attendance among their respective memberships. In addition, ophthalmology training programs, as well as state, subspecialty, and specialized interest societies, are supporting resident and fellow attendance through the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador Program.

    Become an advocate. On the evening of April 9, attendees will be briefed on key legislative priorities and will get tips on how to lobby Congress for quality patient care. On April 10, participants will put their advocacy skills to work when they meet with members of Congress and congressional staff (scheduled by the Academy).

    Continue your involvement at the MYF. The MYF provides an opportunity for leaders of the Academy and allied ophthalmic organizations to identify and discuss critical issues facing ophthalmology. The opening session, “Finding Balance in a Changing Reimbursement Landscape,” is followed by a series of hearings ranging from “Managing the New Risks of EHRs” to “Promises and Perils of Healthcare Integration” and concludes with “Big Data Beyond the Registry.” 

    Mark your calendar. The MYF will be held at the Renaissance Downtown in Washington, D.C., April 9-12. Preregistration for the MYF, including CAD, is available until March 17. The registration fee is $200 before Feb. 28, and $250 after Feb. 28 and onsite. The fee includes CAD, MYF materials, and most meals. CME credit available. 

    For more information and to register, visit www.aao.org/myf.

    Congressional Advocacy Day
    CAD. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (left, R-Pa.) meets with Eydie G. Miller-Ellis, MD (second from left), and advocacy ambassadors from Pennsylvania on Capitol Hill in 2013.

    Take Notice

    The Future of Premium IOLs

    Collaborate with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff, fellow clinicians, academicians, and industry experts in a workshop jointly sponsored by the FDA and the Academy, titled “Developing Novel Endpoints for Premium Intraocular Lenses [IOLs].” You’ll hear expert talks on the latest developments, participate in seminars about the pros and cons of various methods used to assess premium IOLs, and assist in formulating a plan to help deliver premium IOL technologies to market more quickly. This workshop will take place on the FDA White Oak campus in Silver Spring, Md., on March 28. Space is limited.


    International Blindness Prevention Award

    Established in 1992, the International Blindness Prevention Award is presented at the Annual Meeting to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention of blindness or restoration of sight. The deadline for nominations is March 3.

    To submit a nomination, visit www.bit.ly/2014internationalblindness.

    Charles R. and Judith G. Munnerlyn Laser Surgery Education CenterONE SPOTLIGHT: Build new skills in laser surgery. The Charles R. and Judith G. Munnerlyn Laser Surgery Education Center, now available on the Ophthalmic News & Education (ONE) Network, contains educational articles, medical animations, surgical videos, and presentations on lasers and their use in ophthalmic surgery. The center also offers practical pearls for clinical applications, as well as resources on the basic principles of, advances in, and historical perspectives on laser surgery technology.

    To view
    , visit www.aao.org/one, select “Education,” then “Laser Surgery Education Center.”

    Meeting Matters

    Save the Date: AAO 2014

    Join the Academy in Chicago for AAO 2014, organized in conjunction with the European Society of Ophthalmology. The meeting will take place Oct. 18-21 at McCormick Place convention center. AAO 2014 will be preceded by Subspecialty Day, Oct. 17-18.

    For travel tips, presenter information, and other meeting updates, visit www.aao.org/2014.


    International Attendees

    Update your travel documents for AAO 2014. Visa applications should be made no later than 90 days prior to travel. Travelers from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program must complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorization application and receive notification of acceptance prior to departure.

    For more information, visit www.aao.org/visa.


    2014 Abstract Submission Deadlines

    If you are interested in being a presenter at AAO 2014, you must submit abstracts online. For papers, posters, and videos, the online submitter opens on March 12 and closes on April 8.

    For more information on submitting an abstract, visit www.aao.org/annual-meeting and select "Presenter Central."


    Members at Large

    State Society Directors Recognized in New Orleans

    In 1998, the Academy Secretariat for State Affairs instituted a State Ophthalmology Society Executive Director Recognition Program. It was established to publicly acknowledge executive directors for outstanding contributions to their state societies and for their collaboration with the Academy on its national efforts. During the 2013 Annual Meeting, the secretariat recognized two state ophthalmology society executive directors:

    • Chet Seward, Executive Director of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, was named the 2013 Outstanding Executive Director for Organizational Development.
    • Sarah Dunbar, Executive Director of the Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, was named the 2013 Outstanding Executive Director for Political Action.

    In addition to recognizing these executive directors, the Academy Secretary for State Affairs, Daniel J. Briceland, MD, applauded the dedication and professionalism of all executive directors: “They are the heart and soul of our state societies. It is their ongoing, day-to-day efforts that make it possible for our state societies and the Academy to collaborate for the benefit of our profession and our patients.”

    State Ophthalmology Society Executive Director Recognition Program
    OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR. From left to right: Andrew M. Prince, MD (Academy Associate Secretary for State Affairs), Chet Seward (Executive Director, Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons), and Daniel J. Briceland, MD (Academy Secretary for State Affairs).

    International Ophthalmologist Education Award

    The Academy is pleased to announce the recipients of the International Ophthalmologist Education Award for 2013. This award acknowledges Academy members who have demonstrated their commitment to staying current with advances in medicine through their participation in CME and continuing professional development activities.

    Khalil M. Al-Salem, MBBS (Jordan)
    Khaled G. Ammar, MBBS (Egypt)
    Khaled Bairi, MD (France)
    Antonio Barloggio, MD (Switzerland)
    Lovre Bojic, MD (Croatia)
    Joaquim Campos Lopes, MD (Portugal)
    Wanessa Furtado Carneiro, MD (Brazil)
    Emilio Dorronzoro, MD (Spain)
    F. Javier Farina, MD (Spain)
    Valentina Franco Cardenas, MD (Mexico)
    Howard V. Gimbel, MD, MPH, FRCSC (Canada)
    Stefanos F. Glaros, MD (Greece)
    Marta Hovan, MD (England)
    Soosan Jacob, FRCS (India)
    Ramesh Kekunnaya, MBBS, MD (India)
    Mounir A. Khalifa, MD (Egypt)
    Thomas Kohnen, MD (Germany)
    Igor J. Lundqvist, MD (Netherlands)
    Ahmad B. Maqsood, MBBS (Pakistan)
    Andrzej Mierzejewski, MD (Poland)
    Lizette L. Mowatt, MBBS (Jamaica)
    Leo J. Noordzij, MD (Netherlands)
    Bizimana Nzabamwita, MD (Rwanda)
    Annabelle A. Okada, MD (Japan)
    Alina Oprina, MD (France)
    Heitor Panetta, MD (Brazil)
    Mohammad M. Parvaresh Rizi, MD (Islamic Republic of Iran)
    Ana Cristina Perez, MD (Ecuador)
    Alicia M. Ponce, MD (Honduras)
    Luis Danilo D. Ponce, MD (Honduras)
    Muhammad S. Raja, MBBS (United Kingdom)
    Arturo J. Ramirez-Miranda, MD (Mexico)
    Frederic Scholtes, MD (France)
    Nobuyuki Shoji, MD (Japan)
    Hisham H. Soliman, MBBCh (United Arab Emirates)
    Jeannine Srourian, MD (Syrian Arab Republic)
    Gustavo E. Tamayo, MD (Colombia)
    Masoud Teimory, MBChB (England)
    Colin G. Thompson, MBBS (Australia)
    Constantino Trapatsas, MD (Panama)
    Paulo Jorge Vale, MD (Portugal)
    Paolo Vinciguerra, MD (Italy) 
    Enzo M. Vingolo, MD, PhD (Italy) 
    Leandro C. Zacharias, MD (Brazil)


    International Scholar Award  

    The Academy is pleased to announce  the recipients of the International Scholar Award for 2013. This award acknowledges Academy members who have received the International Ophthalmologist Education Award and have further demonstrated their commitment to professional learning, including a self-assessment exam.

    Javier Aguirre Moreno, MD (Ecuador)
    Iordanis P. Besmertis, MD (Greece)
    Mario A. Chica, MD (El Salvador)
    Luis H. De La O, MD (Mexico)
    Matthias Christian Grieshaber, MD (Switzerland)
    Tsukasa Hanemoto, MD (Japan)
    Sergio Hernandez-Da Mota, MD (Mexico)
    Choun-ki Joo, MD (Republic of Korea)
    Dieudonne Kaimbo Wa Kaimbo, MD (Congo)
    Antonios Kotzampasis, MD (Greece)
    David Ta Li Liu, MBChB (Hong Kong)
    Kazuhiko Mori, MD (Japan)
    Ramesh Murthy, MBBS (India)
    Erkan Mutlukan, MD, PhD (United Kingdom)
    Georgios P. Paleokastritis, MD (Greece)
    Prasan M. Rao, MBBS, MS (United Arab Emirates)
    Carlos A. Restrepo Pelaez, MD (Colombia)
    Pavel Rozsival, MD, PhD (Czech Republic)
    Jan E. Siegersma, MD (Norway)
    Lihteh Wu, MD (Costa Rica)


    Perfect Store 

    The Academy would like to acknowledge Sawsan R. Nowilaty, MD, of King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Nowilaty scored 100 percent on her International Scholar Award exam, the first-ever perfect score for this test.


    D.C. Report

    2014 Medicare Payments

    Reimbursement. The 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule reflects relatively stable payments for ophthalmologists. As a result of congressional action in December, the 24 percent reimbursement cut that physicians faced on Jan. 1 was replaced with three months of 0.5 percent positive updates. The conversion factor as of Jan. 1 is 35.8228. However, the possibility of a cut (caused by the faulty sustainable growth rate [SGR] formula used to calculate reimbursement) returns April 1. The Academy is lobbying Congress to repeal the SGR formula in the Medicare physician pay reform proposals that are being considered.

    New ophthalmic code. The 2014 fee schedule implements a new ophthalmic code (CPT 66183) for insertion of an aqueous shunt drainage device. It has been assigned 30.42 relative value units with a national average payment of $1,084. The fee schedule also incorporates the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee’s recommendations for eight ectropian/entropian codes reviewed in 2013. The new, lower values reflect the reduction in time to perform these services.

    Lowest cost site of service. The Academy prevailed in its arguments against a CMS proposal to pay the lowest practice expense, regardless of the site of service. CMS is currently not adjusting practice expense values to cap payments for procedures performed in a physician’s office at the facility rate if that payment is lower.

    PQRS. CMS has increased the reporting requirements for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

    • In 2013, physicians had to report one PQRS measure only once to avoid a 1.5 percent penalty on 2015 payments.
    • In 2014, physicians must report three measures for 50 percent of eligible patients to avoid a 2 percent penalty in 2016. To receive an incentive payment, physicians must report on a total of nine measures from three different clinical domains.

    Physicians who successfully report via a PQRS-qualified registry this year automatically avoid the 2016 penalty and qualify for the incentive payment. The Academy’s IRIS Registry is seeking the PQRS-qualified registry designation.

    Value-based modifier. CMS finalized its plans in the 2014 fee schedule to expand use of the Value-based Modifier Program in 2016. The program adjusts payments to physicians based on quality and resource use. It is being implemented in phases.

    • Beginning in 2013, groups of 100 or more eligible professionals were required to participate in the VBM program; their adjustments begin in 2015.
    • Beginning this year, groups of 10 or more eligible professionals must participate in the VBM program; their adjustments begin in 2016.

    Groups of 10-99 eligible professionals will only receive positive adjustments; they are not subject to the program’s negative penalties as long as 50 percent of their eligible professionals successfully participate in PQRS.


    Academy Store

    2014 PQRS and Coding Updates Webinars

    Avoid penalties and stay current on important compliance and coding topics by purchasing the recordings of these popular webinars:

    • “Bonus or Penalty: What You Need to Know about Quality Reporting in 2014,” recorded live on Dec. 17
    • “2014 Ophthalmology Coding Update,” recorded live on Jan. 7

    Choose from a 60-day streaming recording, downloadable MP4, or CDROM.

    To order, visit www.aao.org/aaoewebinars.


    Conquer ICD-10 With Academy Resources

    On Oct. 1, ICD-10 goes into effect—the biggest change to coding in 30 years. CODEquest, a four-hour, ophthalmology-specific coding seminar created by the Academy and its practice management division, the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives, will help to ensure a smooth transition. Other resources can also be of help. These include the 2014 ICD-10 for Ophthalmology (#0120343), its companion workbook Conquering ICD-10-CM: Your “How-To” Guide for Ophthalmology (#0120345), and an online course: 90 Minutes to Conquering ICD-10-CM for Ophthalmology (#0120355V). Save more than 15 percent when you buy all three products together as a collection (#0120356V).

    For details on CODEquest, visit www.aao.org/codequest.

    To order ICD-10 books and the online course, visit www.aao.org/store.