• Academy Notebook

    News, Tips, Resources


    What's Happening

    Marnix E. Heersink, MD, and his son, Sebastian B. Heersink, MD
    SEAMLESS PROCESS. Drs. Sebastian and Marnix
    Heersink give back without leaving the office.

    EyeCare America: 30 Years of Volunteering

    EyeCare America (ECA), the largest public service program in American medicine, has helped more than 1.8 million people and has been recognized by every president since Ronald Reagan. Through its dedicated volunteer ophthalmologists, approximately 90 percent of the care provided is at no out-of-pocket cost to patients.  In honor of the program’s upcoming 30th anniversary, join your colleagues and become a volunteer to help ECA carry on its legacy of service.  Every volunteer receives a black-and-gold annual meeting ribbon, a yearly recognition certificate, and gifts of appreciation for their service.

    Marnix E. Heersink, MD, and his son, Sebastian B. Heersink, MD, of Dothan, Ala., find ECA to be a cost and time-effective way to help those in need. “When ECA came around, I thought, ‘This is a terrific marriage of good service and allowing me to stay home and do things locally,’” said Dr. Marnix Heersink.

    Son Sebastian was inspired by his father to take up the family profession and become an ophthalmologist and ECA volunteer himself. “I found that I get much more than I could ever give. Helping these patients see and providing them with care they would otherwise be unable to receive gives me a great, warm feeling,” said Dr. Sebastian Heersink. “Best of all, it’s a seamless process: a few extra patients a year, and you don't notice a difference in your day or your practice otherwise. ECA makes it easy for you to be the hero."

    To volunteer or support the program, visit the ECA website or e-mail pubserv@aao.org.


    For the Record

    Annual Business Meeting

    Notice is hereby given that the Annual Business Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology will be held Sunday, Oct. 19, in North Hall B of the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, 10:00-10:30 a.m. The order of business shall be the following:

    • Call to order
    • Report of the president
    • Report of the EVP/CEO
    • Election of fellows and members
    • New business
    • Announcements and notices
    • Adjournment

    As stated in the bylaws of the Academy, the order of business of each Annual Business Meeting may be amended by an affirmative vote of a majority of the voting fellows and members present and voting at the meeting.


    Proposed Amendments to the 2014 Bylaws and Code of Ethics

    The Board of Trustees recommends two amendments to the Academy Bylaws and Code of Ethics for consideration and adoption by voting fellows and members via official hybrid (mail and online) ballot to be sent following the Annual Business Meeting.

    Take Notice

    Preventive Chart Audit Service

    Ensure that your records are in the best shape possible in case you receive an audit request from a federal or commercial payer. The Academy’s coding and documentation experts can review your deidentified charts and recommend—by phone and detailed report—improvements to maximize reimbursements and avoid penalties.

    To sign up, visit the Academy's Chart Auditing Service Web page.

    ONE Network's Performance Improvement Web page.ONE SPOTLIGHT: Strengthen informed consent. Informed consent is key in setting realistic patient expectations, and it is especially important in malpractice-related litigation. Building Best Practices for Informed Consent on the ONE Network helps you examine all aspects of your current informed consent process and ensures that it is organized, consistent, and thorough. The activity includes the following:
    • Chart review checklists
    • Self-assessment exercises and tools from the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company (OMIC)
    • OMIC-developed consent forms that you can edit to fit your practice
    To try it, visit the ONE Network's Performance Improvement Web page.

    Members at Large

    Nada S. Jabbur, MD
    Dr. Jabbur.

    The Academy Announces LDP XVII

    Each year, the Academy Leadership Development Program (LDP) Selection Committee chooses 18 to 20 ophthalmologists (nominated by their state, subspecialty, or specialized interest societies) for the program. The program has one spot each year for an international participant. Nada S. Jabbur, MD, of Lebanon will represent the Lebanese Ophthalmological Society in the LDP XVII, class of 2015. “I’m honored to have been selected among the many nominees,” she said.

    The LDP XVII orientation session will be held in conjunction with AAO 2014 in Chicago. Dr. Jabbur will join her LDP colleagues and participants in the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology's complementary program, the Curso de Liderazgo, at this orientation session next year in Las Vegas.

    Aaron Weingeist, MD, the LDP director, said, “Having international participants in the LDP has certainly enriched the experience as well as the opportunities for cultural and educational exchange for all participants. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Jabbur to the program in the fall.”


    D.C. Report

    Open Payments Update

    The Physician Payment Sunshine Act aims to create greater transparency around the financial relationships between physicians and industry. The act, now referred to as Open Payments, requires manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals, and medical supplies to report all payments and transfers of value that are made to physicians and teaching hospitals.

    What is to be reported. Typical transfers of value include gifts, consulting fees, research activities, speaking fees, meals, and travel. Manufacturers must report items worth $10 or more, or yearly totals in excess of $100. In addition, manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) are required to inform CMS about ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. Educational materials and product samples that directly benefit patients or are intended for patient use are excluded from reporting requirements. Some companies may allow ophthalmologists to preview their data before it is submitted to CMS.

    Verify your data. Although the deadline to review and dispute data before they become publicly available has passed, physicians can still seek corrections or contest reports at any time before the end of 2014. To review data and initiate a dispute, physicians must register in CMS’ Enterprise Portal. Once CMS verifies their identities, users can request access to the Open Payments System and begin reviewing. Because the review deadline has passed, any changes resulting from a dispute will not be made until CMS refreshes the entire database in 2015.

    An app to help. CMS estimates that 200,000 physicians will have data that reflect payments from manufacturers. Barring a last-minute extension, CMS will publish this by Sept. 30. CMS has created an app for smartphones, Open Payments Mobile for Physicians, for physicians to ensure that their information is accurate. The app records all payments and transfers of data from applicable manufacturers or GPOs.

    To download the free app, visit the Google Play app store or iOS Apple app store and search for “Open Payments.”


    Candidates' Views

    Meet the Official Slate of Nominees

    In June, the Academy Board of Trustees nominated an official slate of officers for the 2015 Board of Trustees. The following have given their consent to serve if elected and therefore constitute the official slate. If the Academy’s membership approves all candidates, their respective terms begin Jan. 1, 2015. From Monday, Oct. 20, to noon, Tuesday, Nov. 18, Academy members will have the opportunity to vote online or by paper ballot for officer and trustee-at-large positions on the Board of Trustees. Results of the election will be posted on the Academy website by Nov. 20, 2014. The candidates provided biographical summaries (below) as well as full personal statements, which can be found on the Academy's Board of Trustees Nominees Web page.

    William L. Rich, MD
    Dr. Rich.

    William L. Rich, MD

    Board of Trustees Nominee for President-Elect

    • A 37-year career in private practice at Northern Virginia Ophthalmology Associates (current president and one of two founders). The group has grown to 11 ophthalmologists, and includes generalists, five subspecialists, and two optometrists.
    • A 28-year involvement in health policy, health care financing, physician payment, quality metrics, and medical registries.
    • Past Academy activities include Chair of the Federal Economic Policy Committee, Secretary for Federal Affairs, Chair of the AMA Relative Value Update Committee, and member of the Committee of Secretaries. Currently serving as Medical Director of Health Policy, Chair of the IRIS Registry, and Chair of the Health Professions Council of the National Quality Forum. If elected, I will continue to advocate for the profession and our patients.
    Daniel J. Briceland, MD
    Dr. Briceland

    Daniel J. Briceland, MD

    Board of Trustees Nominee for Senior Secretary for Advocacy

    • Advocacy experience: More than 20 years on state medical and ophthalmology legislative and PAC committees, and 14 years on the Academy’s Secretariat for State Affairs. Involved with legislative and regulatory issues in multiple states and worked closely with ophthalmology leaders, executives, and lobbyists of state, subspecialty, and specialized interest societies. Collaborated with national medical associations such as the AMA and ACS to advance quality patient care.
    • Leadership experience: Arizona Medical Association board member and Arizona Ophthalmological Society president in 2000. Graduated from the Academy’s Leadership Development Program in 2000 and was its director for six years. Served on the Academy’s committees on aging, membership, and awards, as well as the Committee for State Organizational Development (2001-2003).  Associate Secretary for State Affairs (2004-2008), and Secretary for State Affairs (2009-2014) overseeing the State Organizational Development and State Governmental Affairs committees, and the Surgical Scope Fund Committee. Currently serve on the OMIC and Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology boards.
    • Clinical experience: Comprehensive ophthalmologist for 23 years, facing the challenges of private practice. Medical director of large ASC for 14 years. Committed to advocating for high-quality patient care and our profession on state and national levels.

    Andrew M. Prince, MD

    Board of Trustees Nominee for Trustee-at-Large

    • I am a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at New York University College of Medicine, senior attending surgeon at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and attending at the Hackensack University Medical Center. I practice as a glaucoma specialist and a general ophthalmologist.
    • I have been a member of the board of directors of the New York State Ophthalmological Society (NYSOS) for the past 20 years, in addition to having served as its president, as well as a two-term councilor to the Academy representing NYSOS. Since completing the Academy’s Leadership Development Program, I have been a member of the Committee for State Governmental Affairs and the Associate Secretary for State Affairs; I have also been a member of our OphthPAC Committee and the Advocacy and Government Relations Subcommittee of the American Glaucoma Society.
    • My goal as trustee-at-large would be to determine what the membership is thinking and feeling and what issues must be addressed. To represent our members at this critical and unprecedented time requires leadership, experience, and a clear understanding of our issues. I believe I will bring all these qualities to the Academy’s Board of Trustees.