• Academy Notebook

    News, Tips, Resources

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    State Societies Honored

    On Oct. 28 during AAO 2018, the Academy Secretariat for State Affairs recognized 3 state ophthalmology soci­eties with its Star Award for outstand­ing efforts on programs or projects implemented in the previous year. The winning societies are as follows:

    Kentucky Academy of Eye Physi­cians and Surgeons for its Advocacy Campaign to Protect Telemedicine, which opposed legislation that would have limited Kentucky physicians’ right to evaluate and adopt new technologies that might improve patient care.

    Puerto Rico Society of Ophthal­mology for its Hurricane Maria Relief Effort, which coordinated ophthalmol­ogist volunteers to deliver much-need­ed eye care.

    Washington Academy of Eye Phy­sicians and Surgeons for its Military Outreach Project to increase member­ship as well as participation of active-duty military ophthalmologists in the society’s programs and services.

    Since the Star Award program’s inception in 2001, the Secretariat for State Affairs has recognized 67 state ophthalmology society programs. State ophthalmology societies may apply for this award by responding to the Secretariat for State Affairs’ survey of state societies, emailed every summer to state society executive directors/ad­ministrators and presidents.

    State Societies’ Outstanding Executive Directors

    Each year, the Academy Secretariat for State Affairs publicly honors select state ophthalmology society executive directors for their contributions to their societies and for their partnership and collaboration with the Academy on its national efforts. During AAO 2018 in Chicago, the Secretariat recognized Nanette R. Gilbertson of the Montana Academy of Ophthalmology and Eliza­beth G. Roach of the Kentucky Acad­emy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. They received the 2018 Outstanding Executive Director awards in Organi­zational Development and in Political Action, respectively.

    The Academy Secretary for State Affairs, Kurt F. Heitman, MD, praised the efforts of all executive directors on behalf of state societies and ophthal­mologists across the country. “Through their professionalism, energy, and commitment to ophthalmologists and their patients, state society executive directors help to elevate the profession. We in State Affairs appreciate their expertise and respect their dedication to preserving quality eye care.”


    Nominate a Colleague for the Laureate Award 

    Every year, ophthalmologists distinguish themselves and the profession by mak­ing exceptional scientific contributions toward preventing blindness and re­storing sight worldwide. The Academy Board of Trustees will recognize these extraordinary contributions with its Laureate Award, the Academy’s single highest honor.

    The award recipient is announced each fall, and the Laureate is recog­nized during the Opening Session of the annual meeting.

    Nominate a colleague using the application at aao.org/about/awards/laureate by Jan. 31, 2019.

    Need a Holiday Gift Idea? Donate to the Foundation 

    This is the perfect time of year to make a gift to the Academy Foundation in honor or memory of a mentor, col­league, or family member. Donations at the Partners for Sight level ($1,000-$2,499) are especially encouraged. Your tax-deductible donation will be used to support the Academy programs that are important to you, including the Museum of Vision campaign to build a permanent space for the 38,000-piece collection at Academy headquarters. Be sure to make your gift by Dec. 31 to receive the tax deduction for 2018. 

    Learn more at aao.org/foundation.

    Glaucoma Researcher?

    This summer, the Academy and the American Glaucoma Society collab­orated in launching Ophthalmology Glaucoma. This new journal provides an opportunity to disseminate your glaucoma research directly to those who find it most relevant. Joining the ranks of Ophthalmology and Ophthal­mology Retina, Ophthalmology Glauco­ma provides readers with innovative, peer-reviewed works.

    Submit your research at https://www.evise.com/profile/#/OGLA/login. Subscribe at www.ophthalmologyglaucoma.org.

    Meet These MIPS Deadlines

    Dec. 31: Deadline for EHR hardship exception. In the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), the electronic health record (EHR)–based perfor­mance category is called promoting interoperability (PI). It is 1 of 4 MIPS performance categories and contrib­utes up to 25 points to your MIPS final score (0-100 points). Typically, if you were to report no PI measures, your PI score would be zero and your maximum MIPS final score, 75.

    The significant hardship exception. You can apply to be exempted from PI if you are facing a significant hard­ship, such as insufficient internet con­nectivity or extreme and uncontrollable circumstances.

    If the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) accepts your application for a hardship exception, PI’s contribution to your final score will be reweighted to zero, and the quality performance category’s con­tribution will be reweighted upward; thus you could still earn the maximum MIPS final score of 100 points despite not reporting any PI measures.

    New for 2018: If small practices can demonstrate that obtaining and maintaining certified EHR technology would cause undue hardship, CMS may grant them a PI hardship exception.

    For guidance on submitting this application, see aao.org/medicare/advancing-care-information-exceptions.

    Jan 15: Deadline for IRIS Registry submissions. If you are using the IRIS Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight) to report MIPS, Jan. 15 is a key date on 2 counts.

    1. Finish manual entry. This dead­line applies if you are using the IRIS Registry web portal to manually report quality measures, PI measures, or improvement activities. If you successfully integrated your EHR with the IRIS Registry, your MIPS quality data are automatically extracted, but you can only report PI measures and improvement activities manually.

    New for 2018: If you are manually reporting patients for a quality measure, you must submit to the IRIS Registry the total number of patients eligible, excluded, and except­ed from that measure.

    2. Submit a signed data-release consent form. The IRIS Registry won’t submit a provider’s MIPS data to CMS unless it has received the signed consent form. Providers who are reporting as individuals should sign their own consent forms; providers who are reporting as a group can be included on a single consent form, which can be signed by the administrator. You must submit a new consent form each year and can do so via the IRIS Registry dashboard. For instructions, see aao.org/consent-form.

    Learn more about the IRIS Registry and MIPS at aao.org/iris-registry and aao.org/medicare.


    Troutman Prizes

    Troutman Cornea Prize for Young Clinician Investigators. This award, established by a Castroviejo Cornea Society Founder, Richard C. Troutman, MD, DSc (Hon), is awarded annually to the investigator under 41 years of age who authored the best paper published in Cornea the year before.

    This year’s recipient was Gregory Moloney, BScMed (Hon), MBBS, MMed, FRANZCO, FRCS, an ophthalmologist at Sydney Eye Hospital in Sydney, Australia, specializing in cata­ract, corneal, and oculoplastic surgery. His paper, “Descemetorhexis Without Grafting for Fuchs Dystrophy-Supple­mentation With Topical Ripasudil,” investigates the effect of topical ROCK (Rho-kinase) inhibitor as an adjuvant to the descemetorhexis procedure. Dr. Moloney was awarded a $5,000 honorarium from the Trout­man Endowment and had the opportunity to present his work at the annual scientific meeting of the Cornea Society prior to AAO 2018.

    Dr. Moloney said, “I am extremely honored to receive the Troutman award, which recognizes many people’s work at Sydney Eye Hos­pital. This work would not have been possible without the efforts of our eye bank staff, fellows, and clinicians, and the funding provided by the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation. We hope to continue this research to find more treatment options for patients with Fuchs dystrophy.”

    Richard C. Troutman, MD, DSc (Hon) Prize. This prize is awarded on behalf of the International Society of Refractive Surgery to a young author published in the Journal of Refractive Surgery.

    This year’s recipient, Yumeng Wang, MBBS, MMed, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow specializing in cornea and glaucoma at the Department of Ophthamology and Visual Sciences in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her paper, “Histological and MicroRNA Signatures of Corneal Epithelium in Keratoconus,” discusses the histopa­thology of keratoconic corneal epithelia and its micro-ribonucleic acid (miR­NA) regulation as compared to corneal epithelia of normal eyes. Dr. Wang received a $5,000 hon­orarium from the Troutman Endowment and presented an honorary lecture during Refractive Surgery Subspecialty Day 2018.

    Dr. Wang said, “Receiving the Trout­man Award is a true honor for both myself and our team at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. We look forward to more opportuni­ties to further investigate diagnostic options for keratoconus patients.”


    Position Your Practice for Success

    With the health care industry continu­ing to shift dramatically, the Academy will host its second annual, business-focused “boot camp” designed to address the complex challenges facing ophthalmic practices. Attend the Ophthalmology Business Summit from March 23-24, 2019, in Chicago.

    This event is now open to both physician leaders and practice admin­istrators. 

    For more information, visit aao.org/business-summit.

    Get 10% Off Patient Educa­tion Brochures Until Dec. 31

    Save time, improve recall, and mitigate malpractice risk by giving your patients easy-to-understand, ophthalmologist-reviewed brochures from the Academy. Now through Dec. 31, get 10% off when you use code PEB2018. Take advantage of this limited-time offer. No minimum purchase is required.

    Order today by visiting aao.org/patientbrochures, or by contacting Member Services at 415-561-8581, 866-561-8558 (U.S. toll free), or member_services@aao.org.

    Register for 2019 Ophthal­mology Coding Update Webinar

    Stay up to date on coding changes and audit regulations with the Academy’s most popular annual webinar. This year’s 2019 Ophthalmology Coding Updates takes place on Jan. 15. Sue Vicchrilli, Academy Director of Coding and Reimbursement, and David Glasser, MD, Academy Associate Secretary of Health Policy, will present.

    For practice management webinars, visit aao.org/webinars.


    Submit a Practice Manage­ment Course

    Each year, the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives (AAOE) offers a wide range of new courses as part of the AAOE program during the Acad­emy’s annual meeting.These sessions address current practice management challenges. You can have a hand in creating this content by submitting an instruction course abstract between Dec.13, 2018, and Jan. 8, 2019.

    To submit, visit aao.org/abstracts. For more information, contact Licia Wells, AAOE Program Manager, at lwells@aao.org.

    Submit an Instruction Course or New Skills Lab

    Want to create content for AAO 2019? Submit your ideas for an instruction course or new Skills Transfer lab. Ab­stracts will be accepted from Dec. 13, 2018, through Jan. 8, 2019.

    To submit, visit aao.org/presentercentral.

    Claim CME for AAO 2018

    AAO 2018 and Subspecialty Day reg­istrants whose attendance was verified onsite in Chicago received an email with instructions for claiming Continu­ing Medical Education (CME) credits online. Starting Thursday, Dec. 13, attendees can claim credits (if they did not already do so onsite) and obtain transcripts with overall credits earned at aao.org/cme-central. The Academy transcript will not list individual course attendance.

    For more information, visit aao.org/annual-meeting/cme.


    Yearlong Academy Effort Succeeds in Restoring Vitrectomy Codes 

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially reinstated a majority of previously deleted ICD-10 codes to the Vit­rectomy National Coverage Determination (NCD 80.11). This mitigates CMS’ decision in October 2017 to authorize the deletion of 25% of vit­rectomy’s diagnosis codes, including those for vitreous hemorrhage, macular hole, and macular pucker. The 2017 decision was part of an agency effort to clean up its volume of ICD-10 codes associated with national coverage decisions.

    Nearly a year ago, the Academy successfully took immediate ac­tion to halt implementation of the code deletions. Next, the Academy worked with the CMS Coverage Team to restore the vast majority of appropriate diagnoses. As a result of these efforts, CMS is putting forward a new vitrectomy coverage policy that ensures that all appro­priate diagnoses are covered as of Jan. 1, 2019.

    If you are still experiencing denials from Medicare Advantage plans or have previously denied claims that are still unpaid, the Academy urges you to forward the information to HealthPolicy@aao.org.