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    Practice Administrators Participate in AAOE Pilot Leadership Program

    A select group of American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives (AAOE) practice managers will meet in Chica­go later this month as part of a pilot leadership development program called Ophthalmic Practice Administrators Leadership Program (OPAL), which AAOE launched at AAO 2018.

    This first cohort will attend the Academy’s Ophthalmology Business Summit (OBS) on March 23 and 24—a business-focused “boot camp” designed to address the volatile and complex challenges facing ophthalmic practices. During the summit, participants will at­tend sessions on emotional intelligence, strategic management, and building a culture of collaboration. Additionally, the cohort will attend a special kick-off Insights Discovery session on March 22, when they will learn a powerful behavior-style tool designed to teach people how to perform at their highest level.

    Program objectives. OPAL focuses on professional development in the areas of communication, time man­agement, collaboration, and change management with the goal of fostering participants’ leadership skills to drive practice efficiency and encourage meaningful contributions to the field of ophthalmology.

    Learning opportunities. Classroom-style learning is one key part of the program. In addition to the sessions at OBS, the OPAL program featured courses at AAO 2018, which partici­pants attended in conjunction with an OPAL-specific session on mentorship. The group has also been engaging in bimonthly conference calls that use media, such as TED Talks and news articles, to spark discussions about leadership trends.

    Individual projects. The capstone of the OPAL program is completion of individual leadership projects that address a specific gap or need within each participant’s practice and/or community. After submitting project proposals in December, participants were paired with mentors who have ex­perience in their proposed project area. They meet monthly with mentors via teleconferences. Participants have also supported each other during monthly teleconferences by providing different perspectives on each other’s projects and sharing their struggles, triumphs, and useful tips.

    In October, this year’s OPAL cohort will present their projects at the AAOE Practice Management Program and welcome the incoming 2020 cohort.

    Hone your leadership potential. If you are an AAOE practice adminis­trator or work with an AAOE practice administrator who could benefit from this program, consider an application for the 2020 OPAL class. The deadline is May 1. For more information, visit

    Be Heard at Mid-Year Forum 2019

    The Mid-Year Forum (MYF) brings ophthalmologists together to advo­cate for political change on behalf of patients and the profession. This year’s program, held April 10-13 in Washing­ton, D.C., offers a variety of opportunities to learn and to make an impact, including the following:

    • sessions on hot topics such as attempting to control drug spending, creating an inclusive practice, and un­derstanding private equity in relation to ophthalmology;
    • Congressional Advocacy Day, when attendees and Academy facilitators visit Congress and their staff members to speak on key ophthalmic issues; and
    • the Academy Council meeting, when the Board of Trustees will speak about its goals and priorities as well as give Academy members a chance to offer feedback.

    Register today. To find more infor­mation on the program and to reserve your spot, visit The registration fee increases from $225 to $325 on March 7, and preregistration is avail­able through March 25; Congressional Advocacy Day’s lobbying events on April 11 are free to Academy members.


    Ask the Ethicist: The Nonoperating Expert Witness

    Question. I was asked to serve as an expert witness in a malpractice case involving visual loss related to cataract surgery. Although I am a general oph­thalmologist and have performed many cataract surgeries in my career, I have not operated in several years. Is it ethical to serve as an expert?

    Answer. The trial judge will review your qualifications and determine whether you may testify. Typically, expert witnesses are practicing ophthal­mologists who hold a current, valid, and unrestricted license. Considering that the opposing counsel will question your testimony and credentials as an expert witness, you must be very clear about your qualifications and the fact that you no longer operate.

    Despite your status as a nonoperat­ing physician, you are responsible for knowing about the accepted surgical techniques and standard of care rele­vant to the time and place of the case in question. The judicial process relies on expert witnesses to establish standard of care and therefore deviation from the standard of care. To help others understand the case and distinguish between malpractice and maloccur­rence, it is your role to present truthful, unbiased information supported by the literature.

    The Academy does not wish to influ­ence which cases you choose to serve on as an expert witness. However, if your testimony is challenged, the Academy will enforce Rule 16 of its Code of Ethics:

    “Expert testimony should be provid­ed in an objective manner using med­ical knowledge to form expert medical opinions. Nonmedical factors (such as solicitation of business from attorneys, competition with other physicians, and personal bias unrelated to professional expertise) should not bias testimony. It is unethical for a physician to accept compensation that is contingent upon the outcome of litigation. False, decep­tive, or misleading expert testimony is unethical. For purposes of this Rule, expert testimony shall include oral testimony provided under oath; affi­davits and declarations used in court proceedings; and certificates of merit signed, ratified, or otherwise adopted by the physician.”  

    Learn more at the Redmond Ethics Center, Send questions to the Ethics Committee at

    Academy Year in Review

    Academy leadership, staff, and count­less volunteers work hard to provide you with the best member experience. Find out what the Academy achieved in the last year on all fronts, including advocacy, education, and public service. The 2018 Year in Review highlights some of the Academy’s greatest achievements, including the following:

    • establishing a permanent research fund to advance the practice of pediatric ophthal­mology;
    • launching a campaign to build a new Museum of Vision;
    • lobbying for ophthal­mology’s best interests in state and federal government affairs; and
    • developing an award-winning public education campaign.

    Learn more at

    Submit Your Research to Ophthalmology Retina

    Ophthalmology Retina seeks to publish original research that will be of strong interest to retina specialists globally. The selection process favors papers that teach clinicians how to make better diagnoses, implement preferred treat­ments, and follow accepted practice patterns with the goal of delivering the best outcomes for patients.

    Submit your research at

    Subscribe at


    Submit an AAO 2019 Abstract

    Want to contribute your expertise to the world’s most comprehensive ophthalmology meeting? The online submitter for AAO 2019 paper/poster and video abstracts opens March 7 and closes on April 9.

    Posters. Starting in 2019, all posters will be electronic. Posters will be available to view on terminals in the con­vention center, online, and through the Mobile Meeting Guide. Selected poster authors will present their posters onsite at the Poster Theater.

    Submit your video and paper/poster abstract at Find abstract guidelines at

    Important Dates

    Registration and hotel. Mark your calendar: Academy and American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives members can register and make hotel reservations for Subspecialty Day (Oct. 11-12) and AAO 2019 (Oct. 12-15) in San Francisco starting June 12. Non­members can do so starting June 26.

    Find more information at and

    Event reservations. The annual meeting is a great opportunity to connect with colleagues. Hold your 2019 alumni or related group event in an official Academy hotel. You can now explore available locations, determine function hours, and reserve hotel meeting space through the Academy by using

    International Attendees

    If you are traveling to the United States to attend AAO 2019, you may need a visitor visa. There are several steps to apply for a visa, so get started early. To help you obtain travel documents, the Academy has created an online tool that will create a personalized letter of invitation to attend AAO 2019.



    Academy to CMS: Make Part B Demonstration Voluntary, Well-Defined

    The Academy is urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to take several important steps to ensure that its new Part B drug demonstration is a success for both patients and physicians.

    As part of this national test, which is slated to begin in 2020, Medicare would adopt lower prices based on what foreign countries already pay through an International Pricing Index. It also would separate physicians’ payments for handling and inventory costs from the price of the drugs.

    As CMS continues to discuss the program’s design, the Academy has urged the agency to carefully define expectations of vendors who would now purchase and deliver drugs, and to ensure that the demonstration will not lower average sales price–based payments for those physicians not participating.

    Additionally, in response to CMS’ recent statement that the program will be mandatory, the Academy has issued comments stressing that the demonstration must be voluntary. The Academy objects to CMS making this program mandatory because previous attempts to establish competi­tive acquisition programs failed to demonstrate their viability.

    Although some of this proposal’s broad details are known thanks to Academy conversations with the agency and published reports, CMS is still working to determine additional important details and tactics for implementation. Throughout the planning process, the Academy has been engaging in a dialogue with Administrator Seema Verma and her staff to try to ensure that this concept works for our profession. Thus far, Academy efforts have been met with assurances that the demonstration would be designed in a way to limit disruption to physicians and patients.