• Academy Notebook

    News, Tips, Resources

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    WHAT’S HAPPENING

    NEW In April: Register for AAO 2020 and Book Your Hotel

    Starting April 8, Academy and American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives members can register and make hotel reservations for Subspecialty Day (Nov. 13-14) and AAO 2020 (Nov. 14-17) in Las Vegas. Nonmembers can do so starting April 22. Find more informa­tion at aao.org/registration and aao.org/hotels.

    Remember: Registration for AAO 2020 is free if you are a member and your 2020 membership dues have been paid. Join or renew today at aao.org/member-services.

    Avoid scams: Use only the Academy’s site. Several fraudulent companies pre­tending to be associated with the Acad­emy and AAO 2020 may appear in web searches or may have already contacted you via email. They claim that they can book hotel rooms or register you for the Academy’s annual meeting, but they are unaffiliated with the Academy. To avoid scams, book hotel rooms and registration only through links provid­ed by the Academy. The official hotel reservation provider for AAO 2020 is Expovision.

    If you are ever in doubt, email meet­ings@aao.org, call 1-415-561-8500, or contact Expovision at aaohotels@expovision.com or toll-free at 1-866-774-0487.

    Be Heard at Mid-Year Forum 2020

    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 22-25 in Washington, D.C., offers opportunities to learn and make an impact. It includes:

    • sessions on hot topics, such as physician payment, perspectives on and implications of the 2020 elections, emerging risk management issues, and innovations in science and education;
    • 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 additional information on the program and to reserve your spot, visit aao.org/myf. The registration fee increases from $225 to $325 on March 13, and prereg­istration is available through April 6; Congressional Advocacy Day’s lobbying events on April 23 are free to Academy members.

    Volunteer: Answer Questions From the Public

    The “Ask an Ophthalmologist” feature of the Academy website (aao.org/eye-health/ask-ophthalmologist) fields questions from the public about eye conditions and treatments.

    The Academy is looking for vol­unteers with clear, concise writing skills who have a knack for explaining complicated topics in simple terms. If you enjoy educating the public and can spare an hour or so every few months, consider raising your public profile by volunteering as a clinical responder.

    Learn more under Write at aao.org/volunteering.

    TAKE NOTICE

    A Request From EyeNet

    In the next month or two, some of you will be asked to participate in a magazine readership survey conducted by Kantar Media. If you are a fan of EyeNet, please participate. Being ranked among the most widely and thoroughly read ophthalmic publications enables us to secure funding for projects that help you in the clinical realm and in your practice, like the MIPS manual (aao.org/eyenet/mips-manual-2020).

    Check Out the Year in Review

    With continued dedication to advancing ophthalmology and maximizing tech­nology, Academy leaders, volunteers, and staff achieved much in 2019. Read the Year in Review to learn about the Academy’s successes, including:

    • launch of the AAO Ophthalmic Education App,
    • growth of monthly EyeSmart page views to more than 3 million, and
    • near completion of construction on the new Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye.

    Learn more at aao.org/yearinreview.

    Submit Your Research to Ophthalmology Glaucoma

    The Academy and American Glaucoma Society have collaborated in producing Ophthalmology Glaucoma to expand publishing opportunities for this booming subspecialty research area. Upload your research today.

    Get started at www.editorialmanager.com/ogla.

    OMIC Tip: Emergencies and After-Hours Calls

    Many ophthalmologists seek advice about on-call issues. Some want to know how to respond to queries from the emergency department (ED) when they are not on call. Others want to know how to handle patients referred from the ED to their practice for post­discharge care. To help answer these and other questions, OMIC provides information about the basic obligations that physicians have under the federal law known as EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act). OMIC also provides guidance specifically on the ophthalmologist’s role in emergency care, with a focus on on-call and follow-up duties. Both can be found at www.omic.com/emtala.

    To help ophthalmologists make medical decisions on the basis of the limited information obtained over the telephone, OMIC provides a form at www.omic.com/after-hours-contact-form-and-recommendations. Click “After hours contact form and recom­mendations” to download it.

    Note: There may also be state laws or regulations governing ED care as well as duties imposed by hospital medical staff bylaws or HMO contracts. Ophthalmologists should verify their understanding of these other laws and regulations to make sure that they are in compliance.

    OMIC offers professional liability in­surance exclusively to Academy members, their employees, and their practices.

    D.C. REPORT

    Hospital Outpatient Department Fee-for-Service Prior Authorization

    Starting July 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will adopt prior authorization for some procedures performed in hospital outpatient departments. Blepharoplasty is among the services that are subject to this policy as a condition of Medicare facility payment. 

    The prior authorization process only applies to claims paid under Medicare’s Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System. Services provided outside of the hospital outpatient setting, such as in the physician office or in an ambulatory surgical center, are not subject to the prior authorization process at this point.

    Under the new policy, hospitals must submit prior authorization requests for provisional affirmations of coverage before an otherwise covered outpatient service is furnished to Medicare patients. This pro­cess must be initiated before the claim is submitted for processing; failure to do so will result in claim denials. 

    Despite significant documentation requirements—including establishing that the service meets applicable Medicare coverage, coding, and payment rules—CMS says provisional affirmation does not guar­antee the facility receives payment. The agency reserves the right to deny claims for services based on technical requirements that can only be evaluated after the claim has been submitted for formal processing or information not available at the time the prior authori­zation request is received. 

    CMS says that expedited reviews can be requested when delay could seriously jeopardize beneficiaries’ life, health, or ability to regain maximum function. 

    MEMBERS AT LARGE

    New Teaching Site

    In October, Steven Bloom, MD, launched Retina Rocks (www.retinarocks.org). The website is a free open-source retina teaching collection with more than 23,000 multimodal images and 3,800 annotated references that are organized alphabetically by topic into 360 sections. You must have a Google account to view and download the images.

    ACADEMY RESOURCES

    View the Latest Clinical Guidelines

    The Academy Ophthalmic Technology Assessments evaluate new and exist­ing procedures, drugs, diagnostic and screening tests for safety, and clinical effectiveness. Review the most recent assessments: Binocular Treatment for Amblyopia and Autologous Serum–Based Eye Drops for Treatment of Ocular Surface Disease.

    Find these and other assessments at aao.org/ota.

    Use the Right Forms for Practice Business

    Need a form for your practice? AAOE, the practice management arm of the Academy, has compiled more than 100 ophthalmic medical practice documents—shared by AAOE members—for you to use. The Practice Forms Library includes sample forms, policies, check­lists, and procedures for business and financial operations, patient informa­tion, examinations, HIPAA, human resources, job descriptions, and practice protocols. All of the forms are de-iden­tified and can be modified to suit your practice. AAOE features new additions to this library in its weekly e-newslet­ter, Practice Management Express. The Practice Forms Library is an AAOE membership benefit.

    Access the forms at aao.org/practice-management/practice-forms-library.

    MEETING MATTERS

    Attend the 2020 Ophthal­mology Business Summit, March 14-15

    Recent reimbursement decreases make practice efficiency more crucial than ever. Ruth D. Williams, MD, the Ophthalmology Business Summit opening session speaker and Academy past president, will kick off the third annual summit focusing on practice health, efficiency, and culture. You’ll leave this solutions-oriented program with new tools and tactics for sustain­ing a healthy, viable practice. Physician leaders and practice administrators who attend as a team will realize the most benefit.

    Find the curriculum at aao.org/business-summit.

    AAO 2020: International Attendees May Need to Obtain a Visa

    If you are traveling to the United States to attend AAO 2020 in Las Vegas, 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 2020.

    Visit aao.org/visa.

    Submit an AAO 2020 Abstract

    Contribute your expertise to the world’s most comprehensive ophthal­mology meeting. The online submitter for AAO 2020 paper/poster and video abstracts opens on March 12 and closes on April 14.

    The online abstract submitter for instruction courses and Skills Transfer labs closed on Jan. 14.

    Learn more at aao.org/presentercentral.