George B. Bartley, MD, Is the 2020 Academy Laureate
The Laureate Award is the Academy’s highest honor, recognizing an individual who has made an extraordinary and lasting contribution to the profession of ophthalmology. George B. Bartley, MD, this year’s recipient, is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), the Louis and Evelyn Krueger Professor of Ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic, and the CEO Emeritus of Mayo Clinic in Florida. Among his many other leadership roles, Dr. Bartley is the former editor-in-chief of Ophthalmology, past president of the American Ophthalmological Society, and member of the Foundation Advisory Board of the Academy. He is also a distinguished oculoplastic surgeon who has authored or coauthored more than 250 publications.
Mayo Clinic career. After completing his residency at Mayo Clinic and subspecialty training at Wright State University, Dr. Bartley joined the Department of Ophthalmology at Mayo Clinic–Rochester in 1986, later becoming department chair and member of the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors. In 2002, he was appointed CEO of Mayo’s operations in Florida.
Dr. Bartley considers his leadership of the Florida Mayo Clinic to be his most notable accomplishment. He and his team were charged with building a hospital that would also integrate clinical practice, research, and educational activities. Under his watch, the hospital was built on time and on budget. “Opened in 2008, it is now consistently ranked as either the top or one of the top hospitals in the state,” he said.
From Ophthalmology to ABO. Dr. Bartley calls his term as editor-in-chief of the Ophthalmology journal “the most fun job I’ve ever had,” working with “razor-sharp people”: the authors, reviewers, journal staff, and “our fantastic editorial board.” During that time, the journal’s impact factor increased substantially, and Ophthalmology Retina was launched.
In 2017, he stepped down from Ophthalmology to head the ABO. Among recent changes, he and his colleagues have established new liaisons with ophthalmic subspecialties and adopted measures to keep fees low, for example, by transitioning from a physical office to a virtual office model. The latter has proved to be invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ABO is continuing to explore new territory in serving the interests of both the public and the profession. Looking to the future, Dr. Bartley reminds his colleagues that “society has given us the extraordinary privilege of professional self-regulation” and that ophthalmologists must never fail to maintain that trust.
Academy to Launch Open-Access Journal
In 2021, the Academy will expand the Ophthalmology family of journals to include Ophthalmology Science, an online open-access journal focused on publishing preclinical research, phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, laboratory-based work, ophthalmology informatics, and clinical science. Its inaugural issue will be available during the first quarter of 2021, and it will publish quarterly.
“As host of the premier family of ophthalmology research journals, the Academy recognizes a responsibility to take a leadership role in the movement toward broad distribution through open access to research that will inform the next great breakthroughs in ophthalmology,” said Stephen D. McLeod, MD, editor-in-chief of Ophthalmology. “Ophthalmology Science will offer an open venue for high-quality translational science that ultimately informs the clinical guidance for patient care that Ophthalmology seeks to present.”
Ophthalmology Science will be the fourth of the Academy’s Ophthalmology journals and its first open-access journal. It will be available online only and will be supported by article publishing charges instead of a subscription fee. A discounted article publishing charge will be available for Academy members.
Submit your research at www.editorialmanager.com/xops/default.aspx.
Academy’s Glaucoma Journal Accepted Into MEDLINE
Ophthalmology Glaucoma has been accepted into MEDLINE, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s database of biomedical references. MEDLINE contains more than 26 million references in its online database. Journals are selected based on a grading system evaluating scope and coverage, quality of content, impact factor, editorial work, and production quality.
“Given that the National Library of Medicine only approves 12%-15% of applications, we were concerned that our application might not be approved. We were thrilled to have been proven wrong,” said Henry D. Jampel, MD, MHS, editor-in-chief of the journal. “Being indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed should increase the attractiveness of our journal to authors and allow us to further improve its quality.”
Ophthalmology Glaucoma is a collaboration between the Academy and the American Glaucoma Society (AGS) and is a member benefit of AGS.
To subscribe, head to ophthalmologyglaucoma.org.
Ophthalmologist Elected to AMA Board
David H. Aizuss, MD, a former president of the California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and the California Medical Association has been elected to the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees. The AMA House of Delegates elected Dr. Aizuss to the Board on June 7.
Dr. Aizuss recently sat on the AMA’s Council on Legislation and, in past years, has represented the Academy in the AMA House of Delegates. Throughout his long career as an advocate on behalf of ophthalmology, Dr. Aizuss brings a unique combination of experiences that makes him especially well-suited for this new role.
Dr. Aizuss practices ophthalmology in Encino, California. He joins Grayson Armstrong, MD, MPH, chief resident in ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, on the AMA board.
Four Academy Members Win Grants for IRIS Registry Research
In August, the Academy and Research to Prevent Blindness announced the recipients of the Award for IRIS Registry Research. Each awardee receives a grant to conduct population-based studies in ophthalmology and blindness prevention, using the IRIS Registry.
The winners are: Prethy Rao, MD, who will research pars plana vitrectomy in children; Adam Rothman, MD, who will research patient response to cataract surgery; Karen Armbrust, MD, who will research scleritis; and Fasika Woreta, MD, who will research cystoid macular edema following cataract surgery. All four recipients are Academy members.
“Quality eye care begins with quality science,” said Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD. “The IRIS Registry is a powerful tool for uncovering better approaches to preventing and treating eye diseases. This year’s recipients show great promise for advancing patient care.”
Four more grants will be awarded in 2021. The application process will open in November 2020. For more information, visit aao.org/iris-registry/data-analysis/research-to-prevent-blindness-research-grants.
MIPS Alert! Don’t Miss These October Deadlines
If you are participating in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), note two upcoming deadlines.
By Oct. 3, start your 90-day performance period. You must perform improvement activities and promoting interoperability measures for at least 90 consecutive days. (The performance period for quality measures and cost measures is the full calendar year.)
Reading this after Oct. 3? There are some improvement activities that your practice may have been performing and documenting as a matter of course. To review the 62 improvement activities that are most relevant to ophthalmology, visit aao.org/medicare/improvement-activities.
By Oct. 31, sign up to use the IRIS Registry for MIPS reporting via manual data entry. If you were signed up for IRIS Registry manual reporting in 2019 and are still in the same practice, there is no need to register again for 2020. Similarly, if you signed up to integrate your electronic health record (EHR) with the IRIS Registry, you don’t have to sign up separately for manual reporting. (Note: Although quality measures can be reported via IRIS Registry–EHR integration, you must report improvement activities and promoting interoperability measures manually.)
Not sure how to access the IRIS Registry? To learn about the application process, visit aao.org/iris-registry/application-process. If you are already registered, email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with your login credentials.
What about COVID-19? If the pandemic, or some other emergency, prevents you from participating in one or more MIPS performance categories, you can apply for a hardship exception (see this month’s Practice Perfect).
Mentoring Program’s Annual Report Is Now Available
Through its two pilot years (2016 and 2017) and its two formal classes (2018 and 2019), the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program has helped almost 100 students become competitive ophthalmology residency applicants through the dedication of volunteer ophthalmologists. The students of classes 2018 and 2019 attend 31 different medical schools across the country, and 31% of them are the first person in their immediate family to attend college. The 2019 annual report states that after enrolling in the program, 83% of students indicate high or very high interest in ophthalmology, and 85% have found local research opportunities in ophthalmology.
“This is a program that every subspecialty should have,” said program participant Eve Bowers of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “I am proud of the field of ophthalmology for being one of the first to create such a necessary and extremely helpful program … [It] says to me that I matter and makes me more interested in the specialty. It is so hard to find African American (especially female) mentors in surgical subspecialties, and I am so grateful that the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program makes it easier.”
A partnership between the Academy and the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program was created to increase diversity in ophthalmology by helping qualified medical students who are underrepresented in medicine (URiM) become competitive ophthalmology residency applicants. The class of 2020 has accepted 50 students.
See the 2019 annual report at aao.org/2019-mentoring-report.
Read the Foundation’s 2020 Annual Report
The Academy Foundation depends on donor support to help fund many programs to members. Now that its 2020 annual report has been published, you can see how these contributions have been invested in the past year. Thanks to 1,500+ recent gifts, Academy members have free access to the Ophthalmic News and Education (ONE) Network, the IRIS Registry, and, soon, the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye. Contributions support ophthalmologists and patients, too, through global outreach programs and EyeCare America. Is your name on the donor list?
See the Foundation’s 2020 annual report at aao.org/annualreport and make a contribution at aao.org/donate.
Help Support the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye
There’s $1 million left to go in fundraising for the world’s only free public museum dedicated to the fascinating science of sight. Every day, the Academy is working on final touches to house some of ophthalmology’s most beautiful, quirky, ancient, and surprising objects.
Consider giving today at aao.org/museum.
Volunteer Opportunity: Write or Edit for EyeWiki
EyeWiki is the Academy’s public online eye encyclopedia, written by ophthalmologists. Any qualified ophthalmologist or ophthalmologist in training is invited to contribute content to Eye-Wiki’s collection of more than 1,000 clinical articles covering the spectrum of eye disease.
Get started at aao.org/member-services/volunteer/write/eyewiki-article.
Ask the Ethicist: Suspending Do Not Resuscitate Orders for Ophthalmic Surgeries
Q: My hospital routinely suspends pre-existing Do Not Resuscitate/Do Not Intubate (DNR/DNI) directives while patients undergo ophthalmic surgeries. I doubt patients are aware of this action. I’m concerned and wonder if it is ethical?
A: The question of DNR/DNI directives during ophthalmic surgery should be looked at as a patient autonomy issue. Patient autonomy allows health care providers to educate patients but does not allow providers to make decisions for patients. Like any part of the informed consent process, it is important to discuss this question with the patient or surrogate prior to any surgical procedure.
The American Medical Association holds that automatic suspension of DNR orders cannot be justified as it denies patient autonomy.1 Additionally, the practice may violate the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990.2
Educating patients on this issue would be a significant time commitment since this isn’t a delegable duty. Perhaps simply asking all patients 1) if they have a DNR, and 2) in the absence of a DNR, whether or not they desire full resuscitation, would enable patient decision-making and address this issue from an ethical and risk management perspective for the physician and hospital. Of course, documenting everything in the medical record is of utmost importance.
To submit a question, reach out to the Ethics Committee at email@example.com.
1 www.journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/perioperative-do-not-resuscitate-orders/2015-03. Accessed Aug. 14, 2020.
2 www.congress.gov/bill/101st-congress/house-bill/4449. Accessed Aug. 14, 2020.
OMIC: Prevent Falls in the Ophthalmic Office and OR
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65 years of age, according to the CDC. Many of these falls occur in the home. When they happen in physician offices and ambulatory surgery centers, some patients and their families assume that physicians and staff members should have predicted and prevented the fall, and they sue for malpractice.
An issue of the OMIC Digest reviews closed claims filed by 41 patients to determine the circumstances surrounding falls, factors that increase their likelihood, and suggestions on ways to identify and assist those most at risk, such as encouraging patients whose pupils have been dilated to stay in the office until they are comfortable with their vision: www.omic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Digest-V25-N2-2015.pdf.
The Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company (OMIC) offers professional liability insurance exclusively to Academy members, their employees, and their practices.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, OphthPAC Is Advocating for You
OphthPAC, the Academy’s nonpartisan political action committee (PAC), gives ophthalmology a voice on Capitol Hill that helps preserve ophthalmologists’ ability to provide quality care. OphthPAC contributes to both Democrats and Republicans.
Relief legislation. During the pandemic, OphthPAC has been working to ensure that Congress understands what resources are needed for your practice to remain available to care for your communities both during and after the public health emergency. As Congress developed COVID-19 relief legislation, the Academy leveraged OphthPAC’s relationships with legislators to ensure that ophthalmology practices received assistance from a new Provider Relief Fund.
Small business loans. The Academy also worked to make sure that practices could qualify for small business loans like the Paycheck Protection Program, which includes opportunities for loan forgiveness, and the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which includes access to $10,000 emergency grants.
Academy efforts also helped secure the following:
- Suspension of the 2% sequestration cuts to Medicare payments starting May 1. The suspension ends Dec. 31.
- Tax relief to help physician practices weather the crisis.
Long-term recovery. But the work is not done. As Congress develops additional COVID-19 relief measures, OphthPAC continues its efforts to secure long-term recovery assistance for your practice. This includes reducing the negative financial impacts of Medicare payment cuts related to policy changes for Evaluation and Management (E/M) services that will be implemented next year. Without congressional intervention, ophthalmology faces a minimum 6% cut on Jan. 1, 2021. Some subspecialties like cataract, glaucoma, and retina could see 9% to 10% cuts in their key procedures. The Academy is also pressing Congress to apply the planned payment increases for E/M visits to the post-op visits included in the global codes.
Ophthalmologists in office. The pandemic has made it clear that more physicians are needed in Congress. This election cycle, OphthPAC has supported 18 Democratic and Republican physicians running for office, including two ophthalmologists (William S. Clifford, MD, who lost the Republican primary in Kansas’ 1st District, and Mariannette J. Miller- Meeks, MD, who is the Republican nominee for Iowa’s 2nd District). As the 2020 election nears, Academy member support of OphthPAC is critical to advancing and protecting ophthalmology.
Join the effort at aao.org/ophthpac.
FOR THE RECORD
Announcing the 2020 Academy Awards
It is with great pleasure and pride that the Board of Trustees and the Awards Committee announce this year’s award recipients.
Laureate Recognition Award: George B. Bartley, MD. The Academy’s highest honor, this award recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the betterment of eye care, leading to the prevention of blindness and restoration of sight worldwide.
Guests of Honor: Bartly J. Mondino, MD, Bradley R. Straatsma, MD, JD, and M. Roy Wilson, MD. This award recognizes individuals chosen by the president for their contributions to ophthalmology and the Academy, and for the significant role they have played in the president’s life and career. The president’s guests will be honored during AAO 2020 Virtual.
Straatsma Award: R. Michael Siatkowski, MD. The Straatsma Award for Excellence in Resident Education was established through the Academy, the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), and private funds. The award is given to a program director dedicated to the principles and significance of residency education. Dr. Siatkowski will be honored during AAO 2020 Virtual and receive his award at the AUPO meeting in 2021.
Notice of the Annual Business Meeting
Notice is hereby given that the Annual Business Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology will be held on Sunday, Nov. 15, during AAO 2020 Virtual. Candidates for Academy membership will be approved during this meeting. Following the Annual Business Meeting, election ballots for open board positions and the amendments to the bylaws will be sent to voting fellows and members.
For more information and to see the full order of business, go to aao.org/businessmeeting.
Proposed Bylaw Amendments
The Board of Trustees recommends three amendments to the Academy’s bylaws for consideration and adoption by members:
The first amendment would eliminate eligibility for those in the Associate and Industry membership categories to become Inactive Members.
The second amendment would expand the Member-in-Training category to include PGY-1 trainees who match to a U.S. or Canadian ophthalmology residency.
The third amendment would create an additional membership class for medical students and would allow medical students to change their status to Member-in-Training without requiring reapplication.
The amendments will be implemented by a majority vote via the Academy’s election.
To view the proposed bylaw amendment language, visit aao.org/bylaw-amendments.
ROBERT E. WIGGINS JR., MD, MHA
Candidate for President-Elect
Career. Pediatric ophthalmologist (King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia); pediatric and neuro-ophthalmologist and physician administrator (Asheville Eye Associates); Master of Healthcare Administration degree; past president (American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus); finance chair (Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company); examiner (American Board of Ophthalmology); Standards Development Committee (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care); Senior Achievement Award; Secretariat Awards (Ophthalmic Practice and Education).
Academy service. Practicing Ophthalmologists Advisory Committee for Education; Performance Measurement Workgroup; Physician Task Force on Practice Management (chair); AAO Executive Committee; IRIS Registry task force (operations chair); Hospital ER Call Workgroup (chair); Senior Secretary for Ophthalmic Practice; AAO Board of Trustees; AAOE Board of Directors.
Goal. I have encountered many brilliant, imaginative, and dedicated people within our profession who are committed to our mission of protecting sight and empowering lives. My goal is to listen to Academy members and staff and help amplify their talents to reach new heights by working together.
GEORGE A. WILLIAMS, MD
Candidate for Senior Secretary for Advocacy
Career. Vitreoretinal surgeon since 1984 in both full-time academic and private practice; Associated Retinal Consultants, Royal Oak, Michigan; professor and chair of ophthalmology, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; director, Beaumont Eye Institute. Trained 111 residents; 68 fellows. Grandfathered ABO diplomate in 1983, recertified in 2005 and 2016. Past president of the Michigan Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and past president of the American Society of Retina Specialists. Member of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, the Retina Society, the Macula Society, the American Society of Retina Specialists, and Club Jules Gonin. Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and past Chair of the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company Board of Directors 2016-2018.
Academy service. President, 2019; Past President, 2020; Secretary, Federal Affairs 2014-2017; Trustee-at-Large, 2009-2012.
Goal. To work with all stakeholders to further the Academy’s mission of protecting sight and empowering lives through patient-centered advocacy.
ANNA LUISA DI LORENZO, MD, FACS
Candidate for Trustee-at-Large
Career. Undergraduate, University of Toronto BSc Hon; medical degree, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; internal medicine residency, Wayne State University School of Medicine; ophthalmology residency, Kresge Eye Institute; Wayne State University. Academic Positions: Professor of Ophthalmology, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; clinical assistant professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine; Leadership Development Program VI; president of the Michigan Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons; Oakland County Medical Society Board; Third Party Payor Committee, Michigan Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons; J8 Medicare Administrative Contractor Advisory Committee; Academy Achievement Award; Academy Secretariat Award; Academy Senior Achievement Award. I have been a comprehensive ophthalmologist in private practice in Troy, Michigan, since 1997.
Academy service. Practicing Ophthalmologist Curriculum Panel—Comprehensive Ophthalmology Panel Subcommittee member; OphthPAC Committee; O.N.E. Comprehensive Subcommittee member; Nominating Committee member; Councilor for Michigan, Committee for State Organizational Development; member Basic and Clinical Science Course Section 1 Update on General Medicine Subcommittee member; chair of Task Force on Membership.
Goal. My goal is to diligently uphold the mission of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and to honor the viewpoints, concerns, and interests of our membership by representing them on the Board as a Trustee-at-Large.
AARON P. WEINGEIST, MD
Candidate for Trustee-at-Large
Career. Graduate of Earlham College (BA); University of Iowa College of Medicine (MD); University of Washington (residency); AAO Leadership Development Program IV; Puget Sound Business Journal 40 Under 40 Honoree; Academy Special Recognition Award; Achievement Award; Secretariat Awards; Distinguished Service Award; Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (past president), Legislative Chair (2000-present), Physicians EyePAC president, Washington Eye Foundation cofounder and president; Renton Technical College Ophthalmic Technician program board member; Highline Medical Services Organization (past chair); current comprehensive ophthalmologist in private practice, Seattle.
Academy service. Director, Leadership Development Program (class XV-XVIII); Secretariat for State Affairs Committee; Communications Advisory Board, Online Advertising Review Group, Media Advisors Task Force; Comprehensive Ophthalmology Task Force; Patient Engagement Task Force; On-Line Community Steering Team; Clinical Correspondent; IRIS Registry spokesperson; EyeCare America Volunteer.
Goal. I am a passionate advocate for quality eye care and safe surgery. If elected, I will bring my perspective as a private practice comprehensive ophthalmologist with years of legislative experience to the Board. I will do my best to convey the concerns of the membership to the Board, and continue to advocate for the best eye care, safe surgery, fair regulation, and adequate reimbursement.
MEMBERS AT LARGE
Kentucky Bids Went Virtual
The Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (KAEPS) adapted its Aug. 14-15, 2020, annual meeting in Louisville for a virtual environment. Among the speakers during the educational portion of the virtual meeting program, Louis Cantor, MD, and Karl Golnik, MD, presented on glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology topics.
The event included the society’s first-ever virtual silent auction, which raised more than $5,000 for the society’s Kentucky Ophthalmological Political Action Committee (KOPAC). “This is our major fundraiser for the year, and it supports our legislative activities and our voice in Frankfort,” noted KAEPS President William (“Chip”) Richardson II, MD.
The virtual auction and the technology to make it run were organized by KAEPS PAC Chair and Academy Leadership Development Program participant Jeremy Clark, MD. “It’s important for KAEPS to be able to adapt to this new meeting environment, and KAEPS was pleased to offer both first-rate education in a safe environment and our virtual silent auction,” Dr. Richardson said.
Under Mental Stress?
Even in the best of times, physicians can be at high risk for burnout, depressive symptoms, mental health distress, and even suicide. The past eight months have not been the best of times.
For wellness information and resources, visit aao.org/wellness.
Order Your Updated 2021 Coding Books Today
The trusted Academy coding tools your practice uses every day have been revised with critical updates for 2021. The 2021 ICD-10-CM for Ophthalmology manual is shipping now. In addition to the popular Ophthalmic Coding Coach and Coding Assistant series, you can preorder essential Academy-developed references for retina coding and CPT. Prepare now to avoid costly claim denials in the new year.
Preorder at aao.org/codingtools.
Get the Updated Dictionary of Eye Terminology
The Academy’s Dictionary of Eye Terminology, Seventh Edition, is perfect for new staff members who must learn ophthalmic lingo and for seasoned staff who need a quick reference. Available in spiral-bound hardback copy or in eBook format, this fully revised edition features plain-language definitions and full-color illustrations.
Keep accurate information on hand, visit aao.org/techs.
AcadeMetrics Deadline Extended to Oct. 31
AAOE provides a practice management benchmarking tool called AcadeMetrics, which may be especially useful in this pandemic year.
Boost your COVID-19 recovery efforts. Comparative data will help you to quickly assess how your practice is performing compared with your peers’ practices and identify new opportunities. Learn how your ratio of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff per FTE provider compares with similar practices, how your accounts receivable (AR) aging compares with your colleagues’ AR aging, and where your practice stands in terms of expenses per encounter.
To access the benchmarks, you must first share your data. If you complete at least 50% of this year’s survey, you’ll be able to use AcadeMetrics’ detailed, comparative reports. Because of the pandemic, the deadline for data submission has been extended from July 31 to Oct. 31.
Get started at aao.org/practice-management/analytics/benchmarking-survey.
New Online Resources for Retina Practices
Open to all Academy members, AAOE’s new Practice Management for Retina website includes vital new coding, practice management, and Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) content unique to the retina practice.
Find Practice Management for Retina at aao.org/retinapm.
Choose the No. 1 Job Site for Ophthalmology
As ophthalmology practices reopen and restaff, it’s never been more important to find the right fit fast. The Ophthalmology Job Center connects hiring practices with qualified candidates.
Start your search today at aao.org/jobcenter.