• Academy Notebook

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    WHAT’S HAPPENING

    LDP XXII, Class of 2020, Recognized

    On Dec. 5, Leadership Development Program (LDP) Director Linda Tsai, MD, led the final virtual session for the Academy’s LDP XXII, Class of 2020. During the session, Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD, and 2020 President Anne Coleman, MD, PhD, discussed challenges and opportunities for the Academy and its partner soci­eties. LDP alum Christie Morse, MD, inspired the class by talking about her leadership journey with the Academy and American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus fol­lowing her participation in LDP. Four graduates were invited to present their LDP projects, which are meant to ben­efit the state or subspecialty/specialized interest society that nominated them.

    Due to the pandemic, this class wasn’t able to meet in person for the last two components of the program. Because of this, the Academy, under Dr. Tsai’s leadership, pivoted to hold two virtual sessions to help advance the LDP participants in their leadership journey.

    Class of 2022. The Academy’s LDP XXIII was originally meant to be the Class of 2021. Instead it will be the Class of 2022. Normally, members of the new class would have met for their first session during AAO 2020 and looked forward to a graduation ceremony in conjunction with AAO 2021 in Novem­ber. However, the Academy decided to defer the start of the program due to the pandemic. Now, LDP XXIII will meet for an orientation session during AAO 2021 in New Orleans, and it is scheduled to conclude with graduation during AAO 2022 in Chicago.

    The class has already been selected and consists of 19 ophthalmologists who were nominated by U.S. state and subspecialty societies. It also includes one international ophthalmologist from Jordan, Mais Alkilany, MD, who was jointly nominated by the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology and the Jordanian Ophthalmological Society. Chris Albanis, MD, has been appointed the role of LDP director, succeeding Dr. Tsai, who completed her term at the end of 2020.

    Big Data: Research Grants Awarded for MDs in Private Practice

    In January, the Academy announced grant recipients from two funds: the Knights Templar Eye Foundation (KTEF) Pediatric Ophthalmology Fund and The H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, Center for Quality Eye Care IRIS Regis­try Research Fund.

    Two charitable funds that leverage IRIS Registry data. The KTEF fund supports big data analyses that inves­tigate pediatric eye diseases in order to uncover optimal, real-world approach­es to prevention and treatment. The H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, fund supports clinicians who seek to answer questions that can help improve patient care. Both funds aim to support Academy members in private practice who want to harness the power of the Academy’s IRIS Registry to improve their practices and their patients’ lives.

    KTEF Pediatric Fund. The latest grant winners are:

    • Eric Schneider, MD, who will identify risk factors for retinopathy of prematurity;
    • Jeffrey J. Tan, MD, who will work to better understand if starting immuno­modulatory therapy in children newly diagnosed with uveitis is effective and can reduce complications; and
    • Akshay Thomas, MD, who will identify the causes of pediatric uveitis and associated vision loss.

    The H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, Center for Quality Eye Care IRIS Registry Research Fund. The latest grant winners are:

    • Elizabeth Atchison, MD, who will work to identify which patients with age-related macular degeneration are at greatest risk of severe visual loss;
    • David F. Chang, MD, who will describe real-world outcomes with different IOL types;
    • Sunir Garg, MD, who will evaluate whether the timing of retinal detachment sur­gery is linked to better visual outcomes;
    • Erich Horn, MD, who will study whether delayed surgery influenced patient outcomes; and
    • Ramsudha Narala, MD, who will determine if immunomodulatory treatment in newly diagnosed uveitis patients can prevent recurrence of inflammation and its complications.

    Apply for the next grants by May 31 at aao.org/iris-registry/research.

    EyeWiki Contest: Winning Articles Have Been Announced

    EyeWiki is the Academy’s collaborative online encyclopedia, where physicians, patients, and the public can view content written by ophthalmologists that covers the spectrum of eye disease, diagnosis, and treatment. Each year EyeWiki hosts two writing contests. One is for U.S. residents and fellows, the other is for ophthalmologists out­side the United States.

    Winners of the 2020 U.S. Residents & Fellows Contest were recently an­nounced:

    • Robin K. Kuriakose, MD: Incision Construction
    • Jacquelyn Laplant, MD: Carotid Cavernous Fistula
    • Karen M. Wai, MD: Medial Canthal Tendon Avulsion
    • Minh T. Nguyen, MD: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    International contest winners were announced in August 2020.

    Next contest deadlines. Submit an article at aao.org/eyewiki for the International Ophthalmologists Con­test by June 1 or for the U.S. Residents & Fellows Contest by Dec. 1.

    TAKE NOTICE

    A Request From EyeNet

    Some of you may have been invited 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 the maga­zine to secure funding for projects that help you in the clinical realm and in your practice.

    Leave a Legacy for Generations to Come

    The 1896 Legacy Society, named for the year the Academy was founded, is a special group of donors who have included the Foundation in their estate plans through cash gifts, bequests, or other planned gifts. These are called fu­ture gifts, and they support the educa­tion of the next generation of ophthal­mologists. Learn about the many ways to give, from wills and living trusts to donor advised funds and charitable gift annuities.

    Learn more about future gifts at aao.planmylegacy.org.

    Step Up With EyeCare America

    Giving back to the community has always been a top priority for many clinicians, but how often is it as easy as just doing the work you would do anyway? It’s possible with EyeCare America, one of the country’s leading public service and award-winning pro­grams. Volunteering means that you stand alongside a growing team of more than 5,500 like-minded volunteer ophthalmologists across the country, dedicated to protecting the sight of the most vulnerable in the community—right from your office.  

    Since 1985, EyeCare America has helped more than 2 million people get sight-saving care.

    Learn more and join at aao.org/eyecare-america

    Volunteer Opportunity: Review Scientific Literature

    Are you a qualified methodologist? Help review and evaluate the scientific literature in preparation for others to develop or update Ophthalmic Technol­ogy Assessments (OTAs) and Preferred Practice Patterns (PPPs). These docu­ments contribute to the evidence base in ophthalmology.

    Learn more by visiting aao.org/volunteering and choosing “Review.” (This is just one of many Academy volunteer opportunities.)

    Academy Year in Review

    2020 was a year like no other. Members recalibrated, reorganized, and rein­vented, all while looking forward to a “new normal.” Read the “2020 Year in Review” to learn about the Academy’s many achievements this year, including the following:

    • The introduction of daily emails and other resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The presentation of an interactive, all-virtual AAO 2020, which proved highly successful.
    • The launching of Eyecelerator, an ophthalmic innovation business pro­gram that was created in partnership with the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
    • The doubling of the cohort size of the Minority Ophthalmology Mentor­ing program.
    • The derailing of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ sched­uled cuts, helping members access early COVID-19 stimulus relief, and other big advocacy wins.

    Read the full “2020 Year in Review” at aao.org/yearinreview.

    OMIC Tip: Responding to Reviews on Social Media

    How should you respond to negative reviews on social media and physician rating websites like Facebook, Yelp, RateMDs, or Healthgrades?

    Take these steps:

    • In order to comply with HIPAA, maintain confidentiality when respond­ing. Do not acknowledge that the reviewer is a patient.
    • Conduct an internal review of the care.
    • Determine whether the comments violate the policies of the website where they are posted. If so, ask to have them removed.
    • Respond politely: “We appreciate the feedback. We take patient satisfac­tion seriously. In order to protect our patients’ privacy, we prefer to handle a situation like this offline. Please contact our office.”
    • Reach out to the reviewer to respond privately.
    • Develop a written social media policy for your practice so that there is a consistent process for responding to reviews.
    • Head to OMIC’s Social Media Liability library at www.omic.com/social-media-liability for information and resources that may help you miti­gate related exposures.

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

    ACADEMY RESOURCES

    MIPS 2021—Bookmark EyeNet’s New Manual

    Late last year, CMS published the 2021 rules for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Rule changes were posted online in early December and appeared in print in the Dec. 28 edition of the Federal Register. It wasn’t until Dec. 31 that CMS released critical information about the MIPS quality measures, including benchmark data and changes to the measure specifi­cations. The Academy provided an overview of the new rules in a Dec. 15 webinar and has posted more detailed information as it has become available.

    EyeNet’s 2021 MIPS manual. Begin­ning in January, EyeNet started post­ing sections of its 2021 MIPS manual online at aao.org/eyenet/mips-manual-2021. The blue-and-white print version will be mailed with the April issue of EyeNet.

    Explore all the Academy’s MIPS resources. Visit aao.org/medicare, which is the hub page for a range of ophthalmic-specific MIPS resources. For information on reporting MIPS via the Academy’s IRIS Registry, visit aao.org/iris-registry.

    View the Latest Clinical Guidelines

    The Academy Ophthalmic Technology Assessments evaluate new and existing procedures, drugs, and diagnostic and screening tests for safety and clinical effectiveness. Review the most recent assessments:

    • Office- or Facility-Based Probing for Congenital Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction;
    • Interventions for Indirect Traumatic Optic Neuropathy; and
    • Intraocular Lens Power Calculation in Eyes With Previous Excimer Laser Surgery for Myopia.

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

    Become an Ophthalmic Coding Specialist

    There’s no better time to improve your coding skills and your career qualifica­tions. Take one of the online, open-book Ophthalmic Coding Specialist Exams.

    • The Ophthalmic Coding Specialist (OCS) Exam is designed to educate and assess comprehensive coding knowledge of MDs and ophthalmic professionals.
    • The Ophthalmic Coding Specialist Retina (OCSR) Exam, the first and only one of its kind, provides a unique testing and credentialing opportunity for retina physicians and staff.

    Each exam is a 100-question, multi­ple-choice assessment that covers all as­pects of coding for ophthalmology. You may take one or both tests. Participants who pass are eligible to use the applica­ble credential (OCS and/or OCSR).

    By taking an exam, you can test your coding competency, contribute to the financial success of your practice, and receive the national professional recog­nition you deserve.

    Learn more at aao.org/practice-management/coding/ocs-specialist-exam.

    Financial Fitness Can Contribute to Your Overall Wellness 

    All month, the Academy will release weekly short informational videos about financial wellness. Planning your financial future can be stressful, and that stress may manifest in physical, emotional, or mental symptoms, and it can detract from a physician’s ability to provide quality care to his or her patients. To help Academy members overcome these challenges, video topics will include the basics of managing your finances, action you can take in different phases of your career, growth versus savings, and more. 

    Check in each week for a new video at aao.org/physician-wellness/financial-wellness.

    Register for Virtual Codequest 2021

    Join the most knowledgeable coding experts in ophthalmology for a four-hour program. Speakers will map out the latest coding updates, review key competencies, test your knowledge of the critical new E/M requirements affecting every practice, and steer you toward successful solutions for pre­venting claim denials. Attend via a live Zoom event or order the recording to watch on demand at your convenience. Check the Codequest website for events that focus on your state. Upcoming sessions include:

    • Louisiana, on demand, March 20
    • Michigan, virtual, March 13
    • Missouri, on demand, March 20
    • Texas, virtual, March 27
    • Washington, virtual, March 11

    Learn more at aao.org/codequest.

    MEETINGS

    Mark Your Calendar for AAO 2021

    AAO 2021 will take place Nov. 12-15 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Cen­ter in New Orleans.  

    In the meantime, the Academy is working to streamline your annual meeting experience and encourage community engagement while supplying the world-class education that you’ve come to expect from the Academy.

    Changes include the following:  

    • Moving the AAO 2021 opening session to Friday, Nov. 12, 5:00-6:30 p.m. for an inspirational start to the meeting.   
    • Reducing the number of simulta­neous programs, so you don’t have to choose between them.   
    • Providing more community engage­ment opportunities in the Expo.  
    • Ending the meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15—a day earlier than in the past, so that you can get back to your practice sooner.  

    Look for more news in the coming months at aao.org/2021.  

    Be Part of AAO 2021  

    Shape the world’s most comprehensive ophthalmology meeting by submitting a paper/poster or video abstract for AAO 2021. The online abstract submit­ter opens on March 11 and closes on April 13. 

    For more information, visit aao.org/presentercentral.  

    International Attendees May Require Visas

    If you are traveling to the United States to attend AAO 2021, you may need a visitor visa. There are several steps to apply for and receive a visa, so it is important to start early. To help you obtain travel documents, the Academy offers an online tool that will create a personalized letter of invitation to attend AAO 2021 in New Orleans. Enter your information into the form, then print out or save the letter to your computer.  

    Find additional information at aao.org/visa

    You Can Still Revisit AAO 2020 Virtual

    The live broadcast of AAO 2020 Virtual took place Nov. 13-15, 2020, but if you registered for the meeting you can still view sessions on demand through aao.org. Click on “My Online Products” under your name in the upper right corner of your screen, then choose AAO 2020 Virtual in the drop-down menu. These presentations will be available until Oct. 15, and you may continue to claim CME credit until then.

    Learn more about past meetings at aao.org/aao-archives.

    D.C. REPORT

    Attend Mid-Year Forum 2021 and Congressional Advocacy Day Virtually

    Mid-Year Forum is one of the Academy’s most significant yearly meetings, bringing the ophthalmology community together to discuss politics, policy, and practice management. It’s also a time to directly advocate for your profession by meeting with members of Congress and congressional staff during Congressional Advocacy Day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the events will be virtual and free of charge in 2021. They will take place several days apart:

    • Mid-Year Forum 2021: April 23-24
    • Congressional Advocacy Day: May 5

    Mid-Year Forum. This year’s meeting will be held as two half-day ses­sions. This annual event is a chance to learn about health care policy changes that will impact how you practice, and it will help you develop strategies to implement new programs in your patient-care approach. Both Academy and AAOE members are invited to participate.

    Discussion topics will include:

    • changes in Academy strategic priorities for COVID-19;
    • health policy and the new administration;
    • physician payment;
    • technology, AI, and telehealth;
    • the rise, fall … and rise of private equity and corporatization; and
    • scope of practice and the new administration.

    Register for the 2021 Mid-Year Forum at aao.org/myf.

    Congressional Advocacy Day. The virtual constituent meetings that take place during Congressional Advocacy Day can help advance ophthalmology’s priorities in Congress and help the Academy build lasting relationships with lawmakers and their staff members. Legis­lative meetings are an important chance to demonstrate ophthalmol­ogists’ unique role in health care, as well as to discuss the business realities of operating a practice and the challenges you face in caring for your patients.

    The Academy will schedule all meetings and provide training materials to prepare you for a successful virtual meeting. Due to the congressional scheduling process, registration will close March 26 to ensure that Academy members have the best possible meeting expe­rience. Participation is limited, so register early.

    Register for Congressional Advocacy Day at aao.org/cad.