• American Academy of Ophthalmology Honors Eight Members of Congress for Their Dedication to Healthy Vision

    WASHINGTON — The American Academy of Ophthalmology – the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons – is honoring eight members of Congress for their outstanding legislative efforts to advance the quality of eye care available in the United States.

    Each year, the Academy presents its Visionary Award to organizations or members of Congress for their leadership in supporting issues of importance to the profession of ophthalmology and its patients. Collectively, this year's recipients are recognized for various efforts, including those aimed at permanently repealing the flawed sustainable growth rate SGR formula, which is used to calculate Medicare physician pay and make other program reforms; driving truth-in-advertising legislation; and improving access to compounded drugs.

    The recipients of the 2014 American Academy of Ophthalmology Visionary Award and the category of contributions for which they are being recognized are:

    Permanent SGR Repeal
    Rep. Bill Flores R-Texas and Rep. Dan Maffei D-N.Y., for their leadership in the fight to permanently repeal the SGR formula, which is used to calculate Medicare physician pay. Reps. Flores and Maffei spearheaded a bipartisan letter urging action to eliminate the SGR and enact fiscally responsible reforms to the Medicare physician payment system.

    Truth in Healthcare Marketing
    Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. R-Ind., for working to protect the safety of eye care patients by introducing the Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act in April 2013. The Act would ensure patients have accurate information regarding the education, training and qualifications of individuals providing their care.

    Access to Compounded Drugs
    Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. R-Okla., Sen. Johnny Isakson R-Ga., Sen. Chris Murphy D-Conn., Sen. Rand Paul, M.D. R-Ky. and Rep. Morgan Griffith R-Va., for supporting patients' continued convenient access to compounded drugs. Safe, sterile compounded medications have long been essential tools available to ophthalmologists for urgent treatment of eye diseases and conditions, benefitting millions of patients.

    Paul is also recognized by the Academy for his efforts to encourage the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to work collaboratively with ophthalmology and ambulatory surgery centers regarding an appropriate facility-performance measure that advances quality outcomes.

    "These eight members of Congress have made significant contributions to ophthalmology's fight for legislation that can protect and improve eye care for millions of patients throughout the country who need and depend upon our services," said David W. Parke II, M.D., CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "We are honored to work with such remarkable and tireless lawmakers."

    Past recipients of the Academy's Visionary Award include Rep. Marsha Blackburn R-Tenn., Rep. Michael Burgess R-Texas, Rep. John Lewis D-Ga., Rep. Richard Neal D-Mass. and Sen. Debbie Stabenow D-Mich..

    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
    The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons — Eye M.D.s — with more than 32,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org to learn more.