• Nation’s Eye Physicians and Surgeons Prepare for Transition to New Medicare Physician Payment System

    Ophthalmologists and practice management staff have multiple learning opportunities at AAO 2016

    CHICAGO — The American Academy of Ophthalmology is preparing the nation’s eye physicians and surgeons to successfully navigate the transition to Medicare’s forthcoming physician payment system at AAO 2016, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 120th annual meeting. Academy leaders will provide across several sessions a comprehensive understanding of how the policy will impact eye care. The world's largest showcase for vision research and innovation will be held on Oct. 14-18 at McCormick Place in Chicago.  

    Today’s release by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the final configuration of its new Medicare physician payment system formalizes a shift away from a volume-based reimbursement system to one that accounts for the value of care. The new system consolidates existing federal reporting programs into a single program, evaluating physicians on quality reporting, resource use, clinical practice-improvement activities and electronic health record-usage. 

    Because of the large number of eye care patients enrolled in the Medicare program, the new system’s impact on ophthalmology is substantial. 

    Attendees in Chicago for AAO 2016 have a timely and unmatched opportunity to participate in the most comprehensive live programming and resources created specifically for the ophthalmology profession on Medicare’s new physician payment system. Policy, coding, compliance and practice management experts will lead several presentations explaining the various Academy tools and resources member ophthalmologists and their practice management staff have at their disposal to ensure a successful transition to the system, known as the Quality Payment Program. 

    “The system unveiled today represents a real improvement over what was proposed earlier this year,” said William L. Rich, III, MD, president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Because of these changes, the vast majority of ophthalmologists should avoid penalties in 2017, and those participating in the Academy’s IRIS® Registry are well-positioned to potentially earn a bonus.”

    “Our goal is to make this program work for our profession and the first step is assisting every American ophthalmologist as they seek to understand this complex, likely frustrating transition,” said David W. Parke, II, MD, CEO for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The system, like all new programs, is a work in progress, but the Academy is committed to help facilitate its improvement.  We will prepare our members, and share our experience with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure quality patient care remains at the heart of this policy.”

    During AAO 2016, the Academy will pair the organization’s physician leaders with renowned health policy experts to facilitate ophthalmology’s understanding of the new system.

    Events include:

    Friday, Oct. 14
    MACRA and the Future of Physician Payment
    10:50 a.m., during Section III of the Retina Subspecialty Day meeting, North Hall B

    Sunday, Oct. 16
    Physician Payment under MACRA: Choices for Ophthalmologists
    8:30 to 10 a.m., during the AAO 2016 Opening Session, North Hall B

    AAOE General Session: The Power of Mistakes
    10 a.m. to Noon, McCormick Place, Room S406B
    Sponsored by Regeneron.

    Medicare Forum
    12:15 to 1:45 p.m., McCormick Place Grand Ballroom S100C
    Meaningful Use EHR Incentives? Ask Us!
    3:15 to 4:15 p.m., McCormick Place Room S504A 

    Value-Based Reimbursement and Quality Improvement in Your Practice
    4:30 to 5:30 p.m., McCormick Place, Room S502AB 

    Monday, Oct. 17
    MACRA: Overview and Update
    10:15 to 11:15 a.m., McCormick Place, Room S503AB

    How the IRIS® Registry Helps You Participate in MIPS
    4:30 to 5:30 p.m., McCormick Place Room S501ABCD

    Tuesday, Oct. 18
    Meaningful Use FAQs
    9-10 a.m., Room S504BC

    The Academy is engaging in a comprehensive effort to educate members of its U.S. community of ophthalmologists on the impending change to the way Medicare reimburses physicians for the services they provide.

    In addition to AAO 2016’s live-learning experiences, Academy members and practice management staff have access to a host of resources, including:

    • A dedicated webpage, aao.org/medicare, to serve as a one-stop-shop for education, practice management and advocacy materials;
    • A video presentation providing an in-depth understanding of the policy’s many components;
    • The latest analysis of the policy, wrought from the Academy’s physician leaders and health care policy experts, with special attention to the impacts to ophthalmology; and
    • The Academy’s IRIS® Registry, ophthalmology’s clinical data registry, which helps participants meet federal quality reporting requirements while earning bonus points in the program.

    The Academy will develop additional resources in the coming weeks to support ophthalmology’s transition to the new payment system in early 2017. Future materials based on today’s policy announcement will include live and recorded webinars and practice management resources for ophthalmic administrative professionals.

    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit www.aao.org.