North Carolina physician vows to support and guide members through workforce and reimbursement challenges
SAN FRANCISCO – Robert E. Wiggins Jr., MD, MHA, this week begins his one-year term as the 126th president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. A long-time leader in the ophthalmic community, Dr. Wiggins specializes in pediatric and neuro-ophthalmology and serves as physician administrator for Asheville Eye Associates in North Carolina. He was elected to leadership by the Academy’s community of 32,000 ophthalmologists.
“Medicine is a constantly developing industry and this year is no different. Ophthalmologists are facing reimbursement declines, staffing shortages, and changing demographics of eye care delivery,” Dr. Wiggins said. “The Academy will continue to keep our members informed and supported so that we can continue our mission to protect sight and empower lives. I am optimistic and excited to join the rest of the leadership team in providing the best foundation we can for all ophthalmologists.”
Dr. Wiggins is keenly aware of the challenges the ever-changing healthcare industry poses to both physicians and their patients. When his practice was acquired in the 1990s and then repurchased, he returned to school and obtained a master’s degree in health care administration. Under his management, Asheville Eye Associates has grown to include physicians across the spectrum of ophthalmologic subspecialties, optometrists, an optical dispensary, an ambulatory surgery center and multiple practice locations.
Dr. Wiggins says he will leverage his management skills as he addresses his top priorities this year: keeping members informed of new industry trends and governmental regulations, advocating for fair physician reimbursement, supporting members through staffing shortages and changes in the health care system, and furthering the Academy’s mission to protect sight and empower lives.
Dr. Wiggins is a prominent member of the ophthalmology community, including previous leadership positions in the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives® (AAOE®), the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) and Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Co. (OMIC).
Dr. Wiggins earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and completed his residency at Duke University.
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 aao.org.