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SlitLamp provides illuminating e-news for Colorado ophthalmologists. It keeps you in the know on the evolving Colorado health care scene by detailing the latest legislative and regulatory happenings. It also spotlights the information and resources you need for your practice.

 

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EYEPAC endorsements: 2018

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, October 9, 2018

EYEPAC, the CSEPS political action committee, has endorsed 30 candidates for the 2018 state general election in November. The election this fall will be momentous with especially tight races in the Colorado Senate where the Republicans are trying to hold their one seat majority. 

EYEPAC is purposely non-partisan, endorsing candidates on both sides of the aisle. The endorsement process considers a number of factors including whether the candidate is a friendly incumbent, likelihood of winning, and positions on eye physician priorities. Key priorities for the coming year include:

  • Patient access - Supporting efforts to ensure access to quality, cost-effective eye care;
  • Scope of practice - 
    Opposing inappropriate scope of practice expansion by other providers to protect the vision and safety of Coloradans;
    Surgery should be only done by surgeons;
  • Stable practice environment - 
    Maintaining a steady medical liability climate by preserving or lowering the current caps on noneconomic damages; 
    Opposing other efforts that would destabilize current systems and threaten patient safety;
    Preserving the strict confidentiality and other protections of the Colorado Professional Review Act to ensure patient safety;
  • Barriers to care - Eliminating health plans administrative barriers, like prior authorization, that decrease access to care and waste provider resources.

EYEPAC encourages Colorado ophthalmologists to vote and consider these candidates. Curious about who your legislator is? Find out here.

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CSEPS/COA social mixer: 11/13/2018

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Celebrate fall and professional relationships with the Colorado Society of 

Eye Physicians and Surgeons and the Colorado Optometric Association on Tuesday, October 13 from 5:30-7:00 pm. The event will be hosted at Death & Co., in the thriving RiNO neighborhood in Denver. This is your chance to unwind and reconnect with old and new ophthalmology and optometry friends at a no-agenda social mixer. Whether you want to talk shop with other eye care providers or savor an exquisite cocktail over an enjoyable conversation, this event is one you won't want to miss. Death & Co. is the perfect location. Don't take our word for it, here's what Death & Co says;

"It was thought that to drink alcohol was to live a life shadowed by death; that those who drank were keeping company with death. It's taken us nearly a century to restore flavor to the drink and class to the specialty cocktail. In our time, a night to celebrate life's simple pleasures with fine wine, exquisitely crafted cocktails, beautifully prepared food, and impeccable sipping spirits is a rare gift."

We couldn't agree more. Registration is free for all Colorado ophthalmologists and optometrists. Sign up now.

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Executive Director's Update: Relationships

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, October 9, 2018
As I write this article ballots for the 2018 general election will be mailed in just a few weeks. This year’s election will be another big one for Colorado, not only because a new governor will have a new take on health care priorities, but also because of a number of razor tight races for control of the state senate where Republicans currently have a one-seat majority. Things don’t appear to be as close in the House where Democrats have a larger numbers lead, but you never know. As the campaign season heats up, CSEPS has been busy working to ensure your priorities are understood and supported no matter who is in power.

We have endorsed 30 candidates on both sides of the aisle and the past few months have been spent meeting with them one-on-one to share our priorities and to build relationships. Invariably, these candidates have some connection to ophthalmology given a personal condition or a surgery for a family member or close friend. Their stories provide opportunities to emphasize the importance of surgery only being done by surgeons and other priority issues. Often CSEPS physician members attend and the impact is profound. I remember the time a few weeks ago when Richard Kelmenson, MD, succinctly explained to his soon-to-be new state senator the importance of peer review and the impact that removing peer review protections (as the trial lawyers want to try to do next year) would have on patient safety and the stable liability climate in Colorado. These brief yet powerful connections help to cement relationships so that when the tough votes come at the legislature, your legislators know what to do or at the very least who to call for input on eyecare issues. Don’t forget to vote!

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Call for nominations

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, October 9, 2018
CSEPS is seeking nominations for president-elect. The term for this position is calendar year 2019. The position will assume the presidency in 2020.

Help lead CSEPS and Colorado ophthalmology into the future. Submit your nominations or self-nominations to cseps@cms.org by November 15. A member-wide election will be held later this year. Contact CSEPS Executive Director Chet Seward if you have any questions.

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CSEPS joins AAO in push for prior auth relief

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Health plan administrative hassles, specifically prior authorization, are one of the leading practice pain points for ophthalmologists and other physicians. Problems with prior authorization can be particularly acute with Medicare Advantage health plans. 

Working closely with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), CSEPS recently sent letters to the Colorado congressional delegation asking that they sign onto a letter authored by Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Ami Bera (D-CA). The Roe-Bera letter is being sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to direct Medicare Advantage plans to increase transparency, streamline the prior authorization process and minimize impacts on patients. Review the letter here.

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Executive Director's Update: How's That VUCA?

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Chet Seward,
Executive director

I love words. They have the power to spark ideas and tap into our innate desire as humans to connect, be understood and grow as part of something bigger than ourselves. That love includes a respect for acronyms. Luckily, health care is a rich environment for acronym appreciation. I came across a string of capital letters the other day that got me thinking about the current state of things and what it means to you as a member of CSEPS. 

The acronym is VUCA. No, it isn’t short for the latest, cutting-edge retinal laser or a trendy, hipster-tequila cocktail. VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. In the late 1980s the US Army War College helped to raise VUCA’s popularity as military leaders sought to make sense of the post-Cold War world. On many levels VUCA seems to summarize the health care system today. Whether it is the continual stream of practice-paralyzing policy changes by public and private payers, constant threats to viability given changing payment formulas, demands for greater price and quality transparency, time constraints, or lurking specters of liability lawsuits, it is a VUCA world out there. 

There are also a lot of good things out there. Friends, family and a dynamic ophthalmology community can help make the difference. So can CSEPS. As a member you already know that we give you the information you need to help make sense of health care VUCA. When things are in flux, we fight for your priorities at the state capitol and beyond. We also offer opportunities to connect with colleagues and continue to grow the Colorado ophthalmology community. Change is ever-present. CSEPS is a constant for you and your patients.

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Legislator House Call

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

From left, Dean Carlson, MD, Rep. Larry Liston and Ron Pelton, MD, PhD

State legislators work through hundreds of bills, covering thousands of topics each legislative session. Sometimes it can be hard to prioritize key issues. For several years CSEPS members have helped legislators understand the importance of surgery only being done by surgeons by offering the chance to witness a surgery. In July, Rep. Larry Liston from district 16 in El Paso, spent some time with Ron Pelton, MD, PhD, and Dean Carlson, MD, to get an up close look at the intensity, intricacy and complexity of eye surgery. The visit was illuminating. 

CSEPS is grateful to Rep. Liston for his time and legislative leadership. A big thank you also goes out to Drs. Pelton and Carlson, along with their clinical teams, for hosting Rep. Liston. If you would like to connect with your legislator and share a little day-in-the-life of an eye surgeon, then please contact Chet in the CSEPS offices to coordinate.

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Summer Social Success

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Thank you for all those that turned out for the CSEPS summer social at Topgolf on July 19. Topgolf provided a perfect setting to enjoy good food and drink, catch up with friends, share a few stories, and enjoy hearty laughter at some good and some bad golf shots. CSEPS offers up these types of events throughout the year, so take advantage of our next social event to break away from the grind.


CSEPS President Leo Seibold, MD, fires up a shot. From left, Chet Seward, Leo Seibold, MD, Jesse Smith, MD, Marc Mathias, MD, and Michael Taravella, MD, are all smiles at Topgolf.

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AAO action request: Document postoperative visits

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, August 14, 2018
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) encourages all ophthalmologists to document postoperative visits each time with CPT code 99024. This is a crucial step to the valuation of ophthalmic surgical codes.

Background
A year ago, AAO worked together to alert ophthalmologists about required postoperative data under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. In the 2019 proposed Physician Fee Schedule rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided AAO with some interim results of that effort but reminded AAO that the data collection continues. The good news is that CMS has not proposed to implement any payment changes for January 1, 2019 based on the data collected so far giving us a chance to improve responses.
As you recall, the 2015 law barred the CMS from eliminating 10- and 90-day global surgical payments, which the agency deemed misvalued due to studies that showed that some surgeons were not providing the "built in" postoperative visits. Instead, the law authorized CMS to collect data on such services to review the valuation of surgical services from a representative sample of physicians. That is why it is essential that you document these postoperative visits as data collection continues. 

Initial data collection outcomes
Ophthalmology's overall participation rate was significantly higher than the very low 45% average during the first six months of data collection, but some providers are not documenting even a single postoperative visit. Having the best possible estimate of the number of postoperative visits is crucial to support the valuation of our surgical codes. Please document these postoperative visits each time with CPT code 99024.

Tags:  practice management 

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Colorado EyeMDs Take to D.C.

Posted By Chet Seward, Friday, June 8, 2018


A contingent of Colorado ophthalmology leaders recently trekked to the nation's capitol to advocate for pressing priorities, while championing the importance of quality, safe eye care. The group met with members of the Colorado Congressional delegation as part of hill visits coordinated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology during the Mid-year Forum. 

CSEPS thanks the following physician leaders that took time away from their practices and their personal lives to make the trip and make a stand for Colorado ophthalmology: Drs. Rebecca Braverman, Robert Fante, David Johnson, Ron Pelton, Cullen Ryburn, Leonard Seibold, Erin Seick, Prem Subramanian and Michael Wildes. 

Check out  more photos  from the trip.

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