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President's update: May/June 2018

Posted By Chet Seward, Friday, June 8, 2018

Colorado ophthalmologists went to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C at the AAO Congressional Advocacy Day last month. Joined by over 400 colleagues from every state, we met with our nations legislators and staff to advocate for our profession and our patients. 

The five principal agenda items this year were:

  • Maintain access to compounded and repackaged drugs – particularly for intravitreal injections
  • Simplify Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
  • Support the VA’s Technology-based Eye Care Services (TECS Program)
  • Secure regulatory relief from over-burdensome prior authorization requirements
  • Support funding increases for the NIH/NEI and the DOD’s Vision Research
Colorado Advocacy Ambassadors Drs. Erin Sleck, Michael Wildes and Cullen Ryburn.

It is always a point of pride to witness our consistently strong delegation from Colorado at this crucial event.  In addition to practicing CSEPS members, this year we were accompanied by three residents from the University of Colorado to serve in the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador program. This innovative program is designed to educate and motivate our young ophthalmologists on the vital importance of advocacy for our profession.  These young doctors are often the most convincing voice in legislative meetings. As a product of CSEPS mentorship and this program myself, I firmly believe we must continue to cultivate this upcoming generation as our future leaders.

For those unable to make it to D.C this year, we were extremely fortunate to have AAO president Keith Carter, MD, visit our great state just a couple weeks ago.  He provided CSEPS members in attendance with an extremely informative briefing on the Academy’s agenda items in 2018.  Some key tasks included building “big data” through the IRIS registry and utilizing its power to improve clinical outcomes and fulfill billing requirements, online education revamps/updates, preparing for a shift in reimbursement methods, and grappling with scope of practice issues not only for optometry, but physician extenders such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants as well.  

Dr. Carter also provided an in-depth review of surgical scope victories and defeats throughout the nation in years past as well as ongoing and proposed future battles. Fortunately, in Colorado, we have enjoyed good relations with our optometry colleagues with no major scope battles in recent years.  These battles can be extremely challenging and costly to defend patient safety and maintain surgery by surgeons.  I encourage you all to contribute to the Surgical Scope Fund, which provides targeted support to these battleground states every year.  Furthermore, consider contributing to OPHTHPAC and our state EYEPAC, which provides support to physicians and political candidates who support ophthalmology’s interests on the national and state level, respectively.

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