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A bi-monthly blog detailing the latest news and perspectives from the president of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.


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President's Update: March/April 2017

Posted By Chet Seward, Friday, March 24, 2017

The raison d’etre for the existence of an organization over that of an individual is clear – to accomplish what a single person cannot by acting alone.

In the case of ophthalmology in Colorado, the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (CSEPS) is the collective voice of Colorado’s ophthalmology community. But CSEPS is part of a larger ophthalmic community nationally.

The state ophthalmology societies rely upon each other to act collectively in a number of ways. Sometimes it is to develop model legislation useful in other state capitols. At other times it is to provide mutual protection of our interests and that of our patients.

Our colleague from Colorado Springs, Ron Pelton, MD, PhD, represents our interests in the AAO State Affairs section. His letter highlights the need for each of us to do our fair share in contributing to the mutual defense of our profession, our patients, and our practices.

Please join me, and all the members of the CSEPS Board, whom are contributing to the Surgical Scope Fund. While you’re at it don’t forget about supporting advocacy efforts here in Colorado by donating to the CSEPS EYEPAC and the CSEPS Small Donor Committee. All of these funds are critical to help protect you and ophthalmology’s priorities.

Thank you kindly for contributing to the Surgical Scope Fund now, and making a positive impact for our patients and our profession. 

Alan Kimura, MD, MPH

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President's update: Jan/Feb 2017

Posted By Chet Seward, Friday, February 17, 2017
Greetings, my fellow hard-working ophthalmologists in Colorado!

It is an honor and privilege to be the next President of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. CSEPS is the only purpose-built professional organization designed to represent our profession at the state level. In turn, CSEPS is a component in the larger American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Council, where our collective voice is expressed through our CSEPS Councilor Rebecca Braverman, MD.

At this time in history, we have a new President of the United States, a new Congress, and a newly confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon, has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act, previously as a US Senator. Much uncertainty over repealing and replacing the ACA exists. But it is clear that the inherent complexity of our $3,200,000,000,000 healthcare spend is fragmented by different views of politics, economics and culture – making consensus difficult.

As the new contours of our political landscape emerge on the federal level, there is perhaps more impactful legislation to attend to at the state level. We have bulked up and are punching at a higher weight class for our size: we have a refreshed CSEPS Board with a great mix of experience and new ideas, an excellent lobbyist at the Colorado State Capitol (Chris Howes), a knowledgeable CSEPS Legislative Committee to take positions on healthcare bills, and above all a great Executive Director (Chet Seward).

I look forward to this next year, working with all of you talented, incredibly hard-working and dedicated physicians. But it is not enough to attend to our patients in clinic and the operating room. We exist as part of a larger healthcare ecosystem.
In the ensuing weeks, I’ll reveal this year’s ambitious agenda for CSEPS.

Thank you again.

Alan Kimura, MD, MPH

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President's update - Nov/Dec 2016

Posted By Chet Seward, Saturday, December 24, 2016

Over the past two years, we have sponsored our first piece of legislation in years, enjoyed many great educational programs, begun creation of an ophthalmic surgery charity network, and enhanced our relationships with other branches of medicine as well as with our colleagues in optometry. It has been a tremendous privilege to serve as CSEPS president over this time, not least because of the opportunity to interact with some of the best people in the world of ophthalmology. Our executive director, Chet Seward, is a wonderful man and a terrific asset, and our Board is filled with enormously talented and dedicated physicians, including our next president, Dr. Alan Kimura, whose national connections and experience will be invaluable for Colorado.

Among our current challenges is the new Medicare Quality Payment Program (QPP), which goes into effect next month, replacing meaningful use, PQRS and other programs. QPP uses a point system based on physician self-reporting and other data that will result in a negative, neutral, or positive payment adjustment for Medicare payments. Non-participation in QPP in 2017 will result in a 4% penalty in 2019, but fortunately this can be avoided by some basic participation (for example, one quality measure or one improvement activity for any point in 2017). If you do more then it can result in a bonus payment. For an overview of QPP, click here

There are currently four facets to QPP. 1) You can choose one or more quality measures (there are over 270 of them) and report chart audit covering at least 90 days. 2) You can attest that you have participated in four or more quality improvement activities for at least 90 days. 3) Your EHR might be able to qualify under the Advancing Care Information segment of QPP. 4) Finally, you can analyze your practice’s cost to Medicare per beneficiary to be compared against national norms. The first three appear to be much more manageable for most of us than the last one.

You don’t need to be daunted by QPP (as I was) because Medicare will pay for a consultant to come to your practice and help you get started. For Colorado, the contractor is Telligen, and the program specialist can be reached at 303-875-9131 or by email at

This will be my last official communication as CSEPS President but I would welcome your thoughts and ideas anytime. Thanks so much for your support. 

Robert Fante, MD

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President's update - Sept/Oct 2016

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 6, 2016

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”  Although life is undoubtedly better for us today than it was in the days of Charles Dickens (one of my favorites), there are certain parallels that come easily to mind.  Ophthalmology, like western society in general, has made such spectacular advances that they are difficult to grasp. DSEK, DSAEK, ICL, RLE, VEGF, MIGS, premium IOLs, and intraocular telescopes, are some of the futuristic techniques with which we are now able to save and enhance our patients’ sight.  On the other hand, the hassles of the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, MACRA, meaningful use, etc., threaten to rob us of the satisfaction and joy we would otherwise feel from our work.  And of course, the ColoradoCare Amendment (#69), if passed, would potentially change our practices substantially in many unknown ways, and would certainly add to our tax burdens.  CSEPS is dedicated to celebrating and protecting ophthalmology’s achievements while working to help you to adapt to the hassles or to fight them whenever we can.

Please consider getting involved.  Getting involved could be as simple as talking to one of our CSEPS board members about issues you’d like to have us address, or even telling us about great things you’re doing at your office so that we can share them.   Our board includes: Ron Pelton and George Ulrich in Colorado Springs; Dave Johnson, Rob Fante, Alan Kimura, Bill Richheimer, Adrienne Ruth, Leo Seibold, and Jasleen Singh in Denver; and Kent Bashford in Fort Collins.  If you are more energetic, we would welcome your direct involvement in programs ranging from upcoming collegial evenings such as the Oktoberfest CSEPS/COA Social Mixer, or educational events such as the Medicare Physician Quality Payment Program, or with our nascent statewide charitable surgery referral network Vision4Coloradoor even hosting a state legislator as an observer for a day of surgery.  If you are on the western slope, we would especially welcome and encourage you to get involved.  Feel free to call (303-839-1616) or write me.

Thank you for everything you do to help our patients and our profession!

Robert Fante, MD

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CSEPS opposes ColoradoCare

Posted By Chet Seward, Monday, August 8, 2016
Updated: Sunday, August 7, 2016

This summer heat is making me think about the cool fall and the bushel full of issues we face with the upcoming November election. Instead of adding to the confusion of the presidential race, I want to focus on a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks drastic change to Colorado’s health care system. 

ColoradoCare, also known as Amendment 69, would create a new system where every resident has health care coverage financed by taxes instead of private insurance premiums. It would replace most other health insurance in the state except for Medicare and Veterans Administration coverage. The program would be funded by big tax increases and current state and federal government support for health care programs. When fully operational a 21-person board would have sweeping powers to determine details of the benefits package, set rates for care providers, hire managers and approve annual budgets estimated at $38 billion/annually (more than the total current state budget of $25.7 billion). ColoradoCare would not be subject to oversight by any executive or legislative branch agency, and board members could not be recalled. You can learn more about the proposed amendment here and here.

Your CSEPS board of directors discussed ColoradoCare during their July meeting and unanimously voted to oppose it. Putting something this big into the inflexible state constitution and having it run by a largely unaccountable board provokes serious concerns. Besides governance issues, other key questions include what health problems would be covered, how physicians would be paid, how care delivery would change, how the system would be administered, and how Colorado’s economy would be impacted. The bottom line is that we just won’t know the answers to those questions until after the amendment passes and the yet-to-be seated board acts. That unknown is too big of a risk to foist on ophthalmologists and the Colorado patients they serve.

Since we oppose ColoradoCare, does that mean that CSEPS therefore loves everything about the current system? The answer is an unequivocal NO. We are all confronted by a litany of daily issues in dealing with today’s commercial and government payers. Clearly there are a lot of problems with the current system, but ColoradoCare is not the solution given its deeply flawed and “to be determined” nature. I encourage you to study the proposed amendment and join CSEPS in opposition to it this fall. 

Robert G. Fante, MD

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Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Like all of you, most days I feel intensely grateful for the cool job and skills I have, for the wonderful patients sent to me, for the dedicated teams in my office and the ASCs, and for my good fortune to be working in America in the 21st century.  But I probably don’t say ‘”thank you” nearly enough, especially to the teams that make it possible for me to do what I love to do. Quite simply, they help me and my practice do great things.  And although it is not as everyday obvious, I consider CSEPS part of my team too. 

CSEPS helps to fight for what’s important to me, such as the recent passage of the eye drop early refill bill, while CSEPS events and educational programming keep me connected to my peers and in the know. Over the past few years, CSEPS board member Dr. Adrienne Ruth has put together a series of blockbuster social mixers and Case Club discussion series. Continuing education events such as the visits by Dr. Ruth Williams last year, or Dr. Bob Wiggins next month are also terrific.  And although you might think that as president I would be aware of everything happening in our state (I’m not), I am particularly thankful to our politically savvy ED Chet Seward, our lobbyist Chris Howes, and ophthalmologists around the state who point me toward issues that matter to us, such as the Colorado Care initiative, a misguided attempt to create the first single-payer state health care system in the US (find information here and here). CSEPS is even building a team that will help me give back in a concrete way - Vision4Colorado (stay tuned for more information soon). Ophthalmologists in Colorado improve and preserve vision for our patients, and we work very well as a team, both at the grassroots and organized levels. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be here in Colorado with all of you, and I’m looking forward to our progress together in the years to come.

Robert G. Fante, MD

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January/February 2016 - Welcome to 2016 - another new year full of promise

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 18, 2016

CSEPS has a long and proud history of advocacy for patients and physicians to improve quality, collegiality and justice in health care. Last year, CSEPS offered a variety of programs and initiatives to help physicians cope with the changes in coding and reimbursement. Although these will continue, this year’s focus will be to find more ways than ever to improve eye care for the people of Colorado. As a big start, Rep. Beth McCann of Denver will introduce a bill later this month that will guarantee early refills for our patients on sight-sustaining ophthalmic medications if they run out early. Once this becomes law, Coloradans with glaucoma and other conditions will benefit tremendously, and your CSEPS team will have helped to make it happen.

In 2016, CSEPS will also initiate a new program, VISION 4 COLORADO, to provide free surgery for the underserved in our state. I invite all of you to get involved. Our pilot program will start in Denver and Colorado Springs, and will rely primarily on the altruism of Colorado ophthalmologists, and the goodwill of the companies that support us year-round. This new initiative will dovetail with CSEPS’ existing involvement in Von’s Vision that provides exams and glasses to underprivileged children in Colorado. All of us see indigent or uninsured patients who need eye surgery, and this program will help us provide that surgery in an equitable and organized way. You can click here to sign up to join us in giving back to our community through this program, as part of the planning team and/or as one of our surgeons. Watch for more details!

Thank you for all that you do every day to enhance the health of the people of Colorado. Feel free to contact me with any ideas, questions, or comments.

Robert Fante, MD


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September/October 2015

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 19, 2015
The season is changing and so is CSEPS.

CSEPS is working to meet the challenges of a new legislative session in Denver, as well as a new era in third party reimbursement now that ICD-10 has arrived. The CSEPS board met last month to evaluate candidates for a new lobbyist to help us with our legislative agenda at the Colorado State Capitol. There were several excellent and experienced lobbyists, and we are pleased to have engaged Chris Howes and his team. Although CSEPS is a medium sized professional medical organization, we like having a distinct and formidable voice under the golden dome. Over the coming months, CSEPS and Mr. Howes will be actively meeting with state legislators to share our vision for ocular health, and to further our preparations to introduce a bill that will help our patients avoid insurance related lapses in chronic medication usage and compliance. 

CSEPS is also focusing on the challenges we all face related to ICD-10. Even those of us in large health systems or using popular EMR systems may find it difficult to correctly code certain conditions due to the nuances and specificity of ICD-10. Many of the codes have modifiers that don’t seem to make much sense (e.g. does blepharitis actually need to be coded per eyelid?). We have collected specialty-oriented “cheat sheets” that you can access for free on the CSEPS website here. You can also obtain free help from CMS at their ICD-10 code lookup site here. Some of the new diagnosis codes seem a little absurd but I’m looking forward to being able to use W93.D:V91.07XD (burn due to water-skis on fire) even though I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

CSEPS welcomes your suggestions and involvement in our state society. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Chet Seward with your ideas.

Robert G. Fante, MD

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January/February 2015

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 9, 2015

These are frightening times for physicians.  We are besieged by marketplace changes that often make the practice of medicine more difficult and less rewarding.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance industry initiatives, and electronic medical records threaten to undermine the joy and nobility in patient care.

Like most all of you, I love what I do.  Yet, I am a little discouraged by the challenges that face us and I’m uncertain of what I should be doing to meet them.  Traditional continuing medical education makes me a better clinician, but I am often frustrated in a maze of financial, staffing, insurance, and “meaningful use” issues without a sense of where to turn for helpful resources.

Our recent survey of CSEPS members indicated that most of us want help with these issues, and we are working to make 2015 the year in which CSEPS offers that help.  Once again we will co-sponsor CodeQuest to help us with coding and ICD-10.  We are working with the AAO and AAOE to bring practice management tools to Colorado, and are also actively looking for other resources to help all of us with meaningful use and successful compliance with the other government programs we face.

We will also continue to make sure we have your back in the Colorado legislature, provide local medical education, and offer opportunities for friendly interaction with your peers.  We are looking for new ways to give back to our communities.  Your board of directors is always looking for new ideas and your input is very welcome.  Feel free to call me anytime (cell 303-903-7075) or send an email ( with any ideas, suggestions, complaints, or compliments.  We are stronger together and I invite you to take an active role in our society.

Robert G. Fante, MD

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November/December 2014

Posted By Kate Alfano, Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mission of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons:

This is the end of my two-year term as president of CSEPS. I did my best to lead the governing board and the organization and define CSEPS along the lines of our mission statement:

  • Promote excellence in patient care
  • Foster professional fellowship and continuing medical education
  • Be a strong advocate for patients and the physicians who serve them.

Together we enhanced the organization's identity and purpose. And we worked hard to include every ophthalmologist in the state to address expressed needs.

SPECIFICS. This is a summary of what was done over the past two years:

  • We drafted 11 newsletters
  • We established CSEPS Ski club. We held four designated ski day get-togethers at Breckenridge
  • We co-sponsored two comprehensive CME meetings with the University of Colorado
  • We weighed in on multiple legislative issues
  • We responded to more than 100 email communications from our lobbyist Dick Brown
  • We grew membership to a decade-high record of 154 members
  • We established regional representation to include more people and to help make the organization vibrant and present throughout Colorado.
  • We established new positions in the organization
    • Outgoing president as membership leader
    • Prior presidents with additional service leaving board - Senior Ambassadors
  • We developed a comprehensive website that can be utilized by members
  • We held four regional mixers with optometry, two for just ophthalmologists and one for young ophthalmologists
  • We held five educational dinners with speakers
  • We nominated and are sponsoring board member Leo Siebold, MD, in the AAO leadership development program
  • We assigned board member Alan Kimura, MD, MPH, as our councilor to the AAO board of councilors
  • We participated with AAO in multiple state initiatives including their combined dues mailer pilot and received generous funding from them for our membership recruitment/retention campaign called TARGET.


We conducted a statewide survey including members and non-member fellow ophthalmologists to identify the key issues Colorado ophthalmologists are concerned about to help us chart a course going forward. Our members identified the business of medicine as the desired focus of our organization. We will try to structure our programs and events to address this concern.

There are some things we committed to do but have not yet succeeded in implementing them. There is momentum and they are likely to be accomplished very soon:

  • Establish a glaucoma treatment project at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Stout Street Clinic. This has not yet come to fruition, but we are credentialed and standing by ready when Stout Street Clinic administrators complete their part of the project.
  • Strengthen our presence and leadership in northern Colorado and the western slope.

Events coming up: CODEQuest - On March 21 we will hold a comprehensive, ophthalmology-focused ICD-10 training. Don't miss it.

We are currently over 150 members but we still want to grow our membership:

    My departure plans and desires:
  • As past president I will assist over the next year with promoting CSEPS and with growing our membership
  • I am particularly interested in leadership in academics and research. I hope to work out such an opportunity
  • In my final year of board membership I will keep helping CSEPS with the big picture and with organization
  • I plan to participate in the development and implementation of Dr. Siebold’s AAO leadership project
  • I want to help bring the Stout Street Glaucoma laser project to fruition

I consider it an honor to have been selected to serve as president of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. I tried to live up to the trust you placed in me. I can say that I put a significant amount of energy into it and I did my best.

Happy trails to you!

George G. Ulrich, MD

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