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President's update
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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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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 (drfante@me.com) 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.

IMPORTANT FOR FUTURE DIRECTION:

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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September/October 2014

Posted By Kate Alfano, Monday, October 27, 2014
Mission of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons:
  • Promote excellence in patient care
  • Foster professional fellowship and continuing medical education
  • Be a strong advocate for patients and the physicians who serve them.
Things going on right now: Drive to fund our PAC
  • Whether you are politically oriented or not, politics is part of the process at the heart of health care because the Colorado legislature has an impact on the future of medicine and on our specialty. After some concerted work by some of your engaged and concerned colleagues we set up a political action committee, EYEPAC, and a small donor committee. We want all our colleagues, even those who are not politically minded, to be a part of the on-going effort to maintain the standing of our profession. We benefit from having the ear of our state legislators and money in these funds goes to support legislators who support ophthalmology priorities. A contribution to the PAC is money well spent. The reality is that money and campaign support does help with access, and that’s why we need your contributions. Please give today. Click here for more details.
  • Apart from money, I've made an effort as your president to make our legislators aware of who we are and what we do for the quality of life of our fellow Coloradans. That has included having legislators visit surgery centers to get an up-close view of what we do every day to see that we are professional, service-minded and cost-effective. If you would like to host a legislator at your practice, then please contact CSEPS staff.
Things accomplished:
  • Further development and implementation of the new CSEPS website – click HERE to see it! We have made efforts to determine the needs and desires of members of our society and to construct the site to address those needs and desires. This is really a good and useful site! We are committed to continually make it better by responding to your input. Use the website to find out what is happening in our profession in Colorado and to express your concerns and opinions about where our state ophthalmology society should direct its efforts.
  • Speaking of directing our efforts, I know you received our membership survey. Please take a moment to complete it either online or mail back the paper copy you received. We are listening. Tell us how CSEPS can support you!
  • We held a dinner meeting in Denver with Dr. Ruth Williams, former president of the AAO. She discussed the future of ophthalmology practice in the US and the need to stay abreast of opportunities to collaborate with hospital and other large health care organizations in our communities.
Things coming up:
  • Professional Fellowship – Our young ophthalmologists mixer is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Breckenridge Brewery Colorado Craft. Click here for details. We are also working on details to hold two more local educational meetings in Colorado Springs in late October/early November and in Fort Collins in November. Watch for details.
We are members. If you’re not one, then please consider joining. We want to grow our membership:
  • We fight for our priorities in the state legislature. All of our funding for advocacy comes from membership dues.
  • There are numerous critical issues that come up when the state legislature is in session. We attend to the issues and express opinions in the best interest of our profession and the patients we serve.
  • Organization and numbers gives us credibility and influence.
  • The more members we have, and the stronger our organization - the more effective we are in promoting our profession.
If you are not a member, please join, participate and contribute. Click here to join. If you prefer to support the organization and mission without joining you can make a donation; click here. If you are a member -- talk to non-member ophthalmologists you know about the importance of joining. Have them contact our executive, Chet Seward.

George G. Ulrich, MD

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July/August 2014

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Mission of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons:
GeorgeUlrich
George Ulrich, MD
  • Promote excellence in patient care
  • Foster professional fellowship and continuing medical education
  • Be a strong advocate for patients and the physicians who serve them.

Things going on right now:

  • State legislature out of session – It was another busy session with some important victories for ophthalmologists. We have created a great compendium that analyzes the bills you need to know about. Read more about it in the legislative update below. Click here to view the compendium. 
  • Medicare public release of physician data – The feds released the biggest chunk of Medicare date in decades and CSEPS was on the front lines helping the local media to make sense out of all of this information. We emphasized the “raw” nature of this information including the fact that ophthalmology practices have very high administrative costs and while it may look like reimbursement for incredibly expensive intraocular drugs goes to physicians the fact is that the lion’s share goes to pharmaceutical companies. 
  • Professional fellowship – We held another successful social mixer with the Colorado Optometric Association and we have some great educational programs scheduled in Denver and Colorado Springs in the coming months.
  • New web site – Have you checked out the new web site? It has lots of new services (classified ads and career center) for members, in addition to enhanced interactivity so that we can stay connected with you. Log in today!

Things coming up:

  • Education events – August in Denver and late September in Colorado Springs. Check the web site for details. 
  • 18th Annual Ophthalmology Symposium – We are proud to once again co-sponsor this great event scheduled for 9/12-9/13. Click here for details.

Membership continues to be a priority. Are you with us?
The more members we have, and the stronger our organization - the more effective we are in promoting our profession. If you are not a member, please join, participate and contribute. Clickhere to join. If you prefer to support the organization and mission without joining you can make a donation. Click here for details. If you are a member - talk to non-member ophthalmologists you know about the importance of joining. Have them contact our executive Chet Seward. 

 

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