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News & Press: Newsletter Archive

March-April 2014 Newsletter

Saturday, March 1, 2014  
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CSEPS March/April 2014 Newsletter
E-News for Colorado Ophthalmologists                                                                             March/April 2014
In This Issue
Renew your CSEPS membership

Together we are stronger and that's why we need you to renew your CSEPS membership. You should have already received your dues bill via mail. Please send it in today. Standing together we can provide a more powerful front to ensure excellence in eye care. Questions? Contact Chet in the CSEPS offices.

2014 Denver Sjögren's Walkabout: June 14

The Sjögren's Walkabout is a national awareness and fundraising event for the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation (SSF) that takes place in cities across the United States. It focuses on providing awareness and education of Sjögren's while helping to raise money to support the research and awareness efforts of the SSF.

The Denver Walkabout will be held Saturday, June 14 at the Denver Zoo. In its 11th year in Denver, this event has brought together hundreds of patients, family, friends, colleagues, health care professionals, and local partners from throughout the area.

Click here for more information.

Register for OMIC risk management seminar on March 18, 2014

Register now to to attend an March 18 evening seminar with experts from the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company (OMIC) as they provide you with the latest tips and strategies to ensure that you are providing the best care possible for your patients, while avoiding malpractice lawsuits. The Denver event features 1 hour of CME, fine French food, and it qualifies OMIC insureds who are CSEPS members to a 10% medical malpractice premium discount. Did we mention that it's free? Get more information and register here.

CSEPS Connect
Attorney General Suthers details background on ACA

CSEPS Connect, your education and social engagement initiative, kicked off 2014 with a bang thanks to a fascinating presentation by Colorado Attorney General John

Attorney General Suthers

Suthers on the build up, passage and ultimate approval of the Affordable Care Act by the Supreme Court. The event offered CSEPS members an intimate opportunity to hear from the state's top law enforcement officer. Don't miss your chance to meet with the Colorado's thought leaders at the next CSEPS Connect event. Watch your email for details. 

CMS tool assists ambulatory surgery centers in reporting new cataract quality measure

A tool and guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is intended to help ambulatory surgery centers collect data for the new cataract quality reporting measure. Reporting on the measure, ASC 11 - Cataracts, is to begin April 1. The measure's specifications can be found on pages 23 and 27 of the updated ASC Quality Measures Specification Manual.

Meaningful Use deadline extended to March 31

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is giving eligible professionals an extra month to attest to meaningful use of an electronic health record system for the 2013 Medicare EHR Incentive Program. The new deadline is March 31. This extension will allow more time for providers to submit their meaningful use data and receive an incentive payment for 2013, as well as avoid the 2015 payment adjustment for failure to report.

Eligible professionals may use CMS' online registration and attestation system to submit attestation. The Academy urges members to take advantage of this extra time to ensure that they can successfully attest to achieve the incentive and avoid the penalty. Resources are available to assist members on the AOA's EHR Central website.

Volunteer eye docs needed for homeless clinic

Stout Street Eye Clinic for the Homeless is in need of volunteer eye doctors. The clinic treats mainly patients with a high degree of pathology, providing basic eye exams and referrals along with eyeglass repairs and adjustments. The average eye doctor volunteers once a month for a half day. Treating homeless patients is very rewarding and changes lives.

Interested physicians can email Carol Jenkins, RN, or call her at (303) 829-9882. Click here for more information about the clinic.

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Each year, 300,000 Americans visit the emergency room to treat a workplace eye injury. A significant portion of eye injuries occur in manufacturing, construction and mining, industries which are experiencing recent job growth.

EyeSmart provides the following tips to avoid eye injuries at work:

  • Wear protective eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury such as anywhere there may be flying debris, falling objects, chemicals and intense light and heat.
  • Make sure your eye protection is American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved, OSHA compliant, and is appropriate for the hazards in your workplace.

To learn more about workplace eye wellness, encourage your patients to visit the AAO's public education website at

President's update
Mission of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons:
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 in session - Thus far we have fought to stave off a number of onerous bills including a driver's license bill that would have imposed civil and criminal penalties on physicians for failure to report conditions that may compromise a patient's ability to drive. We also carefully considered a bill that continues optometry's ability to prescribe hydrocodone combination drugs. There is a lot more session left and we remain actively engaged on a number of fronts to protect you.
  • Medicaid rate increase for ophthalmologists - Did you know that Medicaid is the second largest payer in the state 
    Come join us for ski club!
    and may be on way to be the first? We submitted a response to a proposed set of payment reforms within Medicaid including an increase in rates for specific eye codes (review it here). The legislature is evaluating this proposal and will pass a budget soon that will hopefully include those increases.
  • Professional fellowship - Ski club has been an under-appreciated benefit lately. These outings are a great way to unwind and catch up with colleagues. Make plans to attend the next one!
  • Fellowship dinner in Denver with Attorney General John Suthers - He presented the AG's legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act and related the story of the Supreme Court deliberation and action. 
Things coming up: 
  • Education events - ICD-10 is coming and we know that it is critical to prepare. That's why we are holding CODEquest, the most trusted name in ophthalmic coding education, on April 26 this year. Register today
  • We are partnering with our friends at OMIC to hold a risk management seminar on March 18 in Denver (register here) and plans are being set for our next CSEPS Connect educational events in Fort Collins in late March/early April and in Denver in May. Stay tuned for details.
  • We are working on a social mixer in Colorado Springs in April. Watch your email and check the CSEPS website for details.
  • More skiing. The next one is Saturday, April 12 at Breckenridge. RSVP here. Meet at noon at the Peak Nine Restaurant located at the top of Peak 9. Bring a lunch, or you can buy lunch there. It is informal. We will ride the lifts together and ski.
  • We are going to completely overhaul and upgrade our website in the coming months to provide you with exciting new member benefits and better ways to connect with us and each other.

We want to grow our membership:

  1. We fight for our priorities in the state legislature. All of our funding for advocacy comes from membership dues.
  2. There are numerous critical issues in implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We must take part of the conversation and advocate policies and laws that serve our patients well.
  3. Organization and numbers give us credibility and influence.
  4. 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 for an online application. If you prefer to support the organization and mission without joining you can send a check to CSEPS c/o Chet Seward, 7351 E. Lowry Blvd, Denver, CO 80230. If you are a member - talk to non-member ophthalmologists you know about the importance of joining. Have them contact our executive Chet Seward at 303-810-8689.

2014 legislative session: Midway mark
Dick Brown
by Dick Brown, CSEPS lobbyist

Saturday, March 8 marks the halfway point of the 120-calendar day session. Both houses are completing work on their bills and sending them on to the next house.   

The bill we have been most interested in is HB14-1099, the optometry bill that allows for continued prescription of hydrocodone combination drugs in expectation of a federal reclassification of hydrocodone from schedule III to schedule II. Optometrists have been authorized to prescribe hydrocodone combination drugs for 18 years. Even with the increased sensitivity to prescription medication abuse, there have been no reports that optometrists were contributing to any abuse of hydrocodone combination drugs given the historically limited amount of prescribing of these combination drugs. Your CSEPS board of directors and public affairs committee had long deliberations on the bill and ultimately decided not to oppose it. The bill was passed nearly unanimously by both the house and the senate and is on the way to the governor. He has 10 days to sign it, veto it or let it become law without his signature. A veto is highly unlikely.


We are working a number of other bills, including provisions within the planned state budget that would increase reimbursement rates for certain eye codes within Medicaid. We will be carefully monitoring an expected slew of late bills. Check out the latest status on the bills we are working by clicking here.


The 2014 election year just keeps getting more interesting. Federal races recently got upended when Congressman Cory Gardner (R-4th District) announced his candidacy for the US Senate to challenge incumbent US Senator Mark Udall (D). Udall had been coasting against a field of weak Republican candidates, and two of them (Ken Buck and Amy Stephens) both dropped out and threw their support to Gardner. Others have not dropped out, but their campaigns will slowly wither on the vine as money, support and interest simply dries up. Buck immediately announced his candidacy for Gardner's open Congressional seat. The Governor's race also underwent its own shock early this week as former Congressman Bob Beauprez (R) threw his hat into the ring. Beauprez gave up a safe Republican Congressional seat eight years ago to run against Bill Ritter and lost. Hickenlooper's polling numbers are not stellar. Beauprez will have strength in Jefferson and Arapahoe counties whereas Hickenlooper was doing better there than his Republican rivals. We will be closely watching and working these and other races as we can in the coming months. Stay tuned. 
Action alert: Physician involvement needed to advance SGR repeal

The Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons is supporting the efforts of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, along with the American Medical Association, American College of Surgeons and others, in amplifying lobbying efforts to drive Congress to action on Medicare physician pay reforms. We are pressing Congress to pass pending legislation that would stop the scheduled 24 percent cut in physician pay on March 31, caused by the sustainable growth rate formula.

We are all asking our members to join a nationwide campaign to lobby Congress to make repeal of the SGR formula a top priority. Its repeal is NOT a priority in the U.S. House over the next six weeks, according to Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., despite the fact that the pending legislation has bicameral, bipartisan support. Medicine wants Congress to know that timing is crucial as physicians cannot withstand the impending SGR cut and are frustrated at the possibility of the "SGR can" being kicked down the road-once again. Members must get involved today to ensure lawmakers get the message.

Click here to write to your representatives and senators using AAO tools. Or click here to send an e-mail through AMA's Fix Medicare Now website. You can also call lawmakers through the AMA's Physicians Grassroots Network hotline at (800) 833-6354.

Prepare for ICD-10 in just four hours at CODEquest 2014

The biggest change to health care coding in more than 30 years - ICD-10-CM - goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2014. Worried? Don't be. CSEPS and the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives (AAOE), present CODEquest 2014: Conquering ICD-10-CM in the Denver Tech Center on Saturday, April 26. Register now by clicking here.

CODEquest 2014 is a four hour state- and ophthalmology-specific coding seminar that teaches ophthalmologists, practice managers and administrators, biller and coders everything they need to know to:

  • Prepare for ICD-10
  • Ensure every procedure is reimbursed at the highest allowable level
  • Confidently respond to or successfully appeal every audit
  • Increase compliance and improve patient care by correctly documenting diagnosis and treatment
  • Enhance employment skills and qualifications
  • Reinforce key tactics for avoiding penalties and increasing the bottom line

Developed by AAOE, the practice management division of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the nation's leader in ophthalmic education, CODEquest offers the most accurate and reliable coding information in our field. CODEquest's experienced instructors will show you how to attack every code and solve any coding conundrum in a systematic, logical way. They'll simplify the new ICD-10 rules, show you how ICD-10 works through real-life case studies and clarify staff roles and responsibilities for a smooth ICD-10 transition.

CODEquest holds the key to conquering ICD-10. If you and your team want to code effectively and efficiently, look no further than CODEquest, the premier coding seminar in ophthalmology. Register today.

Preliminary review of certain ophthalmic codes set for April

The American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee is targeting several eye codes as being potentially misvalued. The committee is reviewing surgical codes with a high number of post-operative visits. Four ophthalmic codes with 90-day global periods will be discussed at the RUC's April meeting:

  • CPT 65780: amniotic membrane transplantation, multiple layers
  • CPT 66170: trabeculectomy
  • CPT 66172: trabeculectomy with scarring from previous surgery
  • CPT 67113: complex retinal detachment

In addition, five ophthalmic codes with 10-day global periods will be considered:

  • CPT 65855: trabeculoplasty by laser surgery
  • CPT 66761: iridotomy/iridectomy by laser surgery
  • CPT 68801: dilation of lacrimal punctum
  • CPT 68810: probing of nasolacrimal duct
  • CPT 68815: probing of nasolacrimal duct, with insertion of tube or stent

The AOA will present to the committee rationales and/or recommendations on whether these services should be surveyed. The committee will then decide if a survey is needed. Surveys measure physician work, time and intensity.

CSEPS is the Colorado ophthalmology society 
Join us in helping to ensure excellence in Colorado eye care. Maybe you think you're already a member. Check the CSEPS website to confirm you are a member. If you're not, please contact Chet Seward in the CSEPS offices by e-mail or by phone at (720) 858-6336 to renew or join today.
The Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons is the Colorado ophthalmology society representing Colorado ophthalmologists who specialize in the medical and surgical treatment of eye disease. This newsletter is published by the CSEPS communications division, which works with CSEPS physician leadership and the American Academy of Opthalmology to advocate on behalf of physicians. Please direct questions to or call (720) 858-6336.

We want to hear from you! Contact CSEPS at 720-858-6336 or Link

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