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News & Press: Newsletter Archive

January-February 2014 Newsletter

Wednesday, January 1, 2014  
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E-News for Colorado Ophthalmologists                                                                             January/February 2014
In This Issue
CSEPS Connect
Attorney General to speak on ACA on February 12
Honorable John W. Suthers

CSEPS Connect, our education and social engagement initiative, revs back up on February 12, 2014, with a presentation by the Honorable John W. Suthers. As the state's top law enforcement official, Attorney General Suthers will focus remarks on the legal aspects of the Affordable Care Act, how they came to be, what is happening now and what they mean for you and your practice in the future. Making sense of the ACA is a priority for ophthalmologists, so this is a must attend event. Space is limited so register for this free event now by clicking here

Reconnect with your colleagues over some great food at Osteria Marco in downtown Denver, and learn the information you need to know at CSEPS Connect. Register today. 

2014 CSEPS dues due

Have you returned your 2014 CSEPS dues? We value your new or ongoing support and participation. With a packed 2014 educational/social calendar and pressing public policy needs for ophthalmology, CSEPS is the only professional society focused on you. Standing together we can provide a more powerful front to ensure excellence in eye care. If you haven't already, then please return your CSEPS dues today.

CSEPS Ski Club - Join us!
Join your colleagues for some fun making tracks with the CSEPS Ski Club. The next club will be Feb. 1. We will meet at Breckenridge Peak 9 Lodge at noon. Click here to RSVP. We are taking suggestions now for where to go in March. Click here to vote. Contact Chet in the CSEPS offices for more details.
Save the Date
CSEPS Social Mixer
February 26 5:30-8:00
Denver - Location TBD 
Watch for details 

CODEquest
Denver, CO
April 26, 2014
 

34th Annual Aspen Corneal Society Meeting 

Snowmass, CO at the Westin Resort and Wildwood Feb. 17-21, 2014 www.aspencornealsociety.com

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.

Stage 2 meaningful use requirements released
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a final rule defining the requirements for Stage 2 of meaningful use, which will begin in 2014. The new requirements build on Stage 1 of meaningful use, and CMS has retained the exclusions that allowed ophthalmologists to qualify for incentive payments in Stage 1 of the program. Visit AAO's EHR Central for more information on qualifying for the EHR Incentive Program payments and preparing for Stage 2.
Attest to EHR system use by Feb. 28
Ophthalmologists have limited time to qualify for an incentive payment through the 2013 Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program. The deadline is Feb. 28 to attest to demonstrating meaningful use of an EHR system last year. Visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology's EHR Central website for information on how to qualify for the incentive payment.
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

More than 2.7 million Americans aged 40 and over are affected by glaucoma, yet only half of those affected know they have the disease.

During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, the American Academy of Ophthalmology advises the public that the best defense against developing glaucoma-related blindness is by having routine, comprehensive eye exams. AAO recommends that all adults have a baseline, comprehensive dilated eye exam at least by age 40. Some people are at greater risk for developing glaucoma and may need to see their ophthalmologist on a more frequent basis.

To learn more about glaucoma, encourage your patients to visit the AAO's public education website at www.geteyesmart.org.

President's update
GeorgeUlrich
George Ulrich, MD

Happy New Year! With a new year comes the opportunity to review and refresh our goals. I'll hope you'll review what we're doing now and what's on deck and join us in advancing our society.

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:

  1. Professional Fellowship - Ski club. There have been two meet-ups this ski season. We look forward to additional ski clubs.
  2. Meetings with our state legislators - We've had two so far with more scheduled during the session. See below for more information.
  3. Medicaid rate increase for ophthalmologists - We are evaluating the 1.5 percent increase proposal and preparing a response.
  4. Alan Kimura, MD, has been appointed as councilor to AAO for Colorado. The AAO Council serves as the advisory body to the Board of Trustees. Dr. Kimura will serve as a two-way source of information and feedback between the national academy and CSEPS, coordinate joint activities and develop recommendations, among other duties.

Things coming up this winter:

  1. More skiing. The next one is Saturday Feb. 1 at Breckenridge. We'll meet up at noon at the Peak Nine Restaurant located at the top of Peak 9. Bring a lunch or buy lunch there. It is informal. We will ride the lifts together and ski.
  2. CSEPS Connect, our education series. The next CSEPS Connect will be held on Feb. 12 with featured guest Attorney General John Suthers. We'll have programs throughout 2014.
  3. Mixers - The next social mixer is Feb. 28.

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 gives 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.

George G. Ulrich, MD    
Legislative update: 2014 session starts
Dick Brown
by Dick Brown, CSEPS lobbyist

The Colorado General Assembly has convened for the 2014 session, and with only 120 days on its calendar there is intense pressure on legislators to move things along.

For the majority of the bills that are not given special treatment, the crush of time is intense. A bill must successfully navigate the committees of reference to which it is assigned - sometimes more than one committee - and pass the house in which it was introduced by the 50th legislative day (February 26 this year). By the close of business on Friday, Jan. 10, we had 86 House bills and 62 Senate bills distributed for public use. If the legislature follows its customary path, we can expect to see a total of 500 bills by the end of the session. The first wave of bills included five that we have flagged for further analysis to determine whether they have a specific application to ophthalmology.

 

Politics and turmoil

The preceding session of 2013 was particularly contentious with respect to deep partisan feelings. As a result of the 2012 election, the Democrat Party controls both the House and the Senate. Majority party status is the critical variable in determining what bills get enacted, what budget priorities are set and philosophies get advanced. The majority party holds almost all the leadership positions, all the committee chairmanships and constitutes the voting majority of each committee.

 

The political environment this year is contentious given things that happened last year. READ MORE...

Legislator outreach initiative continues
Dr. Johnson demonstrates a procedure for Rep. McCann.

CSEPS launched a legislator outreach initiative in 2013 to build relationships and provide a bedside perspective so that these policymakers can better appreciate what eye physicians and surgeons do every day. For the first event, CSEPS president George Ulrich, MD, hosted Rep. Lois Landgraf, (R, HD-21).

David Johnson, MD, and Rep. Beth McCann.

For the second event, David Johnson, MD, of Colorado Retina Associates in Denver, hosted Rep. Beth McCann, chair of the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee.

Building these connections is critical given that with one vote legislators can profoundly affect your practice. These relationships can be the difference between advancing good legislation and killing bad legislation. 

 

You can help too by getting involved in the CSEPS legislator outreach initiative. Contact CSEPS Executive Director Chet Seward for more information and help in setting up a visit at your office.

Congress stops 24 percent SGR cut,
passes temporary patch

Congress passed and President Obama signed the Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013 into law on Dec. 26, 2013, preventing a scheduled 24 percent payment reduction for physicians who treat Medicare patients from taking effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The law provides for a 0.5 percent update for claims with dates of service from Jan. 1 through March 31, 2014. The update is intended to avoid disruptions to the Medicare program while Congress resumes its work on legislation to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate in early 2014.

In mid-December the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee passed legislative proposals to repeal the SGR and transition to a new Medicare physician payment system.

Both committees' versions of the proposal would consolidate and restructure existing quality improvement incentive programs-including meaningful use, the Physician Quality Reporting System and the value-based modifier-to reduce the administrative and financial burden on physicians. They also allow for bonus payments for high-performing practices and lessen potential penalties.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is lobbying lawmakers to permanently repeal the formula before the next cut takes effect and make changes to the proposals to ensure fair reimbursement for ophthalmologists. Academy members' participation is key to the success of this advocacy effort. Take a moment to call or write your members of Congress to urge them to permanently stop the SGR cut and pass fair physician pay reforms.

CMS delays implementation of cataract ambulatory surgery center quality reporting measure

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has delayed implementation of a new cataract ambulatory surgery center quality reporting measure until April 1. The delay of ASC 11-Cataracts results from a significant effort by the AAO's Washington office during the past few months. The Academy continues to work with the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery to fight its implementation, which we believe is inappropriate and burdensome.

The specifications for the measure can be found on pages 23 and 27 of the updated ASC Quality Measures Specifications Manual. The measure will be reported through a web-based tool on the CMS website. The sample size for these measures is based on the annual patient population being evaluated. ASCs that serve up to 900 patients for a particular measure will be required to submit on 63 cases. ASCs that serve 901 or more patients are required to report on 96 cases.

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 cseps@cms.org or call (720) 858-6336.

We want to hear from you! Contact CSEPS at 720-858-6336 or cseps@cms.org Link

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