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News & Press: Newsletter Archive

November-December 2013 Newsletter

Friday, November 1, 2013  
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E-News for Colorado Ophthalmologists                                                                        November/December 2013
In This Issue
Happy Thanksgiving

We are grateful for your membership, your leadership and your service to patients across Colorado. May the Thanksgiving Holiday be one filled with bounty and thankfulness.

2014 CSEPS dues are now due

Once again CSEPS has partnered with the American Academy of Ophthalmology in a joint dues mailing project. This initiative reinforces the close relationship between our national and state organizations. You should have already received your dues notices from AAO. Please return it as soon as possible and thank you for your continued membership in CSEPS and AAO!

Raise Your Glasses Logo
Another successful CSEPS social mixer

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Oct. 3 CSEPS mixer in Denver at Forest Room 5. Attendees enjoyed good food and drink, and the company wasn't too bad either! In today's hectic health care world it's important to stay connected and these events offer one important way to maintain a little life balance and keep in touch with colleagues and friends. Watch for details on the next mixer scheduled for February 26 in Denver. Watch for details.

Join the CSEPS Ski Club today
The weather outside is turning frightful, but the slopes are becoming oh so delightful. Plan on joining your colleagues for some fun making tracks by joining the CSEPS Ski Club. We will meet at Breckenridge Peak 9 Lodge at noon on the first Saturday of every month beginning December 7. Depending on popularity, we will select more dates and or alternative locations. Contact Chet in the CSEPS offices for more details and to sign up. 
Save the Date

34th Annual Aspen Corneal Society Meeting
Snowmass, CO at the Westin Resort and Wildwood

Feb. 17-21, 2014

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults age 20 to 74 years. During Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, here are a few key steps patients should take to prevent vision loss.

  • Get a comprehensive dilated eye examination from your ophthalmologist once a year, regardless of your age.
  • Maintain close-to-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers a free educational DVD, which can be ordered through its public education website - about preventing and treating diabetic eye diseases featuring Chicago Bears' center, Roberto Garza, whose grandfather lost his sight due to diabetes.

CU Holiday party

Plan to attend the CU Department of Ophthalmology holiday reception on Wednesday, December 4th 2013 at 6:00 pm. Please RSVP to 


Calendar of events
January events include CSEPS ski club on January 4, and CSEPS Connect education conference on January 21. Visit the CSEPS web site for more details and a complete list of scheduled events for 2014. 
President's update
George Ulrich, MD
On the move

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.  It starts very soon!  The first ski get-together is Saturday Dec 7 at Breckenridge.  Meet up 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, ski and talk about whatever we want to talk about.  We don't have to talk about ophthalmology or business unless you want to. It is primarily fun and social. 
  2. State ophthalmology society gathering at the Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in New Orleans - CSEPS president George Ulrich met with representatives from other states and with the AAO secretariat for state affairs, learning the latest on federal work to address the flawed Medicare SGR payment formula, compounding drugs and AAO's IRIS registry. Chet Seward, our executive director, was recognized as the top state society administrator in the country.
  3. Pharmacy compounding - In order to continue to inform our advocacy efforts on this topic we polled our membership. Thanks to all that responded. Among other findings results show that 89% of respondents believe that patient safety and timely patient access to compounded drugs are both important goals of pharmacy compounding regulation, while 92% think that costs to the healthcare system will increase dramatically if access to Avastin is unduly restricted. Federal legislation effectively punted on some of key issues for ophthalmologists including not clarifying physicians' ability to access Avastin for office use. See the article below for more information........

Things coming up this winter:

  1. More skiing.  We are scheduled for ski days at Breckenridge the first Saturday of every month. Join us for some fun.
  2. We continue to work on conducting a glaucoma laser treatment day at the Stout Street Clinic in Denver in cooperation with Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.  We are standing by as the Stout Street Clinic obtains authorization to conduct treatment at their facility.
  3. CSEPS Connect, our education series, ramps back up in January with an event in Denver. We have a full year of programming planned. Check out the calendar of events on  

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 on-line application.  If you prefer to support the organization and mission without joining you can send a check, click here for more info. 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    
Legislator outreach initiative launched
Dr. Ulrich details his role in cataract surgery with Rep. Landgraf.

Early this year CSEPS launched a new legislator outreach initiative to build relationships andprovide a bedside perspective so that these policymakers can better appreciate what eye physicians and surgeons do every day. Rep. Lois Landgraf, (R) House District 21 El Paso County, recently visited CSEPS president George Ulrich, MD, and witnessed a cataract removal.  

Rep. Landgraf listens to Dr. Ulrich explain the procedure.

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 passes compounding bill, local work continues with Pharmacy Board
Alan Kimura, MD, MPH, and USPHS, FDA Denver District Compliance Officer Capt. Thomas R. Berry, PharmD

Congress recently passed drug-compounding legislation that provides only a partial solution to

access issues for ophthalmologists and their patients. The bill will strengthen regulations on compounding pharmacies, but unfortunately did not clarify physicians' ability to access Avastin for office use since it is a repackaged drug. President Obama is expected to sign the bill, which

will leave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the ability to decide how to handle issues related to office use of repackaged drugs produced by traditional compounders. Attention now turns to how a Colorado task force may tackle these questions. The Colorado Board of Pharmacy Compounding Task Force is studying pharmacy compounding safety, interstate commerce and the difference between manufacturing, compounding and repackaging. CSEPS board member Alan Kimura, MD, MPH, is the sole physician on the task force and is working hard to protect access to products from traditional compounding pharmacies. Stay tuned for more details on the task force as work progresses. 
CMS releases interim feedback reports for 2013 Physician Quality Reporting Program
Are you scheduled for a 1.5 percent penalty?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released interim feedback reports for providers participating in its 2013 quality reporting program. Providers are able to earn a 0.5 percent incentive payment from CMS for reporting on certain quality measures through the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System.

The feedback reports, which are based on information reported Jan. 1 - March 31, enable providers to track their progress toward achieving the incentive payment. They also enable providers to verify if they have successfully met the requirement to submit one valid PQRS measure in 2013 to avoid a payment penalty in 2015; providers who do not report one valid measure this year face a 1.5 percent cut in Medicare payments in 2015. Providers still have time to meet the requirement and avoid the penalty. 

Click here to go to the PQRS page of the AAO website. Additionally, the federal CMS has published a user guide to assist providers in accessing and using the feedback reports.

Clean Claims task force releases third set of rules, asks for ophthalmologist review

The Colorado Medical Clean Claims Transparency and Uniformity Act Task Force has released its third wave of rules for public review. Click here to download the rules. They include payment rules on the following topics: Global Procedure Days/Package, Laboratory Rebundling, Multiple Endoscopy Reduction, and Maximum Frequency Greater than One Day.

After reviewing the documents, all are encouraged to post comments to the public comment section of the website located at Comments must be submitted by Dec. 4, 2013. Note: To ensure browser compatibility, please use either Mozilla Firefox (3.0 or above), or Internet Explorer (IE 7, 8, 9 or 10) to upload comments.

The public review process is an integral part of the task force's effort to create a standardized set of payment rules and claim edits for payers and providers in Colorado and they express their appreciation for physicians' participation.

Specialties subject to new Medicare payment audits

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced recently that it is creating a new audit entity - a supplemental medical review contractor - to review provider claims for overpayments. Reviews conducted by the new contractor, Strategic Health Solutions, LLC, are separate from - and could be in addition to - audits conducted by existing recovery auditors.

Strategic Health Solutions is also responsible for initial review of suspected provider fraud. Similar to audits by other Medicare entities, the new review process begins with an additional document request letter. Detected overpayments will be reported directly to CMS and the applicable Medicare Administrative Contractor will pursue a claim adjustment and/or overpayment collection against the provider. To appeal a finding, providers must go through the normal MAC appeal process.

AAO urges federal CMS to investigate potential insurer violations in Medicare Advantage

The American Academy of Ophthalmology, along with the American Medical Association and 80 other national and state medical organizations, sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urging CMS to investigate potential violations of Medicare Advantage program policy.

During the past month, hundreds of physicians have been terminated from 2014 Medicare Advantage plan networks by UnitedHealthcare and other insurers in select markets. These terminations are without cause and have been timed in a manner that undermines the accuracy and reliability of the information Medicare beneficiaries rely upon to make health care decisions during the 2014 open enrollment period.

While the deselections are not yet occurring in Colorado, it is important to stay updated on this issue and to be ready to act if necessary. The Colorado Medical Society is negotiating a meeting with United to discuss concerns.

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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