ABO Says Proposed Process Complies With New Law
With the passage of the healthcare reform bill, The American Board of Optometry (ABO) issued a statement that optometrists should be aware that the final bill includes language related to board certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) that will impact the profession.
"The ABO is encouraged by the recognition of the importance of the ‘formalized, secure examination’ in the MOC process," said David A. Heath, OD, EdM, ABO treasurer and president of the State University of New York State College of Optometry. "This is very timely as the ABO is poised to make our decision on our partner for developing our examination. The ABO will also develop Performance in Practice Modules (PPMs) that meet the practice assessment criteria of the bill."
A section of the bill is Section 10327, Improvements to the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). During the years 2011-2014, eligible professionals can qualify for an additional incentive payment if they meet certain requirements for the year. To qualify, professionals must satisfactorily submit data measures and have the data submitted through an MOC program that meets the criteria for a registry or an appropriate alternative manner. Eligible professionals must also participate in the MOC program for that year and successfully complete a qualified MOC practice assessment.
The bill defines an MOC program as "a continuous assessment program, such as qualified American Board of Medical Specialties Maintenance of Certification program or an equivalent program, that advances quality and the lifelong learning and self assessment of board certified specialty physicians by focusing on the competencies of patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning, interpersonal and communication skills and professionalism." The MOC program must include requirements to (1) maintain a valid, unrestricted license in the United States, (2) participate in educational and self-assessment programs that require an assessment of what was learned, and (3) demonstrate, through a formalized, secure examination, that the physician has the fundamental diagnostic skills, medical knowledge, and clinical judgment to provide quality care in their respective specialty.
A qualified MOC program practice assessment should include (1) an initial assessment of a practice that is designed to demonstrate use of evidence-based medicine, (2) a survey of patient experience with care, (3) requirements to implement a quality improvement intervention to address any identified practice weakness, and (4) remeasurement to assess performance improvement after intervention.
"We will develop the ABO's PPMs to qualify for these criteria," said Mary E. Miller, OD, ABO board member and private practitioner in Canadian Lakes, Mich.
CooperVision Introduces New Web Initiatives
CooperVision recently launched its CooperVision eyecare practitioner Facebook page and blog, "On Eye."
Dennis Murphy, president of the Americas CooperVision, Inc., said that through the new Facebook page and blog, "we are able to partner directly with ECPs to provide strategy and content so they can leverage social media to build their practices."
Facebook users can access the page at www.facebook.com/coopervisionECP. The site offers tools and resources from product information and rebates to patient engagement and practice-building tips. It also gives practitioners the opportunity to interact with one another and share best practices.
The On Eye blog (coopervision.com/us/blog) offers insights and discussions about lens fitting, technology, and business. Bloggers include CooperVision executives and external industry experts. Primary blog categories include building a lens practice, insights and perspectives of CooperVision executives, trends and industry news, technology innovations, and general contact lens information.
CooperVision has also launched Clear Choice (www.coopervision.com/clearchoice), where ECPs can find tips to share with patients on how to protect their eyes in a digital world, as well as patient resources and support materials.
Attendance Up at Vision Expo East
International Vision Expo East took place from March 18 to 21, 2010, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, N.Y. Unaudited attendance numbers indicate that nearly 19,000 eyecare professionals and buyers registered for the show, 40 percent of whom were first-time attendees, and attendance increased 4 percent from 2009.
New this year, live coverage was posted to the International Vision Expo YouTube Channel (www.youtube.intlvisionexpo) for eyecare professionals unable to make it to the show or the events surrounding it.
Among the new and expanded programs this year were programs planned for young optometrists as well as several Spanish language sessions.
Designed for optometry students and optometrists who graduated from optometry school less than five years ago, the programs for young optometrists showcased the education, new products, and networking events at the show.
"By developing a program of activities specifically for this group, we hope to showcase just some of the opportunities International Vision Expo East has to offer," said Tom Loughran, vice president for Reed Exhibitions. The courses for optometry students and young optometrists included:
Free lunch session, "What Choices are There After Graduation and How Do I Get There?" (Course 3013), moderated by Mitchell Horowitz, OD, which allowed students to hear from a variety of practitioners in different clinical settings. Sponsored by the New York State Optometric Association and the Pennsylvania Optometric Association.
"The Art of the Deal: Practice Transitions and Associate Relationships" (Course 3313), which explored opportunities in acquiring a private practice. Presented by Alan Cleinman and sponsored by the New York State Optometric Association.
Young optometrists were also invited to sit in and audit any continuing education courses for which attendance was not sold-out (no credits were provided). In addition, students and young optometrists could register for a free exhibit hall pass.
International Vision Expo East also added Spanish language sessions to the conference program this year for the first time. Supported by Transitions, six sessions were offered over two days for ABO credit.
Next year, the conference for International Vision Expo East will be held March 17 to 20, 2011, and the exhibition will be held March 18 to 20, 2011, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.
Paragon Introduces CRT Practice of the Year Award
Paragon Vision Sciences has introduced its new 2010 Practice of the Year Award. To gear up for the program, Paragon began sending a consumer questionnaire, in the form of a business reply card, with each CRT patient order starting on April 1. The company encourages practitioners to provide the questionnaires to each CRT patient.
Based on responses gathered throughout the year from the consumer questionnaire, Paragon will be able to identify new trends among CRT wearers, which the company says will improve its consumer marketing campaigns and practitioners' ability to attract new CRT patients.
On Dec. 1, 2010, Paragon will draw five winning practices from the consumer questionnaire entries. Each practice will receive one of five prizes, with the first practice chosen winning the Bronze Level Package followed by Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Each package contains a framed wall plaque for the practice, a framed certificate for each CRT staff member, and money toward a staff appreciation luncheon. The 2010 Diamond Winning Practice will also be featured in a 2011 Contact Lens Spectrum advertisement.
In addition to the Practice of the Year Award program, Paragon will also award 100 CRT patients with one of the following prizes:
• A Grand Prize winner will receive a complimentary spare pair of CRT lenses (prescription can't be older than 12 months).
• A First Runner up will receive a one-year supply of lens care solution.
• Ninety-eight winners will receive CRT apparel.
AOA Foundation Awards Scholarship Grants
■ Optometry's Charity – the AOA Foundation's Endowment Fund Advisory Committee has announced its 2010 Scholarship Grant recipients.
SECO Presents 2010 Awards
SECO recently announced its 2010 Award Winners. William E. Malone, OD, has been named Optometrist of the South, SECO's highest honor. Elizabeth Steele, OD, FAAO, received SECO's Young Optometrist of the South Award, and Belinda Coberly has been named Paraoptometric of the South. SECO's Award of Merit will be awarded to The EyeSight Foundation of Alabama. The awards were presented to the recipients during the SECO International House of Delegates.
iPhone App Available for Self Visual Acuity Exams
Global EyeVentures, Inc. has made available its EyeXam iPhone application on the Apple iTunes store for free download. EyeXam features a self-guided method for measuring one's own visual acuity at distance and near. Developed by two optometrists, EyeXam also includes color vision plates, an Amsler grid, and eye dominance test. During the first month of availability, EyeXam was downloaded more than 100,000 times and was the second-most downloaded free iPhone application in the "medical" category. A video on EyeXam is available on www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGm_LPAFRlg.
■ LensAlert is now available at all Target stores as of April 11. Packaged as a Contact Lens Care Kit, the product includes the patented LensAlert Reminder Timer, three contact lenses cases, and lens care tips that can be cut out and taped to a bathroom mirror. Target is selling the Contact Lens Care Kit for $11.99.
■ Alcon has received regulatory approval and finalized the acquisition on the rights in the United States for Durezol emulsion and the global rights, excluding Latin America, for Zyclorin from Sirion Therapeutics, Inc. Alcon will immediately assume all marketing, promotion, and sales of Durezol. Management said that it is continuing to evaluate options to acquire Zirgan, an antiviral recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of acute herpetic keratitis (corneal ulcers).
■ Addition Technology, Inc. has received FDA approval for an expanded range of additional sizes of the company's Intacs corneal implants for keratoconus.
■ Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for the new dry eye treatment drug Diquas Ophthalmic Solution 3% (diquafosol tetrasodium). In clinical studies conducted in Japan, Diquas was shown to improve dry eye symptoms by promoting secretion of mucin and water, thereby bringing the tear film closer to a normal state.
■ EyeSupply USA, Inc. has been named the exclusive distributor of the new proprietary fluorescein sodium and lissamine green dye combination, Fluramene (Noble Vision Group, LLC). Fluramene is a sterile solution packaged in a 15ml bottle.
■ Scientists from the Vision Cooperative Research Centre (Vision CRC) in Australia have announced that myopia can be controlled with new technology. This discovery was based on research conducted by Vision CRC partners—the University of Houston College of Optometry and the Brien Holden Vision Institute, located at the University of New South Wales. Professor Brien Holden announced that the technology has been licensed to Carl Zeiss Vision (CZV) and developed into the first spectacle lens of its kind through a joint project with CZV lens designers. This new spectacle lens was launched under the Zeiss brand name throughout Asia beginning last month. The Vision CRC has also licensed its myopia control technology to Ciba Vision for contact lens applications.
■ Crystalens AO (Bausch + Lomb) has received new technology intraocular lens (NTIOL) classification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The NTIOL became effective April 9 and means that Crystalens AO IOLs are approved for an additional $50 Medicare payment adjustment for services in conjunction with cataract procedures performed at an ambulatory surgical center.
■ Reichert, Inc. has unveiled a new brand name and redesigned identity—Reichert Technologies. Reichert Technologies' logo will be supported by the mission – Advancing Eye Care, Preserving Sight. The new branding and logo will be gradually phased in over the coming months.
■ Dr. Rhonda Robinson appeared on the Martha Stewart Show on Tuesday, April 13 to discuss the emergence of presbyopia as a condition affecting an increasing number of patients. She also provided insights into the new generation of presbyopes and discussed the Bausch + Lomb Multi-Focal contact lens.
■ Eyemaginations, Inc. has announced the opening of a new office in Century City in Los Angeles, Calif. to support growing sales of its software. Michael Sopher, vice president of Business Development, will head this location. In addition, Warren J. Luster has joined Eyemaginations.
■ Dr. Stephanie Su, manager of Research Clinic Operations for Bausch + Lomb, recently received the Young Optometrist of the Year Award, an honor given by the New York State Optometric Association to recognize an optometrist who has been in practice for less than 10 years and demonstrated great leadership and promise. The award is based on three areas of requirement: service to optometry, public welfare, and public service.