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Board of Examiners Letter

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Board of Examiners Letter
As most of you are aware, the BOE recently mailed letter to all Maryland ODs with important new licensure requirementsClick here for the letter.

Unfortunately, some OD's are only now becoming aware of our hard-fought, historic scope expansion victory.Click here for bill summary.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-MAIL TO ANY MARYLAND OD (member or non-member), who may not be completely up to speed.EVERY TPA LICENSED OD MUST COMPLETE A MANDATED, BOE-APPROVED 10-HR SCOPE EXPANSION COURSE BEFORE 7/12020 TO MAINTAIN THEIR TPA LICENSE.

The MOA Convention will present the second offering of the 10-hr mandated course to 400 attendees on Nov 2-3 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.There are only a few seats left, so grab them while you can! Click hereto register.

DON'T WORRY,for those unable to attend the Convention or another Live course,will be able to take MOA's online course(already BOE-Approved), at their leisure. The online course will be launched before the end of the year. More information will be provided in future Tuesday Talk e-blasts, so stay tuned.

If you forward this email to a colleague, please feel free to CC Cheryl Frazier (cfrazier@marylandoptometry.org).This helps us be totally inclusive and ensure all OD's remain informed about important news and updates that impact Maryland Optometry.

My colleagues on the MOA Board along with our Executive Director and Director of Operations have done an AMAZING job in generating engagement over the past 6 months. Our membership numbers are up, more OD's are reading the Tuesday Talk e-blasts every week, posting on theMOA Facebook page and are engaging in the new Maryland OD Forum Facebook group.The MOA seems stronger than ever with ever growing participation and interest in the Young OD CommitteeMembership Committee, and local societies events.

Finally, as a leadership team, the MOA developed a Maryland Optometry 2020 Census to determine what is most important to member and non-member ODs moving forward. It will be distributed at the Annual Convention and electronically thereafter.Please take a few minutes to answer the census so we can keep this momentum going and keep improving Maryland Optometry. STAY TUNED AND THANK YOU!

Best Regards,
Kevin Johnson
MOA President

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Announcing the 2019 MOA Annual Award Winners

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Announcing the 2019 MOA Annual Award Winners

The Maryland Optometric Association would like to take this opportunity to announce the 2019 MOA Annual Award winners. Award winners were nominated by their peers for their exceptional contributions to the betterment of the optometric community. Join us on Saturday evening at the 2019 MOA Annual Convention when award winners will be recognized, and we will celebrate everyone's accomplishment in expanding the scope of practice for Maryland Optometry.This year's V. Eugene McCrary award winner is also the Keynote speaker during our Saturday lunch at the 2019 MOA Annual Convention. Senator Paul Pinsky is a long-time friend of Maryland Optometry, one of our two 2019 scope expansion bill sponsors and the Chairman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. We are excited to present Senator Pinsky with his award during our Saturday lunch and look forward to sharing this monumental experience with everyone attending.

For more information about the award categories and past winners,click here.

2019 Annual Award Winners

OD of the Year:Dr. Joshua S. Gordon

Young OD of the Year: Dr. Corinne Casey

Mel Waxman Award:Dr. Alan Bishop

V. Eugene McCray Award:Senator Paul G. Pinsky

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Attention All Young ODs!

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Attention All Young ODs!
 (graduates from 2009 to present)

My name is Heather Atcherson and I want to start by introducing myself as the new MOA Young OD Chair. I am a 2015 graduate from Southern College of Optometry and practice full time in Annapolis. 

About one year ago, my local society President approached me to ask if I'd be interested in helping out with the MOA Young OD program. I had no clue what I was doing but wanted to volunteer my time in any way I could. Fast forward a year, I've been elected to the Young OD Chair position (big shoes to fill following Dr. Vicky Wong!), attended AOA on Capitol Hill as the Maryland State Designated Attendee, and been in contact with so many new young OD and student MOA members. 

Three important messages I want to share:

1) VSP will be sponsoring an open bar Young OD Cocktail Reception on Saturday, November 2nd, immediately following the Victory Party at the Annual Convention. The event will be held at the AC Lounge (walking distance from the Gaylord). More details to come via individual email and invite. 

2) Just because you are a "young" OD - doesn't mean your opinions don't matter and your contributions aren't valuable! We are the future of Optometry, and we need to continue all of the effort the generations before us have put forth to get us to where we are today. You can contribute in so many ways - from helping out in your local society to assisting with Young OD events, to legislative support, to even joining the Executive Committee. Unity as a profession is so important to uphold the strength of our degree and protect it from those trying to devalue it. We can use as many hands as we can! Please contact me if you have any interest in becoming more involved and I'll gladly put you in touch with the appropriate person.

3) As I prepare and budget for the next calendar year's Young OD events, I am interested in any feedback you have! If there is a place you've been wanting to go to or a location that is neglected that you'd like to see an event hosted at? Please email me any suggestions. 

I look forward to meeting everyone and continuing to make the Young OD program as awesome as it can be.

Heather Atcherson
Young OD Committee Chair
youngodchair@marylandoptometry.org

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Are You Prepared for 2020?

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, August 14, 2019
The year 2020 has obvious significance for optometry as a profession, but given our historic scope expansion win this Session and Optometry's Meeting in Maryland next year, I say 2020 is "OUR" year! For those attending our Annual Convention in November, get excited because this year's conference will the biggest and best EVER! The Convention is currently SOLD OUT, but we are looking for ways to maximize the space to increase capacity. If you were unable to register and wish to attend the Conference, please submit your request to be on the waitlist (first come-first serve) HERE. For those unable to attend the conference, don't fret, MOA is in the process of developing a "painless," user friendly, online course that will be available to all after the Convention. To quote either Voltaire or Spiderman (depending on age and predilection), with great power comes great responsibility. While the new scope expansion does not permit the use of lasers, surgery or radiographic imaging, it does include most if not all necessary tools for ODs to act as primary eye care providers - and patients will come to expect a full range of eye and vision health services, some of which you may or may not currently provide. ARE YOU READY? Here are some preliminary checklist items to consider as you prepare for 2020 - "The Year of Maryland Optometry!" Can't wait to see everyone in November. 

 

o Mandatory Scope Expansion Course Completion (Deadline -- June 30, 2020)

§  MOA Convention 

§  Online (Details TBA)

o MVA/Maryland State Police (MSP) Driver Vision Health Services

§  "Electronic Vision Services" -- provide patient eye examination result to MVA for driver license renewal (to date 295 optometrists are providers/661 ophthalmologists are providers). Not a provider, create an account HERE

§  "Physician’s Written Certification of Necessity for Medical Exemption from Maryland Window Tint Limitations" -- the MSP recently changed their policy to allow ODs to Rx for tinted windows. See new form HERE

o Staff Knowledge, Training & Roles

§  In many states with expanded scope laws, clinic staff play a critical role in patient care. While some states require clinic staff be trained and/or certified, others do not. Keep in mind, as practices increase/enhance medical optometry services, clinical staff training and expertise become more important. 

§  MEMBERS: Encourage your staff to join the MOA Paraoptometric Association and take advantage of one of your member benefits with FREE staff training. LEARN MORE

o Contracts & Credentialing

§  Be on the alert for contract updates because of scope expansion! (often carriers/insurers will provide little to no notice of updates, sometimes providing less than 12 hours to respond)

§  Make sure your NPI address is up-to-date and correct and claims are submitted with the correct Tax ID #

 

Jennifer Cohen
Executive Director

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Scope Expansion Q & As

Posted By MOA Admin, Friday, July 26, 2019

The MOA continues to receive daily calls from doctors throughout the State with questions about the new scope expansion law...

How will the law effect me, my license, my CE requirements, etc.? 

For those who still have unanswered questions and/or concerns, this week's Tuesday Talk Q&A is just for you! Members, please feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions or for clarification on any issue at MOA Headquarters. 

Jennifer Cohen, Executive Director, MOA

 

Scope Expansion & 2020 Certification Q & A

 

QuestionDo I have to take the required 10-hour scope expansion certification course to maintain my Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents (TPA) license? And if so, by when?

Answer: Yes, you must take a Maryland State Board of Examiners in Optometry (BOE) approved 10-hour scope expansion course prior to July 1, 2020 to maintain your TPA license.

 

QuestionWhat happens if I do not take the course? Will I still be able to practice as I do now?

Answer: Not if you are a TPA licensee. If the BOE does not receive proof of your 10-hour scope expansion course completion by July 1, 2020, your license status will default to a Diagnostic Pharmaceutical Agents (DPA) license. DPA licensees may perform refractions and dilate, but little else. You will no longer be able to Rx any medication for treatment, nor will you be able to perform any testing or therapies on patients for the management of eye diseases or conditions. 

 

QuestionWhere/how can I take the required course? Is MOA the only provider?

AnswerMOA is the only provider of the course at present, but the course can be administrated by any statewide association or non-profit association. The MOA offered the first of two DIFFERENT planned live courses on July 14 in Hagerstown. The course was approved by the BOE for a live and online program and was video taped to create the latter. MOA plans to offer the second live course at our Annual Convention - BOE and COPE approval pending. The MOA intends to launch an online course after the Convention and prior to the new year.

 

QuestionDoes the course require I pass a test?

AnswerCompletion of the course in a live setting does not require learners to pass a test. The online course will require learners pass a test, but test questions (3 per credit hour) will be at the end of each 2-hour learning segment and learners will be able to reference course notes when answering test questions. The pass rate is 70% (21 of 30 questions answered correctly). 

 

QuestionOnce I complete the scope expansion course, when can I begin practicing with the new authorities granted under the scope expansion law?

AnswerProviding the BOE has proof of your course completion, the earliest you may begin practicing under the expanded scope law is March 1, 2020. Consult the BOE.

 

Question: Are new graduates exempted from taking the course?

Answer: 2020 graduates are exempt. The law states the following..."This section does not apply to an individual who graduates on or after July 1, 2019, from an accredited college of optometry, an accredited university school of optometry, or an equivalent program of education as determined by the State Board of Examiners in Optometry."

 

QuestionAre the two MOA live courses the same? Can I get credit for both if I attended Hagerstown? Will the online course be COPE Approved? How many CE credits will I get for each course?

AnswerThe two MOA live courses are entirely different education programs with the same general content themes - pharmacology and disease management best practices. Should the MOA Annual Convention course be approved by the BOE and COPE then each live course offered this year (Hagerstown and Convention) will provide learners 10 hours of COPE credit, 20 total possible credit hours toward your 2-year 50 hour requirement. The online course will provide the exact same material provided during the live Hagerstown conference, so July 14 meeting attendees will not be able to use both toward CE credit. Convention attendees may however claim both if desired, but ONLINE COURSE CE WILL NOT BE COPE APPROVED...only BOE approved. Online course credits may be applied to the current renewal cycle.

 

QuestionDoes the MOA plan to offer a third LIVE course?

AnswerThe option to do so is being considered by the MOA Education Committee and Board. No decision has been made to date other that no third course will be offered in 2019.

 

Question: How/In what areas will the new law expand the current scope of practice of Maryland Optometry?

Short Answer: Read the law, Chapter 344 or the summary of the law on the MOA website HERE.

Longer AnswerThe devil is in the details when it comes to the law. The MOA law summary is just that, a summary. It does not provide specifics on authority exemptions or prohibitions, of which there are quite a few - especially related to permitted/prohibited procedures and Rx authority. The MOA will provide a more detailed summary of the law and answer specific questions attendees have during the Saturday, Annual Convention lunch and during our evening Victory Party.

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Who Do You Refer To?

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, July 16, 2019

There’s a phrase that gets floated around OD-centric social media from time to time – “ODs refer to MDs, and MDs refer to MDs.” When optometrists get a patient with a condition we feel is out of our comfort zone, we tend to refer to ophthalmology. At the same time, PCPs and other MDs almost always refer to ophthalmology when a patient presents with a potential eye condition. In the past 10 years, optometric education and State scope of practice laws have vastly improved across the country. Now that the Maryland Optometry scope of practice enables optometrists to better care for patients, it is time that we take a look at our referral patterns -- -- with an eye on what is best for patients and the profession.

 

Do you automatically refer a patient with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy to a retina specialist? If so, why? Many of your colleagues have the technology and education to diagnose and manage macular edema and other complications. Is your dry eye specialist an ophthalmologist? As a result of scope expansion, next year ODs will have the same tools at their disposal to effectively treat and manage dry eye conditions. Do you consult with a VT specialist for children who present with Strabismus prior to an M.D./surgical consult? Consider whether these patients may be better served vis-a-vis referral to one of our very capable COVD colleagues.

 

Between online retailers and corporate optometry clinics, the future success of the profession is seemingly leaning toward medical optometry. For this reason, I urge my colleagues to develop an OD referral network at CE and social networking meetings. Moving forward, refer when necessary only!

 

Richard Miller
AACOS President

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20/20 in Not Enough

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

I have been working for many years trying to educate teachers and parents that healthy vision involves more than merely having 20/20 visual acuity. Advocating on behalf of my patients, I have been to countless school meetings where professionals seem to have a lack of knowledge between the difference between 'sight' and 'vision'. Just because a child can 'see' clearly, does not mean that they have sufficient visual skills to be able to learn in a classroom environment to the best of their ability.

In the past few years I have been able to work with other vision advocates to help create legislation that improves school vision screenings. The Atticus Act was passed in 2018 which starts to provide information to parents that vision screenings do not take the place of a comprehensive eye examination. We also passed in 2018 the School Reporting Act which requires Maryland counties to do a better job of ensuring that children who fail vision screeners receive proper follow up about receiving an examination and glasses as needed.

One of our new initiatives is to try to directly have teachers refer failing students for a comprehensive vision evaluation. The challenge in passing this legislation is that once children fail these vision exams, how do we get students glasses and services that they need and who will pay for these services? In working in this area for the past several years, I have come into contact with the Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF). This foundation works to provide glasses at no-cost to kids and adults through the Changing Life through Lenses program. If you are willing to provide a no-cost vision examination to those in need, EVF will provide the glasses at no-cost. This is a small step to ensure that students who truly are in need of vision care do not slip through the cracks. I urge all Maryland optometrists to sign up for this amazing program. Click here for more information.

Jennifer Kungle, O.D., F.C.O.V.D.
MOA Secretary/Treasurer


Please click the link below to enroll in the program.
https://www.changinglifethroughlenses.org

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Restorative Fundraising Saves MOA PAC

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Over the past few weeks, the Tuesday Talk Blog has highlighted some of the benefits of MOA membership and the strides our organization has made in member retention and new member engagement since Scope Expansion passed this spring. One astute blogger even claimed that membership was the lifeblood of a good organization.

If membership acts as an organization's blood, fundraising is its immune system. We use our fundraising immunity to fight off attacks from maligned adversaries, yet also rely on it to recover from battles waged.

After a five year fight to pass historic legislation expanding our treatment and prescribing privileges, the MOA's PAC funds were depleted. We spent thousands of hours and dollars overcoming "Stage 4 Odds" to battle back and win a legislative victory and our system was running on empty.

Little did we know, in a time of need, there was a hero waiting in the wings. The Emergen-C of the MOA came in the form of Dr. Jerry Wassel and the Vision Source Member Practices of Maryland. These doctors, our colleagues from around the state, heard the rally cry from Dr. Wassel and stepped up to contribute. Vision Source doctors have made an incredible $11,000 PAC donation commitment with 14 out of 15 practices have pledged to donate. I wanted to take to the time to thank these doctors and acknowledge their commitment to optometry in our great state. Thank you!

It's not too late to help boost our organization's immunity!  Contribute to PAC at the following levels and help give our organization the strength it needs to fight future battles!

Click here to donate

Governor: $1,000+

Senator: $500-$999

Delegate: $365-$499

Centurion: $100-$364

Member: $25-$99

 

Dean Gogerdchi, O.D.
President Elect

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Optometry's Meeting Recap

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I was honored to represent Maryland as a delegate at this year's Optometry's Meeting. I love going to OM; it always rejuvenates my love for optometry. Maryland was praised this year for passing our scope bill. It was very exciting to share the good news with everyone there. Dr. Bryan Rogoff gave a presentation at President's Council about how Maryland was able to pass scope. Representatives from the AOA gave updates on legislative matters on the national scale, mainly about the current state of the FTC-proposed bill, and that there is still work to be done. They also mentioned that they were able to raise more AOA PAC money this year than the previous but with a smaller amount of donors. Please don't forget to donate to the AOA PAC so they can continue fighting for us on a national level. Want an easy way to donate? Just text EYES to 41444.  

Membership levels were the same as last year. Maryland is going to participate in a newer program called United in Possibilities Campaign whose goal is to recruit new members. Last year, there was a conversion rate of 9.4% of prospective members to dues-paying members, bringing the total to 668. There will be more information on this to come!
 
Another program highlighted at the meeting was AOA Excel, which consists of many benefits. For example, you can get discounts through the following companies:

  •  Verizon Cellular
  • Office Depot
  • BioDOptix
  • McKesson 
  • Pitney Bowes

They also have a student loan refinancing program, where AOA members get a 0.25% lower interest rate. Don't forget about the HIPPA compliancemalpractice and professional liability insurance, and disability and health insurance programs available through the AOA Excel.
  
Fun fact: AOA members make 10% more than non-members! Hope to see you all next year at OM 2020 in Washington DC, June 24-28, 2020.

Whitney Fahrman, O.D.
1st Vice President

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Join Us in Blazing New Trails for Maryland Optometry

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

With Scope Expansion on the horizon, we need membership support more than ever. The Maryland Optometric Association (MOA) has recently appointed me to be the new Membership Chair. My name is Natalie Sukontasup, O.D. and I have been a member for the last 14 years of my career. I recently became more involved because I wanted to help with the scope expansion efforts. I am proud to report that we have had more members than ever before step up and really help propel our initiative over the finish line. However, our job is far from being done. We need your help to continue to grow our membership so we may continue to support our fellow Maryland Optometrists, but also lay a lasting footprint for our future members.

Over the next few months I will be attending many of the upcoming events and I look forward to meeting more of our members. I invite my fellow members to attend and reach out to me if you would like to become more involved. To the rest of my colleagues who are in the process of signing up, there is no better time to be a member. Please contact me at drsukon@firstsightvisioncare.comI will be more than happy to speak with you about the benefits of being a MOA member. There is so much to be done and we need your help. Join us in blazing a new direction in this pivotal time for Maryland Optometry.

Natalie Sukontasup, O.D.
MOA Membership Chair

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