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2020-The Year of the Optometrist

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Year To Remember
 

Jennifer Cohen
Executive Director

 

It seems fitting that Maryland Optometry will FINALLY move into the 21st century next year in 2020 -- after all, it is the "Year of the Optometrist!" 

For most Maryland ODs, the 2020 scope expansion will be MONUMENTAL. Not only will the new law expand OD authority, but it will also vastly improve patient access to eye care services throughout our State. 

By now, most ODs are aware of the 2019 Board of Examiners' NEW regulations related to licensure application and renewal CE requirements. If you are among the few who are not aware of these important changes, please read THIS asap. All MOA live Scope Course Certification attendees (Hagerstown & Convention) should note their attendance at either meeting satisfies the new BOE renewal regulation requirement that licensees have at minimum 10-hrs of LIVE in-State CE. For those who have not been able to attend/register for either of our Live courses, the MOA plans to release it's online scope expansion course (WHICH HAS ALREADY BEEN APPROVED BY THE BOE FOR CREDIT) in mid-December. It will be very reasonable priced and the mandated test (per the BOE) will be open book. STAY TUNED -- pricing and registration info will be released imminently. *Please note that only courses approved by the BOE will be accepted under the new law for TPA license maintenance.

2019 has been a great year for the MOA and Maryland Optometry. MOA has witnessed growth in membership, Committee/member involvement and this year's Convention will be HISTORIC -- the largest in MOA history (500+ doctors and exhibitors in attendance)!!! Over the next two weeks leading up to the Convention, MOA will send out emails to registrants with important information to ensure the meeting goes smoothly. Please check your email and plan to arrive EARLY on Saturday morning to register, as the Program will begin promptly at 8:00 AM. Early registration is also available on Friday for guests staying at the hotel from 5:00 - 8:00 PM. Want to expedite your Saturday morning registration? MOVE TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE and receive a FREE GIFT at the same time by filling out this 2020 OD Census Survey prior to October 29. Doing so will cut your wait time on Saturday morning in half and will also help the MOA determine future goals/initiatives (legislative, insurance, membership, otherwise.) It's a WIN-WIN SCENARIO, so what are you waiting for - CLICK HERE NOW to take the survey!

Lastly, I would be remiss not to recognize the many sponsors of this year's historic Convention. MOA thanks each of them for their support of our Association and Maryland Optometry.

Breakfast Lunch Victory Party Young OD Reception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Legislation and Patient Education: From the Ground Up

Posted By MOA Admin, Thursday, October 10, 2019

Legislation and Patient Education: From the Ground Up
 

Corinne Casey, OD
MOA Legislative Committee Co-Chair

 

2020 will be a banner year for Maryland optometry. Not only will we elevate care for our patients with a broader scope of practice, but this is our year to better inform the public about eye and vision health. As optometrists, we have the opportunity to connect with and educate members of our community at every patient encounter. Beyond informing patients about their eye and vision needs, we need to continuously communicate our role as health care providers to our local lawmakers.

At the recent AOA State Government Relations/Third Party National Conference in Dallas, Texas, leaders in optometry from every state gathered to discuss recent legislative successes and shortcomings. The pivotal factor was the same for each story: grassroots engagement. Building genuine relationships with local government representatives is critical for our profession’s continued advancement and efforts to optimize patient care. The volunteer time and PAC donations involved in maintaining these relationships are vital investments in our “Practice Insurance”. Yet each of us can begin to make a meaningful impact right from our exam rooms, with the power of education.

Heading into the year 2020, consider taking grassroots actions in these two ways:

1) Discover your local legislators at mdelect.net. Then find and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Reach out to introduce yourself as a constituent. Invite them to tour your office and make sure they have had an eye exam! Educate them on what optometry is and is not, and how we too serve their constituents.
2) Educate the patient in your exam chair. Emphasize the medical components of our evaluations. Display or present patient information through handouts, webpage links, or tech-savvy QR codes in the office. The AOA has an extensive selection of pamphlets, displays, and videos for patient education here. Better yet, you can order FREE contact lens safety posters from the CDC here.

State and national legislative efforts involving scope, insurance plans, and access to care all depend on the grassroots connections we make in the office and in our community. The MOA is dedicated to educating patients, health care professionals, and the local government about the importance of routine comprehensive eye care by an optometrist. Make 2020 the year we achieve this vision from the ground up!

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The Private Equity Option – What’s the Deal?

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Private Equity Option – What’s the Deal? 

Alan Glazier, OD

MOA 2st Vice President 

 

Over the past umpteen years I’ve been approached on several different occasions to sell my practice. None occurred at the right time, were the right fit or both. Fortunately, I’m relatively young, have time on my side and didn’t have to sell – I had the luxury of being able to wait for the right “fit”. For me “right fit” meant a continuation of the legacy of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care; one that aligns with my personal and professional goals and one that is good for the profession which I love. With a large medical model practice, I felt I wasn’t a good fit for some of the retail-focused PE roll-ups. Different sellers have different goals so PE exit might be better for some and not for others.


What is PE? PE stands for “private equity”. It is when a concept to bring practices together is funded by investors with the goal of growing the business and selling it at a higher price in approximately 5 years after formation. PE companies don't want to buy every practice, just certain practices with certain profits and operational models. There is a lot of “sky is falling” negativity in discussions about PE groups buying optometry practices but I assure you it is just that. When PE companies come into areas and buy practices, they aren’t in the market to buy all practices - remaining younger practices alone to grow and mature as the mature practices did. This benefits smaller practices because it creates a vacuum of practices, creating more opportunities for smaller practices. This happened in my area when I had a smaller practice and MyEyeDr started. They ate up most of the independents in the area, leaving me and just a few others and the “independent loyalist” patients who didn’t want to go to MyEyeDr found the remaining independents, benefitting their practices. This cycle has continued since the 1980s.

Twenty-five years of blood, sweat, and tears and I am no longer in the Captain’s chair. I sold my practice to a private equity company, Keplr Vision almost a year and a half ago. There were many reasons I sold at the time I did, most of them were to optimize my sale price and take risk off the table at a young enough age where the money I banked had time to grow in investments while I continued to work. Also, prices for practices are at a zenith currently. Another factor was the type of company; Keplr’s model is supportive of the full scope medical Optometry model while maintaining a high standard of patient care throughout the office; one that keeps my brand and mission intact – what I call a “legacy exit”; it was different from the models that had approached me before. I saw an opportunity to get in on the ground floor and help build something that I could be proud of being part of.

An important point to make and something I learned was that the price you get is JUST as important as you get the life you want to live after as part of the deal. People tend to focus on the cash value, but if you're miserable afterward and are locked in with "golden handcuffs" to a job where you are being pushed to produce it might not be worth it. If your PE deal doesn't allow you to negotiate price AND job length and responsibilities afterwards you might want to give it a second thought because what good is it to have money in the bank if you are unhappy with your life after.

Currently, new grads and young ODs have trouble finding jobs that enable them to fully utilize their medical eye care training, much less encourage it. The Keplr model creates full-scope optometry employment opportunities for young ODs. The Their model ensures new and young ODs will have greater opportunity to find employment in a setting that encourages practicing to the full scope of their training and licensure, as opposed to having only options that are more refractive in nature, where the doctor is subject to the administration of a retail office manager. I’m excited for this new phase of my career and ready to do my part to build something I can be proud of while achieving my lifetime goals instead of settling for what’s available.

PE exits are a good option for some, not a good option for others and not an option at all for many. Listening to “The sky is falling” myth about PE groups might result in missing a great opportunity so be careful to evaluate every opportunity when it comes to considering the sale of your practice. Write down your goals, both financial and how you want your life to look like after and match that up with what seems best for you. Consider the market; are practice valuations high or low? If low you might choose to wait for the next cycle. As far as I’m concerned I built my practice with my family in mind so ensuring I was doing what was right for them was paramount in my decision, combined with the pricing, the life-after considerations and what was good for my staff, patients and legacy in that order. Based on our differing personal and professional goals as well as how we envision “life after” our practice sale we seek different types of exits. This is why it’s good to have options.

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Helping Children See Better

Posted By MOA Admin, Thursday, September 26, 2019

Helping Children See Better 

Whitney Fahrman, OD

MOA 1st Vice President 

Over the past few years, I’ve found myself prescribing low prescriptions to children due to difficulty with the smart board in the classroom. In the past, I would wait a year to see how the patient’s prescription would or wouldn’t progress. These children don’t complain of blurred vision in any other setting besides seeing the smart board. A study done in schools noted an average distance visual demand of 20/40. In 20% of the classrooms, the demand was approximately 20/32 or lower1. The smart board can have higher visual demands due to the width of the letters, the contrast of the letters, light levels, and target size. Glare and reduced visibility can be caused by light levels that are too high. One study showed that up to 10% of classrooms did not meet the minimum illumination levels2. If a child already has visual processing disorders, a smart board can exacerbate them. So with your young patients with a small prescription, make sure you ask if they have any difficulties seeing the smart board!

This year MOA received a Healthy Eyes Healthy Children grant (HEHC) from the Optometry Cares - AOA Foundation. We have partnered with the Howard County Health Department and Public School System to launch Beyond 20/20, a vision outreach program that will provide free comprehensive eye exams and glasses to students who fail mandatory school vision screenings. More information about Beyond 20/20 will be provided in the near future. We thank the AOA Foundation and HEHC partners for supporting this most worthy project and hope you will consider volunteering your time to help Howard County children in need see clearly.

                   

  


1. Negiloni, Kalpa; Ramani, Krishna Kumar; Sudhir, Rachapalle Reddi.  “Do school classrooms meet the visual requirements of children and recommended vision standards?”  PLOS ONE 04/03/2017

2. Narayanasamy, Sumithira; Vincent, Stephen J, Sampson, Geoff P.  “Visual demands in modern Australian primary school classrooms.”  Clinical and Experimental Optometry 02/17/16


2020 MOA Officer Candidate Slate

In accordance with Article III Section 3 of the MOA Bylaws, the recommended "slate of candidates" for 2020 MOA officer positions (found below) was submitted by the Nominating Committee to Dr. Jennifer Kungle, MOA Secretary/Treasurer, on September 19, 2019.  The election of, and official vote for, each officer position will occur at the Annual Meeting of the Association during lunch at the Annual Convention on Saturday, November 2. Additional nominations may be made by members provided they are submitted in writing, with the written consent of the nominee and received by the Secretary/Treasurer of the Association not less than ten (10) days in advance of the Annual Meeting date. Please send additional nominations to info@marylandoptometry.org  addressed to MOA Secretary/Treasurer Dr. Jennifer Kungle. 

NOTE: No candidate nominations will be accepted on the floor during the Annual Meeting.

  

2020 MOA Nominating Committee Recommended "Slate of Candidates":

 

 Immediate Past President - Dr. Kevin Johnson

President - Dr. Dean Gogerdchi

President Elect - Dr. Whitney Fahrman

First Vice President - Dr. Vicky Wong

Second Vice President - Dr. Natlie Sukontasup     

Secretary Treasurer - Dr. Jennifer Kungle     

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Keeping Up With Managed Care

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Keeping Up With Managed Care 

If you're like me, chances are you've had more than one of these phone calls with a managed care company: you spent way too much time on hold, didn't get the answer you were looking for, and worst of all, end up looking bad in the eyes of the patient because of an error on their end. You hang up the phone thinking, isn't there a better way? Wasn't there a simpler time?   

Over the past few decades, the eye care industry has experienced increased synergy among managed care companies and other titans such as frame retailers and lens suppliers, leading to vertically integrated operations and supply chains. More recently with the combination of Davis Vision and Superior Vision, Versant Health became the largest administrator of Medicaid vision benefits in the country. With offices right here in our backyard, they currently serve over 33 million people nationwide. The players just keep getting bigger and bigger.

You may remember that prior to our recent scope battle, the MOA passed landmark legislation as one the first states in the country that restricted loopholes created by managed care companies intended to discount non-covered services. The MOA continues to stay ahead of managed care and third party matters. This month, MOA members Dr. Perry Lucente and Dr. Corinne Casey will attend the AOA's State Government Relations and Third Party Committee Conference in Dallas, TX. This biennial conference serves to update state leaders on managed care and third party issues, as well as core principles of advocacy in those areas.  

With scope legislation in our rearview mirror, we look forward to our new legislative agenda. We promise to keep our relationships with legislators in Annapolis strong, with the help of our Key OD Network. Fall fundraisers are kicking into full swing, if you get an email from me asking you to attend a political event in your area, please say yes!
 
Dean Gogerdchi, OD
MOA President Elect

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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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12/31/2019 » 10/31/2020
Maryland 2020 Certification - Online

2019 Convention Highlights