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Up-to-date info on MOA legislative advocacy efforts and issues impacting Maryland Optometry.

 

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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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CE into Summer

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Summer is almost officially here! The weather is lovely. What could be better? Here's what -- cruising with friends and colleagues while enjoying great food, drinks and walking away with 3 CE credit hours. Don't miss the boat, REGISTER for the 4th Annual Come Cruise with CMOS CE Meeting TODAY!

 

Registration Now Open

 

 

Calling all Young ODs!

Join the MOA and other new faces in 
Optometry on 
Sunday, June 30 for a 
BBQ, networking 
and fun
- location TBD. 

Contact Dr. Vicky Wong at 
vickywong@marylandoptometry.org for more info.

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Time To Celebrate

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, June 4, 2019

During my time on the Board, I have heard from many skeptical colleagues that we could not pass scope expansion and that they had accepted the status quo. But I am here and proud to say that we did pass major scope expansion legislation this year and we accomplished it methodically, strategically, diplomatically, and most important, professionally. This is an exciting time for Maryland Optometry, an opportunity to rebuild the camaraderie of what we all have in common as ODs. The MOA was successful at passing this piece of legislation through the teamwork, tenacity, and belief of its members and supporters. However, there are many other Maryland ODs that possess talents and skills to make the MOA and Maryland Optometry even stronger.

Maryland optometrists will now be able to independently treat open-angle glaucoma, order and perform diagnostic testing, remove foreign bodies from the cornea and conjunctiva without tool and visual axis restrictions, and new topical and oral prescribing authority that doesn't adhere to specific formularies. In addition, the cumbersome QEI (Quality Enhancement and Improvement) Program will be discontinued and allow ODs to focus on the best care of their patients. With these hurdles removed, optometrists can practice true primary care optometry that has been taught in the optometric universities for over 20 years. We will now be able to contribute in best clinical practices like our colleagues across the nation as an integral part of the healthcare system, improving patient outcomes and quality of life. 

With that said, I am excited to help organize the education program for this year's Annual Convention. The new law mandates that every State licensee receive a 10-hour Board Approved continuing education course focused on ocular disease management and pharmacology best practices in order to maintain a therapeutic (TPA) license. The course presented at this year's Convention (Board Approval pending) will showcase lectures from Drs. Sherrol Reynolds, Joseph Pizzimenti, and Carlo Pelino. Not only will the education be top notch, but thanks to the support of key industry partners and a fantastic venue, the 2019 Convention will be one to remember with a Saturday Victory Party celebration at the top of National Harbor! This is the time to support ALL ODs in Maryland and continue to build relationships with each other, industry partners, and legislators.  

 

Bryan M. Rogoff, OD, MBA, CPHM, FAAO
MOA Immediate Past-President

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MOA Membership...Priceless

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Membership is the lifeblood of any successful organization, especially ours. The MOA was able to pass scope expansion legislation during the 2019 MGA Session because of the strength of our membership. Maryland Optometry will grow as a result of this historic victory. Already this year, 12 new members have joined our family. Thank you! I'd like to take this time to acknowledge our new members and ask that you welcome them at future meetings:

Dr. Benjamin Azman Dr. Christina Generie Dr. Maria Nunez-Imholtz
Dr. Julie Cho Dr. Dawn Gill Dr. Purvi Patel
Dr. Sarah Franklin Dr. Phillip Liggins Dr. Cynthia Reynolds-Temple
Dr. Alan Friedman Dr. Christine McKimmie Dr. Eleanor Siri

 

I also want to thank and acknowledge the efforts MOA leadership team members, Dr. Natalie Sukontasup (Membership Chair) and Dr. Heather Atcherson (Young OD Committee Chair). Drs. Sukontasup and Atcherson have been instrumental in the growth of our membership and we cannot thank them enough.

As we continue to grow, it is our goal to represent ALL optometrists in Maryland. We happen to be a diverse State with doctors practicing in every modality. From sub-specialty to corporate to private practice OD, we all deserve to have our voice heard. MOA seeks to advocate for, educate, and connect all of our members in the advancement of Maryland Optometry. We have a slew of upcoming events this summer and fall, and now is the time to become a MOA member. If you are not already take advantage of our 2020 new member package* and get connected today (*some restriction apply, please contact info@marylandoptometry.org for more information).

CLICK HERE to join.



Dean Gordgerchi, O.D.
MOA President-Elect

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We are the MOA

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, May 21, 2019
It may have taken 20 years, but Maryland Optometry is about to enter the 21st century. Although a welcome change, scope expansion will require adaptation to a new environment for us all...including the MOA. As a professional association, it is imperative that MOA "seize the moment" to become a better, stronger, more effective organization. To this end, we plan to dig deep and reevaluate our business model to ensure that we bring the most value possible to members, today and tomorrow. To do this effectively, we need a ROBUST LEADERSHIP, so please get involved. After all Together Everyone Achieves More!

 

 

Speaking of Leadership, please take a moment to vote for, and or nominate, candidates for 2019 MOA Awards. Every nominee this year is more than deserving and you can vote for more than one. However, winners from previous years are ineligible. Only Maryland licensed ODs may vote and the nomination deadline is fast approaching (Sept 1). Show your appreciation for your peers who helped make a difference this year with your vote - it's just a click away. Award winners will be celebrated at our Scope Victory Party at this year's Annual Convention at the Gaylord Resort Conference Center "on top of the world" at the hotel's posh POSE Lounge on Saturday night (FREE ADMISSION for member and non-member OD registrants).

Finally, we have been receiving many questions about the required scope expansion course. Please know that the MOA has plans to offer the course (BOE Approval pending) more than once. All information about future course offerings will be publicized on June 3 after the next BOE Board Meeting. In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful weather.     

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The Value of Paraoptometric Staff

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Maryland's newly expanded Optometry Practice Act will likely cause practices throughout the State to reconsider their practice model. Medical optometry has arrived...and just in time! We continue to see more and more online and retail stores offering self-administered "exams" to patients with no doctor oversight. As practices begin to include more and more medical care into their service menu, the need for highly qualified, well-trained paraoptometric staff will grow. For Dr. Reed, the importance and value of paraoptometric staff is nothing new - their help saved his practice after emergency surgery, preventing a nearly devastating and unforeseen turnover. 
READ FULL STORY HERE

Get ahead of the curve and REGISTER YOUR PARAOPTOMETRIC STAFF today! It's a FREE AOA/MOA member benefit that will provide invaluable staff resources, training and certification (CPO, CPOA, CPOT). For more information about the AOA/MOA Paraoptometric Program, contact Ms. Rosie Lobley-VanZant atphillyfordchick@hotmail.com.

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7/28/2019
Come Cruise With CMOS

11/2/2019 » 11/3/2019
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