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

 

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#HealthyMarylandEyes

Posted By MOA Admin, Thursday, January 23, 2020

#HealthyMarylandEyes

Corinne Casey, OD, FAAO
PR Committee Co-Chair

 

The Healthy Maryland Eyes Reception at the Lowe House Building in Annapolis was a well-attended and spirited event to kick off our year of eye and vision care awareness. Maryland optometrists and members of the Lions Club gathered to educate legislators and other attendees about the role of optometry in healthcare. Many representatives donated glasses to the Lions Club Recycle for Sight program, with a close #EyeGiveBack2020 competition between the contributing Delegates and Senators.   

 

 

Our eye-healthy food display featured salmon, Mediterranean cuisine, pistachios rich in lutein, and other snacks full of antioxidants. Even more popular than our attractive refreshments was the live Optomap demonstrations. Our guests gained a greater understanding of eye-care beyond 20/20 vision once they got to see their fundus images up close. We could not have had the same impact without the generous help from Michael Emery of Optos, who volunteered his time and equipment to demonstrate and explain how optometrists evaluate the retina. If you know him, please thank him for his support! 

 

 

Attendees were also intrigued to learn statistics about children's vision, systemic disease manifestations in the eyes, and the prevalence of ocular health disparities among certain populations. Several representatives asked for follow up information - their interest piqued with new awareness of potential eye and vision needs in their communities.  On the heels of this reception, now would be an opportune time for each of us to personally reach out to our representatives and offer them an eye exam in the spirit of the year 2020!

 

 

Up next, the MOA is bringing comprehensive eye exams to children who failed their screenings in Howard County schools. While researching statistics to share with legislators, I personally was alarmed and disappointed (although not necessarily surprised) to learn that 61% of students who fail vision screenings never follow up with a provider for further evaluation.  Moreover, many individuals with undiagnosed vision problems are left with a false sense of security after passing a pediatrician, school, or DMV screening. These tests can miss more than they can catch, and only check 4% of what we examine during a routine exam.  Because of these concerns, the MOA is dedicating the year 2020 to fostering awareness about the importance of comprehensive eye care as part of routine health maintenance for all Marylanders. Help us communicate this message by volunteering at an outreach event, such as the upcoming Beyond 2020 Eye Clinic, or asking a local business to take the #2020EyeExam Employer Pledge.  

 

 

Please contact the MOA to share your interests and ideas for #HealthyMarylandEyes community outreach or education. With strong membership involvement we can accomplish more for our state!

 


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Membership: SEE What's in Store for 2020!

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Membership:
SEE What's in Store in 2020!

Natalie Sukontasup, O.D.

MOA Membership Committee Chair

 

Happy New Year to all our Members! What an exciting year to be a part of the MOA. The association is busy gearing up for what will be a full year of advocacy, outreach and education. 


Welcome Members! 

Make sure to go to www.marylandoptometry.org and update your profile so you will continue to receive important communications. Stay connected and meet new colleagues through various MOA-sponsored social media channels like the private Maryland OD Forum and Young ODs of Northern VA/DC/MD groups on Facebook. And, make sure to "like" the MOA Facebook page to see our latest pictures and initiatives. 


Stay Up to Date on National News

AOA’s daily First Look email is a great member benefit that provides important news and trend information relevant to the profession. Make sure you are receiving these emails. 


Make sure you're covered! 

I’ve mentioned in past newsletters that the AOA provides competitive rates for malpractice insurance, but did you know that they also offer our members free policy reviews? With our recent scope expansion, it’s critical that your policy covers all of the newly added practice authorities, such as foreign body removal. In some policies this is classified as a surgical procedure, which may not be covered in your current policy. Take advantage of your member benefit and let the experts comb over your 500-page policy to ensure you are covered! 


Collect your Credits

Did you know that the AOA Optometry's Meeting is coming to National Harbor on June 24-28? Here’s a convenient location to get some continuing education credits, and consider bringing your team. Save as much as $440 as a full conference AOA member attendee. Keep a lookout for additional info about networking receptions for members planning to attend. 


Not local enough for you? Several MOA societies are planning smaller meetings for the Spring and Fall that will include a Foreign Body Removal Workshop. Keep an eye out for more information on this. 


Young OD and Student Loan Refinancing

Are you looking to refinance your student loan? The AOA offers a 0.25% automatic loan rate reduction. Their experts can answer all of your refi questions from how your spouse’s credit score may affect your rate, to what the difference is between fixed and variable rates. 


Member Spotlights

We will begin spotlighting our fellow colleagues in the next membership update. Click here to contact me if you would like to nominate someone to spotlight or highlight a colleague you trust with your specialty referrals.

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Cheers to a New Year!

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Cheers to a New Year!

Jennifer Kungle, O.D., F.C.O.V.D.

MOA Secretary/Treasurer

 

As we wind down another busy year here at the MOA and for me personally, it is a tradition of mine to make goals for the new year. I always try to make some personal goals which usually stem around the usual items of exercising more, improving my nutrition, or simply drinking more water! But besides my personal goals, I like to sit down and come up with my top 5 professional goals for the coming year. I encourage you all to do the same as you ponder our upcoming year of vision, "20/20". Maybe your goals will be related to the business aspects of optometry, like creating new policies or systems to enhance patient care or staff productivity; or maybe this is the year that you decide to increase your volunteer hours to use your time and talents to help those less fortunate; or maybe your goals are centered around personal growth like attending a new continuing education conference or diving into a new specialty that has always interested you (low vision, ortho-K). I personally love to take on new topics and expand my knowledge on how to help my growing, diverse patient population. It is for this reason that I try every year or two to attend a conference outside the field of optometry. It is fascinating to see how other professionals tackle similar issues from a completely different perspective. You will be amazed at what you can learn by simply listening to others share their points of view on a similar subject. I have also decided this is the year to go on another VOSH mission. I am excited to be joining the South Dakota VOSH team as we travel to Mexico in February.

While you may not be interested in traveling abroad, there are several volunteer opportunities with the MOA coming up in the next several months. We would love to have your support in providing eye exams to youth in Howard County on either February 29-March 1 or March 7-8 - click here to volunteer, or to help us with our Healthy Maryland Eyes Reception in Annapolis with legislators on January 16th - click here to sign up.

As for the MOA, we also make goals for the organization. For those of you who filled out our MOA Census in the previous months - we thank you. Your opinion on topics that we should tackle is very helpful in allowing the Board to set our goals for the coming years. The passing of our scope bill was our big-ticket goal for many years. Now that we can check this one off, we are excited about addressing other pertinent issues that affect you and your patients in the coming years.
If you haven't yet completed our census, please click on the link below and give us your feedback. We would love your input to help us grow the MOA and optometry in Maryland.

Click here to complete the MOA 2020 Provider Census Survey!

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The Year of the Eye

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Year of the Eye

Corinne Casey, OD

PR Committee Co-Chair

 

As 2019 comes to an end, it’s time to set our eyes on 2020! The MOA is launching a year-long PR campaign to provide education about the value and importance of comprehensive eye care. We need the optometric community to help us reach Maryland citizens and legislators. Here are two ways to contribute to our public health outreach campaign:

1. Attend or spread the word about our first event: Healthy Maryland Eyes – 2020 and Beyond. This reception for local legislators is a great way for Maryland optometrists to connect with the lawmakers who supported our historic scope expansion. In addition to displaying visual infographics about common eye conditions, this event will feature an Optomap to demonstrate how we evaluate the retina for ocular and systemic conditions. Legislators will be offered educational material and refreshments featuring ocular nutrition. This event is a great opportunity for all Maryland optometrists to connect with your local representatives. A few hours of your time will help educate legislators about the future of comprehensive eye care for all Marylanders. Sign up here.

Can’t attend? Click here to find your local representatives and email them a personal invitation to this reception. Here is a sample email and the flyer to share event information.

2. The MOA would like to share patient testimony to highlight Marylanders’ first-hand experience from their comprehensive eye exams. Patient stories will be featured on social media spotlights and at community outreach events. Patients who share their stories before 2/20/2020 will be entered in a raffle for a $50 Visa gift card. Click here for a downloadable handout for patients to use to share their testimony or they can use this link.

For the holiday season, giving a few moments of your time will help our professional community better serve the greater Maryland community.

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Review of Evidence-Based Guidelines

Posted By MOA Admin, Thursday, December 12, 2019

Review of Evidence-Based Guidelines

Vicky Wong, OD

MOA 1st Vice President

This Fall, after two years of clinical review by the AOA’s Evidence-Based Optometry Committee, 31 actions for doctors of optometry were released to better enhance the care we provide patients with diabetes. Recommendations are based on hundreds of articles and vary for type 1 versus type 2 diabetes, and individuals at risk of associated vision loss. 

Keeping up with standards of care aligns with Maryland Optometry’s recent scope expansion and upkeep appropriate medical decision making we have not had to encounter for quite some time! Public and economic burden was a key point in the argument in the legislature this past session; it was estimated at $400 billion on the national level. Additionally, the guideline reinforces the efficacy of a timely diagnosis, intervention, and determination of appropriate referral, as well as provides information on the ocular consequences of diabetes and vision rehabilitation services available for diabetes-related vision loss. This is the latest update since 2012 which was necessary due to ongoing updates in diagnostic technology, treatments, and tertiary care.

One of the updates indicates a “strong recommendation” level of awareness and usage of Anti-VEGF treatments prior to any macular edema noted on proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

“This updated evidence-based guideline provides doctors of optometry with recommendations for the timely diagnosis and appropriate care of these patients,” says AOA President Barbara L. Horn, O.D. “A handy reference, it should be in the practice of every doctor of optometry and any health professional who manages the care of patients with diabetes.”


Healthy Maryland Eyes 
Beyond 2020
2020 Campaign Launch (Annapolis, MD - Jan 16)


Evidence-Based Education For Legislators

On Thursday, January 16, MOA will launch its 2020 PR campaign Healthy Maryland Eyes - 2020 and Beyond at a reception for State legislators at the Lowe House Building in Annapolis from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM. In addition to displaying visual infographics about common ocular conditions, this event will feature an Optomap on-site to demonstrate how we evaluate the retina for ocular and systemic conditions. Reception guests will be offered educational material, delicious eye healthy food and campaign giveaways. This is a great opportunity for Maryland optometrists to reach out to their local representatives and invite them to learn more about our profession. Click here to find your local representatives and please email them a reminder about the event, encouraging them to attendVolunteers are needed to attend the reception to meet and greet their Senator and Delegate(s) in person. Just 1-2 hours of your time will help educate legislators and improve Maryland Optometry for doctors and patients alike. Please sign up today by clicking HEREDirect inquires about the event to Cheryl Frazier at cfrazier@marylandoptometry.org and stay tuned for more information about the Healthy Maryland Eyes campaign.


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I'm Back..News From a FAR

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I'm Back...News From a FAR

John Burns, OD

MOA Past President

 

It is hard to believe my presidency ended 6 years ago. As I’m sure was the case for many MOA past presidents, one of my goals when I took office was scope expansion. Well, it took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I am overjoyed that leadership did not give up - persistence pays!

Now we need to look nationally, and help the AOA protect the profession moving forward. For this reason, I have agreed to become the new MOA FAR. What is a FAR you ask?

Federal Advocacy Representative. In this role, I will act as the liaison between Maryland and the AOA on all federal legislative issues concerning optometry. Please help me fight for the passage of AOA backed legislation before congress this Session by reaching out to your legislators to ask for their support of the two bills listed below: AOA makes communicating with your legislator easy, just visit the AOA website Action Center. (Login Required)

DOC Access Bill -- Dental and Optometric Care (DOC) Access Act

Sponsored by: Reps. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Buddy Carter (R-GA)

Purpose: Combat abusive insurer practices in the federally-regulated vision and dental coverage markets.

Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act (H.R. 3975)

Sponsors: Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) have introduced

Purpose: Make the contact lens prescription verification process simpler and safer for millions of Americans.

My other two important jobs as your new FAR are AOA PAC fundraising and ensuring Maryland has a good turnout during the annual AOA on the Hill Advocacy Day in D.C. 

I was amazed to see over 400 doctors at our Convention at the Gaylord earlier this month.  During the convention, we led a very successful MOA PAC fundraising campaign. This was needed to replenish our depleted State funds. It is imperative that we not forget the AOA PAC, so please do your part when I call to ask for 2020 PAC $s or grassroots lobbying support. 

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Being Thankful and Grateful

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Being Thankful and Grateful

Barbra Johnson, OD
CMOS President

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Many studies show that there is direct link between being Thankful and Grateful and your well-being. Our patients place their trust in our expert care. And this trust is truly something to honor and be both Thankful and Grateful for. Please take time to reflect on your special Optometric gifts that you use to share and provide care to your patients.
Gratitude is recognizing the bonus value for favorable things or positive life experiences.
A dictionary definition would be ‘gifts outweighing exchange’. And Thankfulness is the
simple warm feeling of being appreciative.
Gratitude is connected to a healthier life and greater happiness. It increases positive emotions, strengthens relationships, improves physical health and aids in the development of problem-solving skills (from research done by Dr. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. McCullough of the University of Miami (Harvard Health Publishing).
Below are a few examples of things that you may be Thankful or Grateful for;
• Family, Friends and Pets
• Coworkers, Staff and Patients
• Honoring your many natural blessings, especially your good health
• Celebrating good things; waking up to a wonderful Sunrise or experiencing a vivid Fall Sunset
• That your exercise routine was above and beyond your daily goal To increase your wellbeing, try to f
Try starting each day with this practice to receive its many benefits.
ind 3 things every day in your life to be Grateful for
and/or to give Thanks for and either honor them within or in a journal.
*Many Happy Thanksgiving Blessings to You and Your Family*

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Giving Thanks to Senator Pinsky

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Giving Thanks to Senator Pinsky

Dean Gogerdchi, OD

MOA President




This past Thursday evening, members from across the State gathered in Edgewater, MD at an event in honor of Senator Paul Pinsky, Chairman of the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee. A long time friend of Maryland Optometry, Chairman Pinsky has acted fair and objectively as the voice of reason in what has often felt like a never ending war with ophthalmology and medicine to expand our scope of practice. He was our Senate scope expansion bill sponsor and the recipient of this year's V. Eugene McCrary Award. No words can express our thanks for all he has done to advance the profession and improve access to optometric care for Maryland patients. MOA continues to maintain and grow our relationships with our leaders and legislators in Annapolis. 2020 looks to be a huge year for Maryland Optometry. We are hosting the first ever "Optometry Day in Annapolis" on Thursday, January 16 in the House of Delegates building. Our goal is to educate lawmakers and advocate on behalf of the profession and our patients. We must stay relevant in this fast-paced era of healthcare reform, especially with so many new faces in our legislative body. If you are interested in participating or helping organize Optometry Day in Annapolis, we could use your help! Please shoot me a quick email with your contact info to gogerdchi@gmail.com.


Many thanks to all those who attended the Thursday event in support of
Chairman Paul Pinsky!

Dr. Brian Chado
Dr. Corinne Casey
Drs. Dean & Genevieve Gogerdchi
Dr. Diane Serex-Dougan

Easton Eye Care
Dr. Fred Sirotkin
Dr. Heather Atcherson
Ms. Jennifer Cohen
Dr. Jennifer Kungle
Dr. Jerry Wassel
Mr. John Stierhoff
Dr. Judy Hu
Dr. Karen Norman
Dr. Kevin Johnson
Dr. Kevin King
Ms. Marta Harding
Dr. Michael Davis
Dr. Natalie Sukontasup
Drs. Nina & Drew Doyle
Dr. Richard Barnstein
Dr. Rob Stutman
Drs. Rose Susel & Perry Lucente
Dr. Ross Bregel
Dr. Thomas Brown 
Dr. Timothy Madgar
Dr. Vicky Wong
Dr. Whitney Fahrman

 

 

 


MOA PRESENTS 2020 CERTIFICATION
ONLINE COURSE

(BOE-APPROVED)
 
PRICING$350 - Members | $450 - Non-Members

The course content, which was filmed during our July Conference, will be presented on-demand as five 2-hour segments. Learners will have access to downloadable course handouts. At the conclusion of the 10-hours, there will be a 30 question open book post-test with a passing rate of 70%. For their records, learners will receive a certificate of completion from the online learning platform. MOA will report completion of the course to the BOE on behalf of each learner. The online course is expected to be available in the latter part of December. Pre-registered doctors will receive the link to view the course via email when it becomes available.

Please contact info@marylandoptometry.org with any questions.

 

REGISTER NOW

(Login REQUIRED for Member Pricing )


Public Health Outreach

 

This Spring, the MOA Education Foundation vision health outreach program, Beyond 20/20, will provide FREE eye exams and glasses to underserved Howard County students who have failed their school vision screening. Beyond 20/20 outreach will occur over two weekends (Sat-Sun, Feb 29-March 1 & March 7-8) at Howard High SchoolVolunteers are needed for all four service days to cover five exam lanes inside of the school and one lane in the VSP Mobile Eye Clinic. Service hours will be from 9am to 4pm, divided into two 3-hour doctor shifts (9am to 12pm | 1pm to 4pm). Approval pending by the State Board of Examiners, each 3-hour shift will provide doctor volunteers with one non-TPA CE credit hour toward Maryland license renewal. To ensure Beyond 20/20 has adequate doctor coverage, we are scheduling doctor volunteers using the SignUpGenius website. Please help us give back to the community as a Beyond 20/20 doctor volunteer. Click HERE to sign up for any shift(s) that you are available. Questions about the Program should be directed to Beyond 20/20 Project Manager, Ms. Catherine Carter via email or phone at (310) 693-4469. 

Beyond 20/20 is supported by a 2019 Healthy Eyes Healthy Children (HEHC) grant award from the AOA Foundation, Optometry Cares®, made possible by HEHC sponsors, Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF)Healthy Eyes Advantage, and EyeCare Partners. EVF provides support of no cost glasses through the Changing Life through Lenses program. Additional support for the Program has been provided by VSP Global with the supply of equipment, its mobile eye clinic and Charity Care vouchers. We thank all Program supporters and participating local practices like Barenburg Eye for agreeing to see Beyond 20/20 patients one office day a month. If your practice if interested in participating, please contact Ms. Carter for information.


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All Eyes on Halloween

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, November 20, 2019

All Eyes on Halloween

 

Whitney Fahrman

1st Vice President

 

It’s that time of year again...you guessed it, Halloween contact lens associated eye problems. I hope none of your patients decide to wear illegal Halloween contacts. However, of all the decorative contact lens wearers, 26% purchased them illegally. We all know the dangers of Halloween contacts that were not fitted to the eye. There are also many counterfeit decorative contacts out there, too. The FDA did a case report on such contacts in 2017 and found that 60% of the counterfeit lenses tested positive for microbacterial contamination that is commonly found in hospital wastewater or spoiled food. They also specificity found Pseudomonas and Bacillus cereus in these counterfeit lenses. So we all need to try and educate our patient populations about the dangers of illegal Halloween contacts.  


Click Here for a PSA on Halloween contacts from the AOA.


Halloween eye safety tips from the AOA:  https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/eye-safety-tips-for-halloween


Report illegal contact lens sale to the AOA via https://www.aoa.org/advocacy/federal-advocacy/regulatory-issues/fclca/report-cls-violation


If you have questions about illegal contact lens sales you can email the AOA at StopIllegalCLs@aoa.org


Report a website selling illegal contact to the FDA here: https://www.fda.gov/safety/report-problem/reporting-unlawful-sales-medical-products-internet


Report adverse effects from illegal contacts to the FDA here:  https://www.fda.gov/safety/report-problem


I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!

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Convention Highlights

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Convention Highlights

Jenny Chan, OD

Greater Baltimore Optometric Society, President

 

It was wonderful to see so many of our colleagues at the MOA Annual Convention this year. For those of you who were not able to join us, here are the highlights:


ELECTION OF MOA 2020 OFFICERS

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

 

President:Dean Gogerdchi, OD

President-Elect:Whitney Fahrman, OD

First VP:Vicky Wong, OD

Second VP:Natalie Sukontasup, OD

Sec/Treasurer:Jennifer Kungle, OD

Immediate Past President:Kevin Johnson, OD



 
BOE UPDATE: Board of Examiners' President, Dr. Andrew Doyle, provided a summary of the new laws and regulations that will impact Maryland ODs related to scope expansion and new State licensure requirements. More details are available HERE
 
Our next steps forward as optometrists in Maryland depend largely on YOU! The MOA is working on setting our legislative agenda for 2020 and beyond. Please, help us make important decisions about the future of Maryland Optometry by completing this
We want your input!
 
Scope expansion has been a long, arduous, and EXPENSIVE endeavor - one that has depleted MOA PAC funds to an all-time low. Please help our advocacy efforts, as we fight to continue to move the profession forward. Isn't your future worth $1 a day? Unless you can honestly answer no, I ask you to consider making a $365 annual PAC Donation Today!

Finally, I am excited to announce that...REGISTRATION FOR THE MOA ONLINE SCOPE EXPANSION COURSES NOW OPEN(BOE-APPROVED)

PRICING: $350 - Members | $450 - Non-Members

 

Need Renewal Credits for 2020?- Convention Attendees get $100 Coupon Off Reg Price!

REGISTER NOW

(Login REQUIRED for Member Pricing )

***Convention Attendee Discount Code (email will be sent next week)


 

CONGRATS 2019 AWARD WINNERS

 


Top: (left to right): Dr. Corinne Casey, Young OD of the Year | Dr. Josh Gordon OD of the Year

Bottom: (left to right): Dr. Alan Bishop, Mel Waxman Award| Sen. Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee Chairman - Senator Paul Pinsky (2019 Scope Bill Sponsor) V. Eugene McCrary Award

 

 

RECOGNIZING MARYLAND OPTOMETRY's

"UNSUNG" M.D. HEROES

Thank you for your in-person testimony in support of our 2017 and/or 2019 scope legislation

 

Left to RightDrs. Tom Walsh, Robert Loeb, Sam Boles, (MOA President Kevin Johnson) and Scott LaBorwit


Thank You 2019 Convention Sponsors!

Breakfast Lunch Victory Party Young OD Reception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2019 Convention Highlights