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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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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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