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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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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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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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2019 Convention Highlights