Advocacy Updates

The American Optometric Association Advocacy Group publishes weekly updates and information about the most important topics that directly affect our members and their practices. 

April 18, 2014:

What new Medicare data means for ODs

Optometrists who serve Medicare patients take note: Patients now have access to a large data set that might include what Medicare services and procedures you got paid for in 2012-and the amounts.

April 11, 2014:

Get answers to your questions on ACA implementation

As the Affordable Care Act reaches an important milestone date, the AOA's Third Party Center (TPC) will update members on what changes are afoot in ACA implementation-and what they should prepare for-in a webinar.

April 4, 2014:

New Law Gives ODs More Time to Prepare for ICD-10 Transition

Implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) family of diagnostic and procedural codes has been delayed for at least one year thanks to a new law which prevents the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from implementing the massive new code set before Oct. 1, 2015.

March 28, 2014:

U.S. House Approves One-Year Medicare Pay Patch, Year-Long ICD-10 Deadline Delay

The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation yesterday that would avert a massive Medicare pay cut targeting ODs and other physicians and push back the implementation deadline for the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) family of diagnostic and procedural codes.

March 21, 2014:

AOA Third Party Center Offers Helpful Tools for Practice Growth

The American Optometric Association (AOA) has long been concerned that the vision plan models, as they were developed many years ago, fail to take into account how optometrists are practicing today.   After all, it is thanks to the efforts of countless ODs working to enact legislation backed by the state optometric associations and the AOA that the scope of optometric practice has expanded tremendously.   

March 14, 2014:

AOA Member Resources Highlight Sunshine Act Implications, Dispel Myth of Ban on Corporate Support

In an attempt to increase transparency with regard to financial relationships that exist between health care product manufacturers and physicians, new federal rules now require certain manufacturers to publicly report payments or other transfers of value made to optometrists and other physicians as well as teaching hospitals. 

March 7, 2014:

Days after Acknowledging Broad Reach of Harkin Law, White House Extends ACA Compliance Delay for Certain Health Plans

Last week, the White House made public an official response in which Principal Deputy Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Jonathan Blum, essentially mirrored the interpretation of the landmark provider non-discrimination (Harkin) law shared by the AOA and the provision's lead champion in Congress - Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.

February 28, 2014:

CMS Administrator Says No to ICD-10 Deadline Delay

Yesterday, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicated that providers and others can look for no relief from the looming Oct. 1 compliance deadline for the nationwide conversion to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, (ICD-10) family of diagnostic and procedural codes.

February 21, 2014:

AOA Members-Only Summary Highlights Growing List of ICD-10 and other Coding Resources

In response to increased interest among AOA members in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, (ICD-10) and other important coding issues, the AOA has released a members-only summary of the growing list of ICD-10 and other coding resources now available to all AOA members. 

February 14, 2014:

AOA Safeguards Optometry's Physician Status as Lawmakers Merge Competing SGR Replacement Bills

Legislation aimed at repealing and replacing Medicare's flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula was formally introduced into Congress last week after lawmakers announced that the three committees working on separate legislative efforts for nearly a year had at last reached a deal on a bipartisan and bicameral plan.

February 7, 2014:

PQRS and EHR Meaningful Use Deadlines Approaching for 2013 Programs

AOA reminds optometrists seeking to earn incentive payments for the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the 2013 Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program that claims must be submitted and attestation completed by Friday, February 28, 2014. 

January 31, 2014:

PQRS and EHR Meaningful Use Deadlines Approaching for 2013 Programs

AOA reminds optometrists seeking to earn incentive payments for the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the 2013 Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program that claims need to be submitted and attestation completed by Friday, February 28, 2014.

January 24, 2014:

Congress Strengthens Harkin Law, Boosts Nondiscrimination

Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives took decisive steps last week to uphold full implementation of the Harkin law, the landmark provider nondiscrimination provision backed by the AOA.

January 17, 2014:

AOA Advocacy in Action 2014

From protecting optometry's physician status in Medicare to fighting health plan-forced discounts, AOA Advocacy is off to a strong start in 2014. And, with many key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) having just gone into effect, the already-high levels of activity are sure to be on this rise. Here are the leading advocacy headlines for the opening days of 2014.

January 10, 2014:

Growing Media Spotlight on Flawed Pediatric Dental Benefit Confirms Aptness of Pediatric Vision Benefit 

When parents sign up for new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), their children will be guaranteed access to optometrists for much-needed eye care. This is true no matter what state they live in and which plans they buy under the new law - key points that separate the pediatric optometric care benefit from other "essential" benefits.