The AOA is Advocacy for ODs, 24/7/365

Fall Update

Rapid Response

The AOA has made the fight against forced discounts by vision plans on non-covered services and materials a top priority, and is actively assisting affiliates, including the Texas Optometric Association, in standing up to the latest bullying tactics by the plans.

Organized medicine and its allies, including some in the media, are increasing their attacks on optometry and trying to mislead government officials, corporations and consumers. With early warning help from concerned doctors and affiliate staff from across the country, the AOA is responding immediately, getting results and making sure Optometry has the last word.

The Latest on Obamacare

The new health care law seeks to provide health insurance coverage to tens of millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans, and it recognizes optometric care as essential. As the AOA Third Party Center aggressively advocates for Optometry with health plans, employers and consumers, it's also informing AOA members how to take advantage of coverage expansion opportunities.

Parents need to know more about the new Children's Optometric Essential Health Benefit, a required offering in new health plans in 2014. AOA members can access materials to begin educating families, medical colleagues, school administrators and teachers about essential eye health care and annual eye exams.

Monitoring Federal Agency Activity

The AOA's comments helped to shape the IRS's just announced overhaul of rules for Flexible Spending Accounts.

Law enforcement considerations are giving new momentum to a misguided FDA plan to reclassify Hydrocodone Combination Drugs. With the concerns of ODs, dentists and other providers being rejected, the AOA is working with impacted affiliates to explore other ways to safeguard prescribing authority.

At the urging of the AOA and with authority under the 2005 "Dr. Boozman Law" to regulate decorative contact lenses as a medical device, the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations partnered with the Department of Homeland Security on Operation Double Vision, a much-needed pre-Halloween crackdown on illegal contact lens importation and sales. During the partial government shutdown however, it was up to the AOA to act on complaints that national retailer Urban Outfitters was illegally selling decorative contact lenses online. The AOA confronted the CEO and didn't stop until the sales were stopped.

Being Heard on Capitol Hill

The AOA Board visit to the U.S. Capitol and Super Advocacy Conference overcame Washington gridlock and boosted support for the AOA on Capitol Hill.

The AOA has helped shape a bi-partisan proposal to permanently fix the broken Medicare physician payment system and avert a 24% Medicare cut on January 1st. With other plans likely to emerge as the deadline nears, the AOA will continue working to esure that OD physician status is fully protected in any bill that moves. AOA members can weigh in on this issue by using the Legislative Action Center.

After learning from the AOA and AFOS about an unfair proposal by military health officials to change the status of Air National Guard optometrists, Senator John Boozman, OD (R-AR) and other pro-optometry leaders in Congress contacted U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to urge its rejection.

For more information, AOA members can contact Jon Hymes, Washington Office Director, at 1-800-365-2219 / jfhymes@aoa.org.