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. 

October 31, 2014:

Optometry makes push for inclusion in GME overhaul

The AOA anticipates that Congress or federal agency officials may soon consider changes to the graduate medical education (GME) system. When this happens, the AOA will be at the table fighting for optometry-and inclusion in this program.

October 24, 2014:

AOA secures key position within FDA Network of Experts

AOA has secured a key slot affording optometry an important opportunity to contribute its medical expertise to the federal government. The AOA is now calling on members to get involved.

October 17, 2014:

Task Force issues new diabetes screening recommendation

A new recommendation on diabetes screenings could change the way health care professionals tackle a disease that affects a growing percentage of the American population.

October 10, 2014:

AOA calls antitrust protection before Supreme Court case

With a Supreme Court case looming that could affect how state boards regulate professions - including optometry - the AOA is taking action. The AOA contends that state optometry and other licensing boards should not be subjected to federal antitrust scrutiny and oversight.

October 3, 2014:

CMS releases Open Payments data on ODs, other doctors

Drug and device manufacturers paid optometrists approximately $965,000 in the latter part of 2013, according to an initial AOA analysis of public data released under the federal Open Payments program. This represents just a small percentage of the total payments made to doctors.

September 26, 2014:

AOA backs bill offering shorter EHR reporting period

Proposed legislation backed by the AOA would offer a shorter, more flexible reporting period for providers seeking to comply with the federal government's Meaningful Use (MU) program.

September 19, 2014:

AOA weighs in on future contact lens guidance

Microbial eye infections among contact lens wearers are on the rise in the United States and other countries.  To respond to this problem, the AOA has been working with the federal government and other eye care organizations to update guidance on contact lenses as medical devices and the testing of contact lens disinfection systems.

September 12, 2014:

AOA members have new opportunity to provide care to veterans

Health Net Federal Services, LLC (HNFS) is now recruiting highly qualified optometrists to join its Patient-Centered Community Care (PCCC) network of civilian providers.

September 5, 2014:

EHR rule provides flexibility, but doesn't go far enough

Revised Medicare regulations fail to adequately address the AOA's longtime request for more flexibility in electronic health record (EHR) programs. The AOA states the changes don't go far enough to assist most users of certified EHRs.

August 29, 2014:

DEA change means some ODs will lose power to prescribe hydrocodone combo products 

A more restrictive policy for hydrocodone combination products goes into effect Oct. 6. This gives ODs a new reason to advocate for their ability to prescribe these drugs in their respective states.

August 22, 2014:

Union changes policy to include ODs for medical services

A local union in Georgia has reversed its policy of non-payment to optometrists for medical services. AOA leaders say this victory comes thanks to a law the AOA has fought to enact and protect: the Harkin nondiscrimination provision.

August 15, 2014:

New data reflects achievements of pediatric vision benefit

The AOA's efforts to guarantee comprehensive pediatric eye health and vision care under the Affordable Care Act are paying off for millions of American kids.

August 8, 2014:

Advancing optometry's priorities during August recess

With Congress in recess in August, the AOA is urging federal advocacy leaders to connect with lawmakers back home to help advance optometry's priorities.  The AOA sent a grassroots "action pack" memo to more than 500 ODs with close ties to Senate and House members on Aug. 5.

August 1, 2014:

AOA president stands up for ODs and patients at Senate hearing

AOA President David A. Cockrell, O.D., voiced the concerns of optometrists and their patients at a contentious U.S. Senate hearing on July 30.  The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights subcommittee convened on Capitol Hill to hear complaints by an online contact lens seller about competition and pricing policies of manufacturers.

July 25, 2014:

Michigan ODs score win on prescribing law

Purchasing contact lenses and eyeglasses in the state of Michigan now requires a prescription from a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist.   Optometry achieved this win in early July when Gov. Rick Snyder signed the Eye Care Consumer Protection Act into law.

July 18, 2014:

Online contact lens reordering program concerns ODs

AOA members have concerns that an online process VSP Vision Care uses to reorder contact lenses could potentially undermine the doctor-patient relationship.
"In the past, many VSP patients chose to order lenses through a VSP doctor and apply their VSP benefits to that order," says AOA Vice President Andrea P. Thau, O.D. Recently, patients have been hearing about a program for ordering lenses through an online portal known as Eyeconic through the vision plan's newsletters and emails.