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. 

November 21, 2014:

How to comply with PQRS requirements in 2015

Changes are coming for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). Participation in 2015 means avoiding a 2 percent cut to your Medicare payments in 2017.  Additionally, in 2015 bonuses will no longer be given for successful participation.

November 14, 2014:

AOA scores important wins in 2015 Medicare fee schedule

Medicare's 2015 physician fee schedule includes critical changes the AOA has fought for-provisions that will have a long-lasting impact on optometry and the delivery of medical eye care to Medicare patients.

November 7, 2014:

AOA leaves its mark on midterm elections

The AOA made its impact on the midterm elections. Making the most of nearly $2 million in investments from AOA members, AOA-PAC supported 333 candidates and incumbents, achieving a 95 percent election success rate.

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.