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. 

July 11, 2014:

ODs: Prepare now for Open Payments data

New guidance issued by the AOA's Federal Relations Committee outlines the steps ODs should take now to prepare for the Open Payments program.  The program requires that certain manufacturers and others report any payments or gifts provided to ODs and other physicians.

June 27, 2014:

Louisiana Gov. Jindal signs expanded scope of practice bill

Optometry has scored another scope of practice win-this time in the state of Louisiana.  On June 1, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signed a bill into law that adds certain eye care procedures to the list of minor surgeries ODs already provide in Louisiana.  

June 20, 2014:

AOA warns public about online eye exams

The AOA is warning consumers about possible risks associated with online refractive eye exams.  Such online sites tout convenience. But any alleged advantages come with risks, the AOA cautions. In a statement, AOA President Mitchell T. Munson, O.D., says the association has received an increasing number of questions about the safety and validity of this type of online test.

June 13, 2014:

AOA Advocates Boost Priority Bills, Though More Action Needed to Maintain Momentum

More than 300 AOA doctors and students took time away from their patients, practices, and families to travel to Washington, D.C. April 27-29 to focus the national spotlight on the profession through visits to the offices of every U.S. senator and House member and by playing key roles in a series of briefings and forums held around the nation's capital. 

June 6, 2014:

HHS Announces $300 Million to Add or Expand Optometry and other Services at Nation's Community Health Centers

Following years of direct AOA outreach to top federal agency officials and key members of Congress regarding the need to better ensure access to optometry-provided primary eye and vision care in America's community health centers (CHCs), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Tuesday the availability of up to $300 million in new funding to help existing CHCs expand hours, hire more providers, and establish additional services, including oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and vision services. 

May 30, 2014:

ODs get expanded prescribing rights in Arizona, Nebraska

New laws in Arizona and Nebraska expand optometrists' prescribing authority-and improve timely patient access to needed treatments.  Strong lobbying efforts and good relationships with state lawmakers helped make both bills a reality.

May 23, 2014:

AOA, Safeway discuss benefits of integrated eye care

The AOA and supermarket chain Safeway Inc. recently co-presented evidence of the value of proper eye health and vision care for employees at a conference in San Diego.   Stephen Montaquila, O.D., who chairs the AOA's Third Party Center (TPC) Executive Committee, summarized the advantages of the AOA's rethink eye care benefit structure model. 

May 16, 2014:

Kansas ODs get new rights in contracting with plans

Contracting with health, vision and discount card plans just got easier for eye care professionals in Kansas.   On April 18, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed into law a bill that places limits on what health plans can require of optometrists and ophthalmologists.

May 9, 2014:

It's Not Too Late to Join the Massive Capitol Hill Advocacy Effort Launched by Hundreds of ODs and Students Last Week

Couldn't be in Washington, D.C. last week to lobby on behalf of your patients and profession? Not to worry, there is still time to add your voice to the thousands of others seeking to build even greater levels of support for optometry's pro-access, pro-patient agenda in the nation's capital.

May 2, 2014:

Hundreds of AOA Doctors and Students on Capitol Hill to Push for Optometry's Top Priorities

More than 300 AOA doctors and students from across the country, and as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, gathered in Washington, D.C. this week to educate Congress about the essential care that ODs provide and to build support for pro-optometry legislation. Once again, the AOA Congressional Advocacy Conference - the largest annual optometric advocacy gathering - put optometry in the spotlight on Capitol Hill through visits to the offices of every U.S. Senator and House member as well as a series of briefings and forums held around the nation's capital.

April 25, 2014:

4 Trends from the "First 100 days of ACA"

Millions of people have signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since January. To serve this growing population, optometrists need to stay on top of marketplace changes and opportunities.

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.