Alerts, recalls and updates

AOA advocates for optometry amid TRICARE’s 2018 changes

November 15, 2017

TRICARE’s sweeping changes will affect doctors of optometry providing care under the military’s health insurance program next year, and AOA intervened to ensure a smooth transition with one contractor. Read more

AOA statement regarding White House declaration of opioid crisis a public health emergency

October 26, 2017

The AOA today informed the White House that the more than 44,000 doctors of optometry serving thousands of communities across the country are ready, willing and able to help address the public health emergency declared today by the president. Read more

AOA Statement to Martha MacCallum Report

October 19, 2017

The American Optometric Association (AOA) is demanding an immediate retraction, correction and an apology from Ms. Martha McCallum, a Fox News personality who baselessly and irresponsibly attributed aspects of opioid abuse to the expanding scope of practice of doctors of optometry, our nation's family eye doctors. Read more

AOA spurs FTC rule dialogue, encourages members to connect with lawmakers

October 03, 2017

Members should reach out to their Senator requesting them to voice opposition to the FTC's proposal that would mandate doctors collect a signed contact lens prescription acknowledgement form. Read more

2016 Annual QRURs Informal Review period ends 12/1/2017

September 25, 2017

Members should access their 2016 Annual QRURs, review their 2018 Value Modifier, and request an informal review to dispute errors by December 1, 2017.  Read more

CMS proposes changes for MIPS 2018

June 22, 2017

On Tuesday June 20, CMS PROPOSED changes to 2018 MIPS. If FINALIZED, CMS will exempt all doctors who have Medicare Part B allowed charges of less than or equal to $90,000, or treat fewer than 200 Medicare beneficiaries on an annual basis Read more

CMS Releases Information on 2015 PQRS Participation

June 12, 2017

CMS is mailing MIPS Participation Letters to clinicians and practices.These letters inform practices and individuals as to whether they are excluded from MIPS in 2017. Doctors of Optometry should begin receiving the MIPS Participation Letters as early as Wednesday, April 26, 2017. CMS expects all letters to be received before the second week of May 2017. Read more

Prohibition on Billing Dually Eligible Individuals Enrolled in the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program

May 12, 2017

CMS recently revised an article that outlines prohibitions against Medicare providers billing beneficiaries enrolled in the QMB program. Members should review this article to ensure that their practice complies with the most up-to-date billing policies for patients enrolled in the QMB program. Read more

Prohibition on Billing Dually Eligible Individuals Enrolled in the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program

May 12, 2017

CMS recently revised an article that outlines prohibitions against Medicare providers billing beneficiaries enrolled in the QMB program. Members should review this article to ensure that their practice complies with the most up-to-date billing policies for patients enrolled in the QMB program. Read more

Notice of 2017 MIPS Exclusion

April 26, 2017

CMS is mailing MIPS Participation Letters to clinicians and practices.These letters inform practices and individuals as to whether they are excluded from MIPS in 2017. Doctors of Optometry should begin receiving the MIPS Participation Letters as early as Wednesday, April 26, 2017. CMS expects all letters to be received before the second week of May 2017. Read more

Review & Dispute Your Open Payments Data Before it Becomes Public (Deadline 5/15/17)

April 18, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will publish the 2016 Open Payments data and updates to the 2013, 2014, and 2015 program years on June 30, 2017. To dispute any issues with your 2016 Open Payments data before it becomes public, you must review and dispute your 2016 data before May 15, 2017.  Read more

Medicare Program Updates & Information

April 03, 2017

CMS has recently made several announcements and updates regarding Open Payments, CMS-855R Enrollment Form, and CMS-R-131 ABN Form. Read more

Revised CMS-855R (Reassignment of Benefits application)

March 23, 2017

Members must now use the revised CMS-855R (Reassignment of Benefits Application). Medicare Administrative Contractors will no longer accept the older version. Read more

AOA MORE: New Integration with Eyefinity EHR Coming Soon!

March 22, 2017

The AOA is pleased to announce that Eyefinity EHR will begin its integration with AOA MORE (Measures and Outcomes Registry for Eyecare) in the coming weeks. Read more

PQRS and EHR Incentive Program (Meaningful Use) Reminders and Important Dates

February 22, 2017

Members should be aware of upcoming deadlines for the PQRS and EHR incentive Program. Failure to attest and submit data by these deadlines can result in penalties to your 2017 and 2018 Medicare payments. Read more

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act

February 10, 2017

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act applies several existing civil rights laws to practices that accept “Federal Financial Assistance.” Section 1557 and its regulations prohibit practices from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability Read more

2017 Code Revaluations

February 09, 2017

The AOA is fully engaged in the American Medical Association's Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC). This committee is charged with valuing the CPT codes that doctors report to payers. The code values that are recommended by the RUC are provided to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for review and for CMS to determine final valuations which directly impact reimbursement.  Read more

2016 Meaningful Use Attestation OPEN, Ends on 2/28/17

January 03, 2017

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that attestation for 2016 Meaningful Use (MU) program year will begin on January 3, 2017 and end on February 28, 2017. Failure to attest by February 28, 2017 will result in reductions to your 2018 Medicare payments. Read more

Concerned About PQRS Penalties?

January 03, 2017

The AOA has heard from hundreds of doctors of optometry that expended time and resources to participate in PQRS in 2015, only to find in late 2016 that they did not meet all the requirements and would face a 2% payment penalty in 2017.  Read more

Are you ready for the Upcoming 2016 Meaningful Use Deadlines?

December 19, 2016

To avoid Meaningful Use penalties to your 2018 Medicare payments, you must have met all the 2016 MU Objectives and Measures for at least a 90-day period between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Attestation must be submitted by February 28, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Read more

PQRS Update-Possible Relief from 2017 and 2018 PQRS Penalties

December 14, 2016

Doctors of optometry can delay plans to increase overtime pay to salaried employees as Federal Courts review the legality of the new overtime regulation.  Read more

Phishing Email Disguised as Official OCR Audit Communication

November 28, 2016

A phishing email is being circulated on mock HHS Departmental letterhead under the signature of OCR's Director, Jocelyn Samuels. This email appears to be an official government communication, and targets employees of HIPAA covered entities and their business associates.  Read more

Federal overtime rule delayed

November 23, 2016

Doctors of optometry can delay plans to increase overtime pay to salaried employees as Federal Courts review the legality of the new overtime regulation.  Read more

Merit-Based Incentive Payment System Webinar-December 1!

November 15, 2016

For those interested in learning more about the payment changes coming to the Medicare program in 2017, AOA will be hosting a webinar on December 1 at 8pm Eastern Time to review the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).  Read more

Have you complied with new Federal patient nondiscrimination requirements? AOA can help

November 02, 2016

Have you complied with new Federal patient nondiscrimination requirements? AOA can help.Most doctors of optometry now need to comply with new regulations required by the patient nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – section 1557, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Read more

Submit your petition to consider your provider data for the final 2018 Essential Community Providers (ECP) List

September 23, 2016

In accordance with section 1311(c)(1)(C) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Qualified Health Plan (QHP), including Stand-alone Dental Plan (SADP) issuers are required to include within their network essential community providers (ECPs), where available, that serve predominantly low-income, medically-underserved individuals. Under this same section of the ACA, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is charged with establishing criteria for certification of health plans as QHPs, including criteria for issuer satisfaction of the ECP inclusion requirement.  Read more

VSP survey and potential findings shows bias against pro-optometry legislation

August 12, 2016

A misleadingly worded VSP survey attempts to elicit responses in an effort to cast doubt on crucial AOA-backed legislation curtailing anti-patient and anti-doctor vision plan abuses.Circulated among network providers at the beginning of August, the "VSP Survey to Member ODs" purports to solicit doctors' feedback on "important industry issues"-namely H.R. 3323, the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act (DOC Access Act)-to help guide VSP direction. However, AOA cautions that many of the questions are inappropriately biased, leading to a predisposed, VSP-desired outcome. Read more

Changes to TRICARE managed care support contracts, coverage regions

July 25, 2016

TRICARE providers should be aware that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has re-upped two managed care support contracts, but dropped a third, resulting in a regional reshuffling of coverage areas.  Read more

FDA issues warning to website regarding misbranded ophthalmic drugs, products

May 11, 2016

Online contact lens sellers’ aggressive marketing tactics might lead more consumers away from the beneficial necessity of an eye exam with their eye doctor, and “that’s a recipe for trouble,” says a leading consumer protection authority. Read more

National Consumers League director speaks out on contact lens safety

April 28, 2016

Online contact lens sellers’ aggressive marketing tactics might lead more consumers away from the beneficial necessity of an eye exam with their eye doctor, and “that’s a recipe for trouble,” says a leading consumer protection authority. Read more

Be alert for important credentialing verification requests from Aperture

March 24, 2016

Doctors due to re-credential—or credential—should be alert for communications from a national credential verification organization, Aperture Credentialing, this spring. Credential verifications can be required of any health or vision plan that doctors contract with, and doctors can be dropped out of network by failing to respond. Read more

Reminder-Register to Review Open Payments Data

February 26, 2016

Authorized by the Affordable Care Act, the "Sunshine Act," or Open Payments program, requires that certain manufacturers and others report any payments or gifts provided to doctors of optometry and other physicians. Read more

CMS Releases Updated ICD-10 Guidance

September 25, 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released additonal guidance to doctors regarding the first year of ICD-10 implementation. Read more

Physician Quality Reporting Systems (PQRS) and Value Based Modifier (VBM) Payment Penalties

September 22, 2015

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will apply a negative payment penalty to claims submitted by physicians, including doctors of optometry, who did not satisfactorily participate in PQRS in 2014. Read more

CMS Releases Information on Opting-Out of Medicare

September 14, 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released additional information for those physicians who choose to opt-out of Medicare. Read more

Doctors of Optometry May Use Certified Paraoptometric Staff for Electronic Order Entry

September 09, 2015

Many doctors of optometry who participate in the Medicare & Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs have asked whether credentialed staff members are qualified to perform computerized provider order entry to fulfill meaningful use requirements.  Read more

All commercial health plans offering small group coverage or individual coverage are required to provide eye exams and eyeglasses to children as an essential benefit in 2017

September 02, 2015

On Monday Aug. 31, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a list of proposed benchmark health plans for each state for coverage beginning in January, 2017. Read more

CMS Offers Additional Guidance on Year 1 of ICD-10 Implementation

July 30, 2015

As AOA previously reported, earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released additional guidance on the transition to ICD-10. Read more

Important Updates Related to Medicare

July 29, 2015

Doctors of optometry and certain other physicians who do not want to enroll in the Medicare program may "opt out" of Medicare. When a physician chooses to opt out, neither the physician nor the Medicare beneficiary may submit a bill to Medicare, and the patient must agree to pay the physician out-of-pocket. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requires a physician to submit an affidavit to Medicare that communicates his/her decision to opt out of Medicare. Read more

Have you received a RUC Survey?

June 10, 2015

The American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee recently identified certain Current Procedural Terminology codes reported by doctors of optometry as potentially misvalued requiring further review Read more

CMS Five More Facts About ICD-10

May 06, 2015

CMS has released five more facts that physicians should know about the transition to ICD-10. Read more

Reminder: Open Payments Physician Review and Dispute Period Ends May 20, 2015

April 30, 2015

 Read more

Access Your Mid-Year Quality and Resource Use Report Now!

April 30, 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has released the 2014 Mid-Year Quality and Resource Use Reports. Read more

CMS Five Facts About ICD-10

April 23, 2015

CMS identified five facts to address some of the common questions and concerns CMS has heard about ICD-10. Read more

New NCQA Recognition Program Open to Doctors of Optometry

April 07, 2015

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), has announced their new "Patient-Centered Connected Care Recognition Program." Read more

Open Payments Physician Review and Dispute Period Begins April 6!

April 02, 2015

As part of the Open Payments program, optometrists and other physicians can begin to review payments attributed to them on Monday, April 6, 2015. Read more

Access Your Quality and Resource Use Report (QRUR) Today

March 31, 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided Quality and Resource Use Reports to physicians in groups of all sizes and physician solo practitioners in September of 2014. Read more

CMS Meaningful Use Program: It is Better to Attest and Fail, Than to Never Attest At All?

March 12, 2015

The AOA has received reports from doctors who are attempting to participate in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Meaningful Use program, but are facing difficulties meeting certain reporting requirements, such as the patient portal objective. Read more

CMS Clarifies Impact of PQRS, EHR and Value Modifier Payment Adjustments on Drug Reimbursement

March 10, 2015

The negative payment adjustments for EHR, PQRS, and VM only apply to Medicare Physician Fee Schedule claims for Part B covered professional services.  Read more

New EHR Attestation Deadline

February 25, 2015

Eligible professionals now have until 11:59 pm ET on March 20, 2015, to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program 2014 reporting year. Read more