AOA in national roundtable on the future of diabetes care

March 10, 2015
AOA members participate in Washington D.C., forum

AOA recently had the opportunity to propose new ideas and raise its visibility as a key player in diabetes care at a forum in Washington, D.C.

Registry data in particular could help facilitate the tracking of diabetes care trends.

The Diabetes Advocacy Alliance hosted a forum, "Driving Optimal Outcomes in Diabetes: A Science and Policy Roundtable on Diabetes Quality Measures," in late February. The AOA is a member of this 20-coalition panel, which represents patient advocacy organizations, professional societies, other nonprofit organizations and corporations, and trade associations.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Quality Forum (NQF) and other groups presented overviews on the current state of diabetes care. Discussions covered quality measures and the next steps for diabetes care and prevention.

The AOA's participation yielded several important benefits:

  • A chance to propose new ideas
    Daniel Bintz, O.D., a member of the AOA's Health Promotions Committee, suggested a new tracking measure that would address the gap in mental health reporting for diabetic patients. "A brief patient survey could be developed that would allow patients to express their feelings on how well they are coping with their diabetes management at home and at work, and how they rate the care they are given, along with other questions that would indicate possible mental health issues that should be addressed," Dr. Bintz explains.

  • Opportunities to expand AOA's voice
    Reva Winkler, M.D., Ph.D., NQF's senior director of performance measures, gave an update on the NQF's development of an eye, ear, nose and throat standing committee, and that two measures related to diabetic retinopathy would be undergoing NQF review. "Knowing the importance of the voice of optometry on this standing committee, the AOA has submitted nominees to serve," Dr. Bintz says.

  • Identify trends through registry work
    Daniel H. Green, M.D., the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) medical officer for the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, Division of Ambulatory Care, spoke on a topic of specific interest to the AOA: registries.

    Dr. Green mentioned that CMS was in early discussions with certain medical specialty societies to determine the usefulness of Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDR) in meeting certain Maintenance of Certification requirements. AOA's forthcoming registry will be a critical factor in an OD's ability to participate in future quality reporting, Dr. Bintz says.

    Registry data in particular could help facilitate the tracking of diabetes care trends, leading to improved care for patients, Dr. Bintz says.

The forum was sponsored by Avalere Health, a Washington, D.C.-based health policy advisory services firm.

A call to action

New national guidance recommends that diabetes patients have regular, comprehensive eye examinations by doctors of optometry or ophthalmologists, reflecting decades of AOA advocacy at work. AOA members should look to this guidance as an incentive to test for diabetes and pre-diabetes in their practices.

For more information about the forum or other advocacy efforts, contact Kara Webb, AOA's Associate Director for Coding and Regulatory Policy.

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