Sign up today for AOA’s Congressional Advocacy Conference

Registration for AOA's Congressional Advocacy Conference is now open. Sign up for the conference online, and join colleagues in securing optometry's gains made in Medicare payment reform over the past year—among other legislative priorities.

The event will be held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C., from April 27 through April 29. More than 400 optometrists and 250 optometry students are expected to attend.

Supporting optometry's legislative priorities and grassroots advocacy are key themes of this year's conference.

Secure optometry's role in Medicare

The AOA will continue to make the case on Capitol Hill that ODs play an important role in caring for Medicare beneficiaries—especially those with chronic conditions. This message matters as lawmakers look at new, more cost-effective ways to improve care for Medicare patients.

“We must continue to build support for AOA’s top priorities to secure our rightful place in a rapidly changing health care world.”

Highlighting optometry's growing importance to Medicare, federal officials have predicted that ODs will be paid $1.1 billion by the program in 2014 alone—a 4 percent increase from last year.

At the conference, the AOA is convening a special session to prep members for actions they can take to advance Medicare payment reform legislation. The goal is to secure legislation that fully recognizes the key role optometrists play in the program.

ODs will have other roles to play, too. If Congress doesn't approve a permanent fix to Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula by the March 31 deadline and looks to complete action on the bill in the coming months, the AOA will enlist members for further advocacy. As an advocate, you can help lock in gains the profession has made toward securing OD eligibility for key physician incentives under Medicare.

Top legislation and lobby day

Other top legislative issues such as the National Health Service Corps Improvement Act (H.R. 920/S. 1445) and the Optometric Equity in Medicaid Act (H.R. 855) are on this year's agenda, in addition to the Harkin Law and the Affordable Care Act's new pediatric vision benefit.

A "lobby day" is scheduled for April 29 to build support for optometry's priorities. AOA member doctors and students will have the opportunity to walk the halls of Congress and meet personally with their Capitol Hill lawmakers.

"While we, as a profession, have made historic gains in recent years, the quickly changing health care landscape in Washington D.C., and in states around the country presents us with sizable challenges as well as new opportunities," says AOA President Mitchell T. Munson, O.D. "Without a doubt, the Harkin Law and the pediatric vision benefit are monumental wins for our patients and profession, but we must continue to build support for AOA's top priorities to secure our rightful place in a rapidly-changing health care world."

March 14, 2014

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