State, third party conference offers advocacy essentials

August 31, 2015
Top 5 trending topics doctors will learn.

It's an advocacy primer that doctors can put to immediate use—the AOA State Legislative and Third Party National Conference brings together engaged members to outline and strategize advocacy in a rapidly changing health care landscape.

A perfect opportunity to prepare your advocacy team for the years ahead.

Volunteers, affiliate leadership and all members are urged to gather in Denver, Colorado, Oct. 23-25, to mobilize the full advocacy resources of the AOA and state associations in responding to the challenges and opportunities facing optometry. 

Much has changed since the last conference in 2013. There is a new market reality for doctors of optometry created in part by the Affordable Care Act, state by state innovations and the added influence of insurers, organized medicine, new technologies and retailers. That's why it's vital to expand optometry's collective knowledge and coordinate as future battles take shape, says Deanna Alexander, O.D., State Government Relations Committee (SGRC) chair.

"The AOA State Legislative and Third Party National Conference is a perfect opportunity to prepare your advocacy team for the years ahead as optometry faces increasing challenges in health care," Dr. Alexander says.

Here are five of the subjects that optometry's advocates will be discussing during the upcoming conference:

  1. Legislative and third party readiness. Advocacy leaders will brief attendees on the necessity for states to be prepared for action on emergency legislative and third party issues.
  2. Vision plan advocacy. A breakout session devoted to changes in the vision plan market, vertical integration and some of the legal tools available to protect optometric patients throughout this changing landscape, including a review of AOA model language.
  3. Negotiating contracts. An analysis of the power of pen message, including making smart business decisions and provider agreements through thorough review of contract terms and conditions, and an overview on how to terminate contracts.
  4. Disruptive technology. An overview of the contemporary threats to the profession from disruptive technology, and a review of the SGRC model legislation.
  5. Value-based medicine. A general discussion about value-based medicine, optometry's role in these models and why optometry should be involved. A follow-up session will discuss PQRS outside of optometry, meaningful use stages 1 and 2, AOA MORE, evidence-based medicine, Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) and bundled payments/episodic care.

The conference also will include breakout sessions on Medicaid advocacy, access and non-discrimination advocacy, coding and reimbursement advocacy, relationship building, media training and more.

"Never before in the history of our profession has the synergy between state legislative advocacy and third party advocacy been so important. We need to work together to ensure the continued growth and success for our profession," says Stephen Montaquila, O.D., AOA TPC chair.

"We are so fortunate to have inherited this legacy of strong advocacy and at this meeting we invite all doctors of optometry who work in the areas of state legislative and third party advocacy. This is our time to pay it forward."

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