Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Highlights from the 2013 AOA House of Delegates

By Marianne E. Boltz, O.D., F.A.A.O.
POA President-Elect

The 116th Congress and AOA House of Delegates (HOD) were called to order on Thursday morning, June 27, at the San Diego Convention Center. As is tradition, the HOD begins with a bit of pomp and circumstance and standard procedures. Delegates were led by former AOA President Dr. Richard Hopping (current AOA President Dr. Ronald Hopping’s father) in a reading of the Optometric Oath. All state affiliate executive directors paraded into the ballroom, immediately followed by the presentation of the Virgil Deering Optometric Executive Director Award. The award was given this year to Bryan Markowitz from Georgia. (If you recall, our own Dr. Charles Stuckey had the honor of receiving this award a few years ago.)

2013 Optometry's Meeting: Proud to be a Pennsylvanian!

by Marianne Boltz, O.D., F.A.A.O.
POA President-Elect

There are some moments in life that you know, even as they are happening, will be memorable…moments that you will look back upon with pride and smile! Just such a moment of relief and joy occurred on Saturday, June 29 in the San Diego Convention Center at approximately 2:00 pm when my long-time friend and former fellow POA Board colleague, Dr. Greg Caldwell, was elected to the AOA Board of Trustees.

Although Dr. Caldwell’s election to an AOA Trustee position was the most significant event for the Pennsylvania delegation, it was just one of several moments and events throughout Optometry’s Meeting that would make any optometrist “proud to be a Pennsylvanian”!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Compliance Date for New HIPAA Rules is September 23

New rules for the updated Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule are effective September 23, 2013. The federal rule applies to health care providers, health plans and other covered entities and their business associates. 

New Rule
The revisions, announced in March 2013 and effective September 23, require the following steps:
  • Conduct a security risk assessment;
  • Revise their existing privacy, security and breach notification policies and procedures;
  • Make copies of those revised privacy policies available to patients;
  • Amend business associate agreements to reflect the new regulations; and
  • Retrain practice staff on the revised policies
The new rule prohibits the sale of federally protected patient health information (PHI), and prohibits the use of PHI for marketing purposes without authorization from the patient. In addition, a patient may request a practice to withhold disclosure of PHI related to a particular service to a health plan if the patient has paid for the service out-of-pocket.

Federal law requires practitioners to provide all patients with notices of the measures taken to protect patient information. Failure to provide the required HIPAA notices or meet standards may result in investigations and possible civil or criminal penalties.