Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Message from Your President

Dr. Lori Gray (POA Secretary-Treasurer) attended the Chester-Delaware Optometric Society meeting with me a couple weeks ago. We had some great CE on diabetes and nutrition, and a very informative business meeting. I was very excited to see the comradery among the members, with lots of idea sharing, practice management tips and clinical discussions before and after the meeting. Some doctors spend a lot of money hiring consultants to help them with their practice, but if you aren't also taking advantage of the great resources you have in your local colleagues, you are really missing out on one of the greatest benefits of your POA membership.

From left to right: Dr. Ryan Edmonds (CDOS President), Dr. Richard Christoph (POA President), and Dr. Lori Gray (POA Secretary-Treasurer)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The 21st Century Eye: Protecting Your Vision Three Ways

Pennsylvania Optometric Association provides tips for Save Your Vision Month

Everywhere we go, we're reading, shopping, banking, or being entertained online via digital devices small and large - at work, school, vacation, and on our way in-between. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association's (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® survey, 55 percent of adults are using computers, smartphones, tablets and other hand-held devices for at least five hours a day. A separate AOA survey showed that 83 percent of children, ages ranging from 10-17, use an electronic device for more than three hours a day. Digital use will only continue to increase, making it important for consumers to make smart eye care choices like seeing an eye doctor for yearly comprehensive eye exams.

Below are three tips from the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA) in observance of Save Your Vision Month, which occurs yearly in March.

Give Your Eyes a Break
The POA recommends following the 20-20-20 rule to discourage digital eye strain - take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to view something 20 feet away.
Regular, lengthy use of technology may lead to digital eye strain, which is a temporary condition, but one that includes symptoms like burning or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred or double vision, or head and neck pain.
Early research has also shown that overexposure to high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted from electronic devices may also contribute to digital eye strain. This blue light also increases the likelihood of developing serious eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration. Optometrists offer lens options including non-glare, filtering lenses, to help protect vision from harmful blue light.

Be a Savvy Shopper
There are many products available for purchase online, but prescription eyeglasses should not be one of them. Eyeglasses are meant to be individually custom-made; health and safety should trump convenience when it comes to eyewear. Internet orders often result in incorrect prescriptions, not to mention all the other problems that occur with any online transaction that can cost consumers more money and a great deal of hassle. According to a 2011 study done by the AOA, the Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council, nearly half of all glasses ordered online had either prescription errors or failed to meet minimum safety standards.
Eyeglasses are a medical device and should be treated as such. They are an investment in your health and future, and must be custom-fitted not only for comfort, but also to be sure precise prescription needs are met so that the wearers are seeing his or her best.

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There is no substitute for a comprehensive, yearly eye exam by an eye doctor. Despite catchy claims, there is no "app for that." While a variety of new mobile applications and websites claim to evaluate vision or the fit of eyeglasses, often inaccurate or misleading information is given, and misinformed consumers end up delaying essential, sight-saving exams. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical in preventing a total loss of vision and often improve quality of life.
One of the most important, preventive ways to preserve vision and accurately assess eye health is to have yearly, comprehensive eye examinations. Diagnosing an eye disorder or disease, or determining if corrective lenses are needed, is also determined by these helpful eye examinations.
To find a nearby doctor of optometry, or for additional information on eye health in the 21st century, please visit www.poaeyes.org.

About the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA):The Pennsylvania Optometric Association is the professional organization for over 1,250 doctors of optometry in Pennsylvania. An affiliate of the American Optometric Association, POA promotes the highest quality eye and vision care by optometrists, represents optometry to state government, provides its members with post-graduate education and membership benefits, and conducts activities in the interest of the visual welfare of the public. For more information, visit www.poaeyes.org.

About the American Eye-Q® survey:The ninth annual American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From March 20-25, 2014, PSB conducted 1,000 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of the U.S. general population. (Margin of error is plus or minus 3.10 percentage points at a 95% confidence level)

About the Children's Omnibus survey:The children's Omnibus survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From March 24-31, 2014, PSB conducted 200 online interviews from March 24-31, 2014 with children ages 10 to 17. (Margin of error is plus or minus 6.93 percentage points at a 95% confidence level)

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit www.aoa.org.

Monday, March 2, 2015

PA optometrists now paid for additional procedure codes

In November of 2014, the POA sent a letter to the Department of Human Services requesting that optometrists get paid for ten Common Procedural Terminology (CPT) procedure codes. The POA is pleased to report that the department reviewed the optometrist’s Scope of Practice under the Pennsylvania State Board of Optometry and has determined that nine out of ten codes submitted for review will now be payable to optometrists.

For payment purposes, optometrists will be added to procedure codes 65778, 68761, 76510, 76511, 76512, 76516, 76519 and 92025, which already exist on the MA Program Fee Schedule. The department will issue a MA Bulletin to provide further payment information regarding these procedure codes to MA Program-enrolled optometrists. The department expects to issue the bulletin by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

The procedure code 83516, which was not added to the MA Program Fee Schedule, was left out because of the lack of specificity of the tested analyte. The department does not pay laboratories or physicians for this procedure code under the Fee-for-Service delivery system.

If the prescriber determines that the service reflected by procedure codes 65778, 68761, 76510, 76511, 76512, 76516, 76519 or 92025 is medically necessary, the prescriber may request a Program Exception through the 1150 Administrative Waiver Process, depending on the procedure specified in their MA Program Provider Handbook (Section 7.3), which is accessible by this URL: www.dhs.state.pa.us/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/form/s_001840.pdf.

Note: Optometrists rendering vision services under the managed care delivery system should address coding and payment questions to the appropriate managed care organization.

This is just another reminder of how the POA and its Third Party Center continually monitor payer issues and fights for you and your patients.