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An Official Publication of the Nebraska Optometric Association
By Scott Reins, O.D., NOA 2015 President
Greetings, NOA members!
What a great time of year! Spring has sprung, the flowers are blooming and ocular allergies are dominating our chair time. Do I give a sample of one of the new expensive drops or RX a generic? Claritin or Allegra? Ice compresses for allergies or heat to open up the Meibomian glands? The decisions are endless!
Speaking of Spring, thanks to everyone for a great turnout at the Spring Conference. We had record attendance for both exhibitors and OD's! Thanks to Bob V. for putting together a great Education slate, and thanks to Dr. Greg Caldwell, our AOA Trustee, for not only great education, but practical advice and perspective in all of our meetings. Not to mention a superhuman ability to keep our Past President, Darren Wright, up until all hours engaging in "Lincoln Exploration." Thank you, Darren, for showing Greg a good time while the old man president went off to bed.
One of our focuses this year is the value of NOA membership. We will now start working on ways to make the Fall Convention great, implementing a New Member Survival Guide for our new NOA members along with a ceremony welcoming them to the NOA, and finding heartfelt ways to welcome past members and commercial Doctors into the Organization. If you know of anyone wanting to get back into the NOA, anyone on the fence about joining, or any current members who you feel are becoming disengaged, let me, the Board of Directors, and the folks at the NOA office know and we will begin communications with them about the immense value of our Association on so many levels. Retaining and gaining members is becoming more and more of a challenge, and we can use your help!! A great thing to talk about with Dave and I while we are out and about in June on our listening tour!
One more Spring ritual to share with you....the defining moment. That moment when you slide the shorts over the pasty, sun-starved legs and hold your breath as you wonder what kind of winter it was? How disciplined were you? Will these shorts button easily or with some work? Will they button at all? The true test of Spring. Here's hoping everyone is tanning those legs and the old shorts are fitting just as you remembered them. Have a great Spring and we will be in touch.
All the best,
NOA Third Party Consultant Ed Schneider, O.D. provided an update to members at the Spring Conference on the Independent Provider Association (IPA) project being considered by the NOA Board. Members received a questionnaire earlier this year related to this feasibility study.
The exploration and research NOA is conducting involves a “messenger model” IPA, which is different than most other optometric IPAs. Typical optometric IPAs are involved with promoting discounted vision plans to government entities and employers. The business entity being studied by NOA, patterned after a highly-successful model used by Nebraska chiropractors, would serve as an intermediary (messenger) between providers and insurance companies and health insurance plans.
Such an entity could potentially provide several services to participating doctors, including reviewing third party contracts, facilitating enrollment in plans which doctors chose to accept, processing third party claims, and credentialing members of the IPA. A messenger model IPA could negotiate a variety of contract terms with third party payers except for fees and reimbursement amounts and would develop a Memorandum of Understanding with insurers for contracts that had been reviewed and were being forwarded to IPA members for their consideration. Doctors would not be required to sign up for plans that were offered through the IPA and would also be free to sign up for third party plans outside of the IPA.
Based on the chiropractic model, the IPA being researched by NOA would be a separate corporation owned by the NOA. Participating providers would likely pay an enrollment fee to support operating costs of the IPA. The chiropractic IPA, however, generates significant additional operating revenue, and profits from the IPA are shared with participating providers as well as with the association.
NOA has contracted the services of Husch Blackwell, a national law firm with significant expertise in formation of IPAs, to conduct the feasibility study. Data was received from nearly 130 NOA members during the first phase of the study and preliminary results prompted the NOA Board of Directors to authorize a second phase of the study. During May, Husch Blackwell will be conducting confidential, in-depth interviews with approximately 30 ODs across the state to gather more detailed information and will meet with insurance company leaders to assess their interest in an optometric IPA. The law firm will then develop projections and recommendations as to the chances for a financially viable venture for NOA. The NOA Board will discuss results of this phase of the feasibility study at its July 13 meeting and determine whether to proceed further.
Think About Your Eyes
At their April meeting, your Board of Directors voted to pay for all NOA members to have a basic listing on the Think About Your Eyes (TAYE) doctor locator. The Board views this as an additional member benefit as well as a way to maximize advertising for optometry in Nebraska. This benefit is the result of money that will be allocated from the NOA Marketing Fund. Our marketing budget will be adjusted to include this support of TAYE and listings for each NOA member.
You may have heard or seen one of the Think About Your Eyes (TAYE) advertisements on TV or radio. NOA is partnering with TAYE – to change public behavior, raise awareness of Optometry, and grow the number of eye exams in America.
TAYE is a multi-million dollar prime-time advertising campaign, funded primarily by contributions from industry manufacturers. While TAYE is run by The Vision Council (the non-profit industry trade association), the AOA has rallied behind this effort and is making a substantial financial contribution. The AOA also has a seat on the TAYE Advisory Committee, along with leading companies in the industry. Now, a number of the state optometric associations, including Nebraska’s, have taken a big step, and are paying to provide all members a Basic listing on the TAYE practice locator as a member benefit. The NOA’s support – and yours – is vital in helping TAYE gain additional funding from industry partners. This industry funding currently covers 95% of the advertising cost.
TAYE is different than the public relations campaigns currently run by both AOA and NOA. Here is an overview of the difference between our current Better Access to Quality Eye Care campaign and the TAYE campaign:
The details of getting NOA members listed on the TAYE site will be worked out over the next few weeks. We know that some of you have already purchased a listing on the TAYE locator. TAYE customer service will be contacting you within the next few weeks to discuss how to handle the “credit” you now have for your previous purchase.
All of your NOA leaders, as well as the AOA Board members and Trustees, are fully in support of TAYE as a great way to grow eye exams and awareness of our profession.
Watch for more details via email and mail on the TAYE campaign in the coming months. Click here for answers to some FAQs.
NOA Associate Director Alissa Johnson is leaving NOA for another position. Her last day will be Friday, May 1.
The search for a replacement for Alissa has begun, and our Executive Director Dave McBride and his team are well-equipped to carry on with the business of NOA in the interim. They are committed to making this transition as seamless as possible for NOA.
We are disappointed to lose Alissa. She made significant contributions to NOA during her 7 years here, and we will miss her expertise and experience. We hope the members will join us in wishing her well.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact NOA President Dr. Reins, another board member, or Dave McBride. For all NOA-related questions, you can direct your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-474-7716. Dave, Jamie, Lavon, and the rest of the team will be glad to assist.
By Dr. Darren Wright, Immediate Past President
Every year the AOA hosts delegates in Washington D.C. from all 52 of its affiliates for the Congressional Advocacy Conference. This year Lyn Graves, Brian Brightman, Richard Kant and I, as well as optometry student Tyler Lee, had the honor of attending as your NOA representatives. We were quite fortunate this year because the dates corresponded perfectly with D.C.’s cherry blossom bloom, which was stunningly beautiful.
I have been to a lot of meetings over the last few years representing the NOA, including my 4th time to this conference, but this one was a little different…OK, a lot different. Our fearless leader and political wonk, Dave McBride, was not with us on this trip because of it landing just a few days before our NOA Spring Conference in Lincoln. We were also without our seasoned AOA Committee Chair and D.C. juggernaut, Dr. Teri Geist. This trip was kind of like doing something responsible in a suit for the first time without your parents.
Monday of the conference consisted of various political speakers and AOA updates. Frank Luntz was the headliner and made learning about political advocacy quite entertaining. Tuesday morning we heard from several politicians and then several hundred optometrists and students “stormed the hill”, to meet with our Senators, our Representatives and their advisors. National advocacy topics this year were the Medicare SGR payment fix, adding optometrists to the National Health Service Corps and adding more optometry residency slots in the VA system. The timing of our visit couldn’t have been better for the SGR payment fix, as the Senate voted to adopt the reform bill a few hours after we left!
All in all, I think it was a very successful trip. We may not have been as confident and polished without our salty leaders, but I think we got our message across effectively. If you count Dr. Brightman cornering Ben Sasse in the airport and Dr. Graves chasing down Brad Ashford through a security line, we spoke with 4 of 5 of our Nebraska federal congressional representatives directly. Plus, we came home with an SGR fix! I believe we made our parents proud.
The NOA Spring Conference featured attendance by almost 60 perecent of our membership. There were 155 in attendance.We were excited to see so many members there, and hope to continue the great attendance for this Fall and next Spring.
Courses included information on nutrition for the eye, new technologies, glaucoma, and prescription medications.
AOA trustee Dr. Greg Caldwell gave an update on the work AOA is doing for its members, in addition to meeting with the Board and Leadership Class and teaching seven hours of continuing education, three of which were a last minute fill in for a speaker who became ill.
The fourth class for the NOA Leadership Program was held on Friday evening, featuring a panel of past presidents, President Dr. Scott Reins and Dr. Caldwell, with the discussion on "Creating a Legacy of Leadership." Thank you to Drs. Corey Langford and Darren Wright for serving on the panel.
If you attended the Spring Conference, don't forget to give us your feedback on the evaluation.
Handouts and the Spring Conference press release are also still available to attendees at http://nebraska.aoa.org/springconference.
NOA President Dr. Scott Reins and Executive Director will be conducting a listening tour for each of the NOA Societies during the first two weeks in June. These sessions will be a chance for members to talk about the kinds of challenges they are facing, and how NOA might be able to help them. Dr. Reins will discuss NOA’s latest initiatives and get feedback from members.
Tentative dates so far are Tuesday, June 9 in Lincoln and Thursday, June 11 in Omaha. Additional times and dates will be set up and information sent to our members as soon as possilble.
AOA President-Elect Dr. David Cockrell has appointed two members of NOA to the 2015-2016 AOA Committees.
The NOA thanks these doctors for their service to the Association.
The NOA Placement Center is available for free to all members. Ads can be placed for those looking for a job as well as those looking to hire an optometrist. Practices and equipment for sale can also be listed. There are currently several new listings go to: http://nebraska.aoa.org/x12591.xml to view the postings.
Recently, several NOA leaders held a webinar with 10 Southern College of Optometry (SCO) students to tell them more about what it's like to practice optometry in Nebraska. Budget and time have prohibited NOA members from attending SCO’s State Day (an annual event at the college for optometry student to meet their state affiliate representatives). NOA leaders worked with the Nebraska State Club to develop this as an alternative. This was the second year in a row we have done this webinar with SCO.
It was a great experience, and we are hoping to use the webinar as a model for interacting with students from other schools. Thanks to Drs. Darren Wright, Eric Gengenbach, Heidi Lichtenberg, Chris Wolfe and Ed Schneider for helping with the webinar.
As a result of liability for credit card fraud being transferred from credit card companies to individual small businesses if they do not have updated credit card processing technology by October 2015 (further explained by clicking here), and in response to numerous AOA member requests for access to competitive merchant processing services, AOA Excel is excited to announce the Chase Paymentech “Meet It or Beat It” promotion.
This offer benefits AOA members by providing them a very competitive and uniquely transparent rate. As mentioned above, the Chase payment terminal also fully supports EMV chip cards (in October, changing regulations will make all small business owners subject to fraud liability if they are not able to accept EMV chip cards as mentioned).
AOAExcel is excited to bring this member benefit to you while also addressing the pending federal regulations and required technology upgrades to prevent credit card fraud liability from burdening our small business owner members.
For more information click here.
Or for questions, please contact Bob Kehm, AOA Excel’s Managing Director.
Managing Director, AOAExcel™
There’s important news for the optometrist who has completed a recent ACOE-approved residency. ODs who sit for the American Board of Optometry Board Certification exam within three years after finishing the residency automatically qualify to take the test – no need to accrue CE points for exam eligibility. (Those who completed a residency more than three years ago also can earn partial points toward qualifying for the exam.) And now, ODs who take the exam within one year after completing a residency are eligible for a reduced exam fee of $1,000 (a savings of $500). This benefit takes effect with ODs finishing residencies in 2014 or 2015 who are eligible for the July 2015 exam.
The Board Certification exam is offered each January and July at Prometric Testing Centers around the country and overseas, so finding a convenient location is easy.
The date has been set for this year's Nebraska Special Olympics Opening Eyes at Creighton University -- May 22. 2015. The coordinators are looking for volunteer ODs and paras - and would love to have you!
Please see this SO-Volunteer Letter from Dr. Steve Alcorn for details on this year's Healthy Athletes Opening Eyes.
Registration is simple. Just fill out this SO-Volunteer Form and return it as soon as possible.
NOA Board of Directors