Updates and Announcements
November 27, 2023
November 20, 2023
November 16, 2023
November 8, 2023
October 30, 2023
Monday, October 16, 2023
MA LICENSEES TAKE NOTE: Mandatory Education Requirement for TPA and TPA+GC prescribers
Massachusetts optometrists who have MCSR registration to prescribe schedules III-VI medications for the treatment of ocular diseases and
deformities must complete during each license renewal period at least one (1) hour of course work or training relative to:
• Effective pain management;
• The risks of abuse and addiction associated with opioid medication;
• Identification of patients at risk for substance abuse disorders;
• Counseling patients about the side effects, addictive nature and
proper storage and disposal of prescription medications;
• Appropriate prescription quantities for prescription medications that have an increased risk of abuse; and
• Opioid antagonists, overdose prevention treatments and instances in which a patient may be advised on both the use of and ways to
access opioid antagonists and overdose prevention treatments.
Friday, October 6, 2023
Talk with Tim: Betsy and Bob talk Alcon, Marlo and a little ABB?
Alcon's Bob Coleman and Betsy Mattos are the latest guests of the web-series Talk with Tim - a quick video series designed to help our industry partners relay important messages to our members. Please consider MARLO for your practice. Contact Betsy and/or Bob to schedule a deeper dive into the 4 year old platform. Demonstrations can be provided remotely or in the office. Set one up today!
Email: bob.coleman[at]alcon.com,] betsy.mattos[at]alcon.com
Ophthalmic Technician Program
During the 2023 Oceanside CE program held on Friday, September 15, 2023, Dr. Richard Belhumeur spoke to those in attendance to regarding a proposed Ophthalmic Technician (OT) Program.
He was looking to gauge attendee interest and to weigh the perceived value of such developing such a program through the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). The room's reaction was quite positive.
To proceed, more information is needed.
Please click here to take a quick survey (even if you are not interested in the program). Your input will assist us in understanding and taking the next best steps.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this brief survey.
Headline: Why it's Risky for ODs to Only Compare Price of Malpractice Insurance
The following information is being sent to AOAExcel members on behalf of Lockton Affinity, LLC, a licensed insurance producer. Any recommendation or advice provided is based upon the opinion of Lockton Affinity, LLC and not AOAExcel.
Choosing a malpractice policy is a critical task for all doctors of optometry. Getting a competitive rate is important, but only looking at price can be risky. Instead of only comparing cost, make sure you pay attention to the key aspects of your malpractice insurance policy that will protect you from costly claims and allow you to practice with peace of mind: scope of coverage, policy portability, and the expertise and customer service of the provider.
Not all malpractice policies are created equal. When choosing a malpractice insurance policy, it is essential that a doctor of optometry ensures the policy they choose matches up to the treatment they provide—there’s no guarantee that the procedures you perform on a daily basis will be covered under all malpractice policies. Most policies include exclusions, which outline instances in which a provider would not cover claims. It’s important to take the time to identify any potential gaps in your malpractice coverage. If you need help identifying exclusions in your policy, consider a policy review— a free benefit for AOA members.
The portability of a malpractice policy also matters. Some policies are written to only cover work done directly for the employer who owns the policy and to tasks specifically listed in one’s job description. If you work in multiple practices or volunteer in a clinic, for instance, you may require additional coverage to protect you outside the scope of your employer-provided coverage.
Finally, customer service and industry knowledge should be an essential part of your insurance provider. Your provider’s customer service department should be able to answer common questions that optometrists would have regarding their policy. Choosing an insurance provider that has a background working with optometric professionals ensures that your insurance company is up to date on changes in the profession, scope of practice coverage, and has experience dealing with prior cases involving optometry. It’s also important to have easy access to insurance documents, including your certificate of insurance.
AOA members can submit their current malpractice insurance policy from any insurance provider for a complimentary malpractice insurance policy review from AOAExcel’s endorsed malpractice insurance provider, Lockton Affinity. Doctors of optometry have relied on Lockton Affinity for over ten years to provide insurance coverage tailor made for optometrists and their practices. The Lockton Affinity malpractice insurance has multiple benefits that may be difficult to find elsewhere, including guaranteed full-scope coverage that automatically expands with your state’s scope of practice and a customer service department trained to understand and answer questions specific to the field of optometry. Learn more about malpractice insurance and obtain a Quick Quote in seconds.
The AOA Insurance Alliance is administered by Lockton Affinity, LLC d/b/a Lockton Affinity Insurance Brokers LLC in California #0795478. Coverage is subject to actual policy terms and conditions. Policy benefits are the sole responsibility of the issuing insurance company. Coverage may be provided by an excess/surplus lines insurer which is not licensed by or subject to the supervision of the insurance department of your state of residence. Policy coverage forms and rates may not be subject to regulation by the insurance department of your state of residence. Excess/Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and therefore insureds are not protected by such funds in the event of the insurer’s insolvency. The American Optometric Association will receive a royalty fee for the licensing of its name and trademarks as part of the insurance program offered to the extent permitted by applicable law.
Mercantile Provides ODs a Simple Path to Vendor Discounts * through the AOA Business Card
The AOA Business Card, built by Mercantile, has made accessing vendor deals easier than ever, and cardholders have been making the most of this benefit. Some of the most-used vendor deals to date include:
● ABB Optical Group
● Europa Eyewear
● Virtual Field
● Office Depot
● ZEISS Group
● Kenmark Eyewear
In a few clicks, users can activate offers and start saving immediately—no account IDs necessary. Cardholders will be notified if they make a purchase from a vendor with an eligible deal, making it simple to get the most value out of the card. New vendors are being added continuously, and cardholders can even suggest vendors for the Mercantile team to connect with.
Here’s what one AOA member, Dr. Tim Wilson of Isthmus Eye Care, had to say:
"Thanks to the AOA Business Card, we have streamlined our business credit card utilization. We can now move all of our vendor payments to the AOA Business Card to take full advantage of the benefits provided by the card program, like the generous signup bonus and unlimited cash back rewards."
The AOA Business Card is the only business credit card designed specifically for doctors of optometry. It requires no personal guarantees, no impact on personal credit, and no annual fee. Any business entity owned by an AOA member, regardless of the business’s affiliation with optometry, is eligible for the card. The AOA Business Card provides 2% back on all purchases 1, and as an added bonus, new cardholders will receive up to $972 in AOA fees reimbursed via points when they spend $15,000 or more within the first 4 months after signing up 2. Learn more at about.card.aoa.org.
1 2% back in rewards on all purchases, no cap on rewards. You will not earn rewards on returned, disputed, or fraudulent transactions. We will reverse rewards associated with the return, credit or adjustment.
2The AOA dues of $972 are paid when you spend $15,000 or more in the first 4 months after account creation. Your Card account must not be canceled or in default at the time of fulfillment of any offers. After the 4 months, Rewards points will be credited to your account if you have met the threshold amount. If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome offer in any way or that you intend to do so, we may not credit Rewards points, we may freeze Rewards points credited, or we may take away Rewards points from your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.
* - To participate in the Vendor Offers program you must have an eligible AOA Business credit card. Data connection required; wireless carrier fees may apply. See complete Terms and Conditions for more details.
Conditions apply. Subject to approval. Mercantile Financial Technologies, Inc. is a financial technology company, not a bank. The AOA Credit Cards are issued by Hatch Bank pursuant to a license from Mastercard. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
Review the cardholder agreement at about.card.aoa.org/terms
4 Essential Personal Financial Tools for ODs
Hundreds of AOA members have trusted Laurel Road, AOAExcel’s student loan refinancing partner, to help manage their student loan debt. Now, members have access to four personal financial products designed specifically for doctors to improve their personal financial health: High Yield Savings, the Student Loan Cashback Credit Card, Linked Checking, and the Financial Insight Dashboard.
- Laurel Road High Yield Savings® Account
Financial planning is critical for doctors of optometry, and a competitive savings account is a great place to start. Plan for your future with a Laurel Road High Yield Savings ® account and earn 9x the national average. 1 AOA members can open an account for free—no minimum balance required or monthly maintenance fee.
- Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback® Card
Chip away at student loans with everyday purchases using Laurel Road’s Student Loan Cashback card. The Cashback Card is a personal credit card that lets you redeem 2% cashback 2 toward your student loan balance on purchases—even if your loans aren’t serviced by Laurel Road. 3 AOA members qualify for a $100 cash sign-up bonus 4 and can earn $300 in introductory cash back rewards after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days after signing up. 5
- Laurel Road Linked Checking
When AOA members refinance with Laurel Road, they have the opportunity to open a Linked Checking account to qualify for additional rate reductions. AOA members automatically qualify for a 0.25% reduction on their interest rate for the first 3 months—and that’s on top of their AOA discount. After 3 months with a funded account, rate discounts vary based on monthly deposits, with a possibility of up to 0.80% off when combined with autopay discount. 6 And for a limited time, AOA members can get a $200 bonus with $2,500 in qualifying direct deposits. 7
- Financial Insights Dashboard
Through the Financial Insights Dashboard, Laurel Road customers have access to an array of powerful financial tools and educational materials. Use peer financial insights to benchmark your salary, loan balance, and credit score with industry averages. Set goals with the financial action planning tool and receive customized recommendations based on career stage, location, and more. Explore educational materials relevant to your profession with curated financial literacy content.
AOAExcel partners with Laurel Road to provide AOA members with personal financial tools that allow them to practice with confidence. Learn more about how Laurel Road’s offerings can benefit you and apply now at laurelroad.com/partnerships/aoa-excel.
ATTN DEA LICENSE HOLDERS
Congress recently passed legislation which requires all doctors with DEA licenses to undergo training to identify and treat opioid abuse. AOA has been in contact with the DEA on this issue and we are working to ensure that an AOA developed course would qualify to meet the program requirements. The information that DEA released this week does not refer to AOA developed courses, however, our understanding is that COPE approved courses would qualify to meet the new requirements. As we continue to advocate for an AOA developed course to qualify, we are also working to develop a listing of courses that would help doctors meet these new requirements. As soon as we have additional information from DEA and a listing of courses, we will share those immediately.
As a reminder, doctors have to renew their DEA license every three years. Anyone renewing after June 21, 2023 will be required to attest to have taken this additional training as part of their DEA application or renewal.
Chief Strategy Officer
American Optometric Association
The AOA/RIOA are working together to help you navigate this new license requirement. We will be updating RIOA members accordingly.
5 Common Malpractice Claims Optometrists Face
Knowing the most common claims facing optometrists is the first step to reducing your risk of a stressful and costly malpractice lawsuit. AOAExcel asked their malpractice insurance partner, Lockton Affinity, to identify some of the most common types of claims optometrists encounter:
- Failure to Diagnose—The most common claim facing optometrists involves a failure to correctly diagnose a disease, including misdiagnosis and lack of diagnosis. Many other types of malpractice claims will begin from a failure to diagnose claim.
- Failure to Dilate the Pupil—A large percentage of claims describe a failure to dilate the pupil. Optometrists who choose not to dilate the pupil during an examination may be at increased risk of a lawsuit, because a lack of pupil dilation can increase the chance of missing pathology or making an incorrect diagnosis. On rare occasions, dilation itself may cause a liability claim related to slip-and-fall accidents that occur in the office or on the premises. The risk for these claims can be reduced by warning patients of dilation side effects and providing mydriatic sunglasses.
- Improper Patient Termination or Referral—Malpractice claims have been made when delayed treatment results in a poor outcome. It’s important to remember that an optometrist has a legal responsibility for a patient until treatment concludes or the patient is referred to another practitioner for care.
- Neglecting Informed Consent—Claims in which an injury results from care often focus on whether informed consent was obtained and documented as required. Like all healthcare professionals, optometrists must obtain informed consent before tests, procedures and treatments. Failing to document informed consent exposes you to malpractice claims.
- Poor Recordkeeping—A large number of claims involve allegations of poor recordkeeping. A lack of documentation can not only lead to missed diagnoses, incomplete referrals, missed follow-ups, and missing informed consent documentation, it can also hurt your case defending against these and other malpractice claims. Fortunately, most recordkeeping problems are entirely preventable with the proper procedures.
The right precautions can go a long way in minimizing your chance of a serious malpractice claim. AOAExcel partners with Lockton Affinity to provide AOA members with malpractice insurance designed for doctors of optometry—flexible, competitively priced coverage guaranteed to expand with your state’s scope of practice. Visit aoa.org/liabilityinsurance to receive an instant quote and a complimentary review of your current policy.
In case you missed it...
Did you know that almost every employee in the U.S. is covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? Are you aware of and this law?
A representative of the US Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division, will be speaking about the FLSA on Tuesday, February 28 th from 10-11:30 am . The webinar is free, and the registration link is in the attached flyer – and HERE.
Important Update on Credit Card Surcharging Rules
We were recently alerted that the credit card companies have tightened their oversight of surcharging programs. The use of secret shoppers is one method being used to monitor merchant compliance with surcharge requirements. Merchants that do not adhere to the surcharging rules may be fined up to $50,000 for a first offense.
The article below reviews the five rules all surcharge programs must follow. This is important information for any merchant that is currently surcharging credit card purchases or is considering a surcharge program.
The RI Lions Sight Foundation is running a One Saturday per month free eye clinic. We provide eye exams and glasses to uninsured residents of Central Falls and surrounding areas. We need Volunteer ODs who can give up on Saturday from 11-4. These clinics are usually on the 4th Saturday of the month.
Currently we need an OD for January 28th and February 25th.
Interested Volunteers can email me at email@example.com or Text me at 401-241-3487.
The RIOA, through its Board of Directors, wishes to congratulate the following RIOA members on their respective membership milestones.
|Member Name||Award Year|
|Carl David Corrow, O.D.||25|
|Michael A Saccucci, O.D.||45|
|Stephen A Remsbecker, O.D.||45|
|William W St. Vincent Jr., O.D.||45|
|Alerino M Iacobbo, O.D.||50|
|Stewart Martin Rosenfeld, O.D.||50|
RIOA / AOA - Advancing Optometry
The last of four State Government Rleations Committee Regional Meetings concluded last week with a clear and distinct message - Optometry is on the move!
Be on the lookout for important announcements and meetings designed to listen to member needs and wants.
** The original taping of this edition of Talk with Tim could not be uploaded due to the size of the file. We re-recorded the video on 9/20/22.
ABB Released Its Web-Based Ordering Platform today - August 29, 2022
RIOA members support RI Advocacy efforts in a number of ways. We thank those members who have supported our efforts this year with both their time and treasure! 2022 is an election year and we need to bolster our coffers!
If you have not donated to RIOA-PAC in 2022, we kindly ask that you do so soon.HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR "FIND A DOCTOR" PROFILE RECENTLY?