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2016 December eNews

December 2016    Volume 13, Issue 12
Welcome to the IOA eNews! If you would like to go directly to a certain section, use the links listed below. Or for easy viewing, you can click: View in Browser

In this Issue:
IOA President
IOA President-Elect

IOA Secretary/Treasurer
IOA Third Party Trustee
IOA Public Health Trustee

Winter CE Lineup
IOA Associate Members
Useful Links


IOA's Mission

The Illinois Optometric Association exists to protect, promote, and advance the profession of Optometry by providing exemplary resources and support towards serving and enhancing quality patient care.


IOA's Vision
The vision of the Illinois Optometric Association is to be the primary advocate for the advancement of optometry through education, legislation, public service, and membership development by providing a unified voice for all optometrists to ensure the practice of Optometry at the highest level. 

Christine Allison, OD
IOA President

You have probably heard by now that our Optometric Sunset Bill passed out of the Senate by a vote of 51 to 0 and is now on its way to the Governor for signing. I'd like to personally thank our entire legislative team for all their hard work and effort in bringing this to fruition. JOB WELL DONE!


 As we prepare to keep moving forward, we need you to begin reaching out to the new legislators. Find out what's important to them and introduce them to our wonderful profession. Please click on the link below to see who they are and review their background. In the spirit of "maximum use of available resources" you may want to consider encouraging them to tour one of the two optometry colleges. Contact Dr. Vince Brandys at the Illinois College of Optometry at or Dr. Aalan Aceto at Midwestern at 

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Mark Skowron, OD
IOA President-Elect

As with any organization, business, or private practice, those who have implemented strategies that have produced strong foundations have a much better chance for continued success. The strength and success of the IOA has been due to the grassroots efforts of the local societies. The only way to maintain that strength is through participation in society meetings where you can hear and discuss with your fellow colleagues the latest information that could have a positive or a negative impact on your mode of practice. Information is powerful. Having access to key information before others can often put you at an advantage to make proper business decisions.


Comradery is another important reason to attend your local society meetings. It gives you the opportunity to meet and socialize with your fellow optometrists in a very informal setting. At your society meetings you can exchange ideas, discuss new technologies, find out what's working and what's not. Often these meetings can help energize you to become a better clinician, and / or business person. Many of the societies offer meetings including a free meal and CE. Your society president takes a lot of time preparing your meetings from picking the location, the cuisine, the CE, and its marketing.  I encourage everyone to participate as much as possible. It's a win-win. It keeps our association strong and vibrant. It keeps you connected with your peers and informed.

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Tina Funk, OD
IOA Secretary/Treasurer

I hope all of you had a marvelous Thanksgiving and were able to have your families participate!  We are not only nearing one of our biggest holidays, but also the end of the year.  Unfortunately, we must get back to business at this time.  As we wrap up the old year, we will also be sending out dues statements.  Remember it is your membership that allows us to continue to fight for your scope of practice legislatively.  As much as we would like to think all of that is behind us, new challenges pop up yearly.  As always, you have your choice of payment methods.  If there is anything we can do for you that is not currently being done, please contact the IOA office and we will help you.  Have a great Christmas and enjoy your "food season"  (as one of my patients calls it)!

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Eric Botts, OD

IOA Third Party Trustee


2017 will bring a big change for all us called MIPS the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System. If the name is foreign to you right now, no worries as you still have plenty of time to prepare. Although it begins January 1st of 2017 you may choose to participate one of four ways. The good news is you could wait until the last quarter of 2017 to start and still earn a potential 4% increase in your Medicare reimbursement for 2019. First lets begin with which doctors are excluded from participating and will not receive the potential 4% penalty in 2019. Any doctor who does not bill Medicare charges of $30,000 or more, as well as all doctors who see 100 or fewer Part-B Medicare patients will not be required to meet the program criteria. If you participate in a qualifying advanced payment model like an accountable care organization (ACO) which is a healthcare organization characterized by a payment and care delivery model that seeks to tie provider reimbursements to quality metrics and reductions in the total cost of care for an assigned population of patients. A group of coordinated health care providers forms an ACO, which then provides care to a group of patients.

Fortunately for all of us who are not excluded, we are being offered 4 choices on how we choose to participate.

Option 1 is full participation for 90 or more days in 2017 with the opportunity to earn a 4% increase in Medicare reimbursement for 2019. That means reporting 6 quality measures(PQRS); 1or 2 clinical practice improvement activities that demonstrates a role in overall public health initiatives; and 5 objectives and recording a performance score for advancing care information(Meaningful Use) on 9 measures.  An added bonus may be available for "exceptional performers" who report beyond the expected level.

Option 2 is partial participation for 90 days or more in 2017 resulting in reporting on one quality measure(PQRS), or more than one improvement activity, or more than the required measures in the advancing care information performance category(Meaningful Use). This option results in a small payment increase on Medicare reimbursement for 2017.

Option 3 is test participation that requires you to report one measure in the quality performance category; or one activity in the improvement activities performance category; or report the required measures of the advancing care information performance category. This option results in no penalty on Medicare payments in 2017 however you will not receive any bonus either.

Option 4 in no participation if you choose not to report in 2017 any measures or improvement activities resulting in a 4% decrease in Medicare reimbursement for 2019.


Stay tuned for more information on the MIPS and AOA More in the next several m months and remember we are all in this together!

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Tim Cundiff, OD
OA Public Health Trustee


Tis the season!  The holidays are upon us!  We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We hope that was a chance for you to truly give thanks for all of our many blessings.  We always associate November with Thanksgiving.  But on our calendar at the IOA, we are making sure to associate months with other identifying factors.  November – as some of you may know – is Diabetes Awareness Month, and likewise, it is also Diabetes Eye Health Awareness Month.  This serves as an opportunity to educate the public about optometric awareness during these National Health Observances.

We sent out a Press Release regarding Diabetic Eye Awareness in early November.  This was very well received with thousands of page views and visitors.  These releases help to keep optometry highly visible to the public – as is evident by this traffic.  Like the Back to School Release and the Halloween Contact Lens Release, you can expect many more throughout 2017.

So while you’re trying to remember on what “Day of Christmas” the drummers are drumming or what Day of Hanukkah it is, just know that the IOA will be helping to keep track of your optometric calendar for you.  Stay tuned to the IOA and our Press Releases in the coming year.

Click Here to View our Press Releases

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 The IOA would like to thank Dr. Mark Burke, president of the West Suburban Optometric Society, and the members of the West Suburban Optometric Society for their donation to the IOA PAC. At a recent society meeting, Dr. Burke "passed the hat" and was able to collect $200!

We appreciate their continued support!



The Department of Labor's overtime rule revision that was supposed to take effect on Dec. 1 was delayed by an injunction placed by a Texas federal district court judge. The future of the rule is unknown at this time. The Winter Journal, which should be in your mailbox soon, contains an article about what it means and how it could affect your practice. However, it may now be a moot point. We will keep you posted!


 Winter CE Registration is Now Open Online!

Please visit the IOA Associate Members' Website Pages!
Click here for a full list of the IOA Associate Members.






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