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May 2016 eNews
May 2016    Volume 13, Issue 5
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 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 while providing patients with exemplary care. 


Brian Plattner, OD
IOA President

Recently, I had the privilege of representing all of you in Washington, DC at the annual AOA Congressional Advocacy meeting.  We spent our time at the Capitol lobbying our Congressmen and women about the critical role optometry plays in the health care arena.  We discussed the importance of including optometry in the National Health Service Corps (HR 1312) so that our new graduates have the opportunity to compete for scholarships and loan forgiveness in exchange for working in underserved areas.  We also educated our legislators about the long wait times in the VA clinic for primary eye care services at a time when many of our veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering the consequences of traumatic eye and brain injuries that are impacting their vision.  We asked that they designate 20 additional optometric residency slots out of the 1500 extra medical residency positions that received funding allocation in 2014 (HR 1688).

ICO Students with Dr. Vince Brandys, Dr. Brian Plattner, Dr. Eric Botts, Dr. Dennis Brtva, Dr. Arol Augsburger, and Dr. Christine Allison



We also had the opportunity to lobby for the Dental and Optometric Care (DOC) Access Act (HR 3323).  This newly introduced piece of legislation would prohibit any insurance plans that are regulated by federal law from forcing optometrists and dentists to discount non-covered services and products, eliminate requirements of joining a vision plan in order to be on a medical panel, and also prevent vision and dental plans from requiring the use of a specific lab.  This legislation would not supersede or eliminate the need for legislation at a state level, but would supplement those efforts, make them more enforceable, and cover ERISA plans that are not bound by state law.


I am proud to announce that Illinois is truly a leader in the nation as a state with one of the highest number of co-sponsoring legislators on each of these important bills.  A special thank you goes out to Dr. Vince Brandys who works tirelessly to make sure that our federal key person network remains strong and effective and makes sure that our voice is heard loud and clear in Washington.  Dr. Brandys not only attended the Advocacy meeting, but he also kept us organized and abreast on where are legislators are on each of these issues.   In addition to Dr. Brandys, thank you Dr. Arol Augsberger, Dr. Matt Jones, Dr. Eric Botts, Dr. Christine Allison, Dr. Dennis Brtva, Mr. Mike Horstman, and Ms. Debra Hurston for joining me in our lobbying efforts in DC as well as all of our federal key people who faithfully contacted their legislators on our behalf.  Your service to the profession is not only noble and commendable, but it will leave a legacy of improved access to eye health and vision care that will benefit our patients for many years to come. 


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Christine Allison, OD
IOA President-Elect

As optometrists, we strive to be leaders in our profession. We take the lead in our offices with staff and patients. We take the lead in our careers by staying well educated through continuing education. We show leadership when we meet with legislators about legislation that affects the public. Yet, what makes a good leader?  There are some basic answers, but certain intangible qualities as well.  What can we do in our state to be sure that we have passionate well-informed leaders in the future?  The IOA in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care will be putting on a 2 hour program on leadership at this year’s IOA Convention in September. We are hoping to engage young emerging leaders in a new way. So, if you have members in your societies that have graduated less than 10 years ago, and you think they show a lot of potential for leadership, encourage them to contact us and let us know they are interested in attending this upcoming program.  Preparing today’s young optometrists to be strong leaders in the future will benefit all members of the IOA, and help to keep our association strong for many years to come.


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Mark Skowron, OD
IOA Secretary/Treasurer

As I had said on my last report to you that one of the roles of Secretary-Treasurer  is to safeguard the assets of the association, and that although our portfolio had grown 76% since 2009, we were doing a thorough review in an attempt to maximize our investments. Our predecessors were wise enough to see the importance of investing and did so via the Federated Fund Family. They have served us well throughout the years. As with everything in life, situations do change. After many hours of internal analysis of our current portfolio, discussions with our current financial advisor at Edward Jones and advice from an additional advisor at Raymond James, the board unanimously has decided that the mutual funds within the Federated family can no longer meet the needs and expectations of our association. Over the last few years their expense ratios have increased, their Morningstar ratings, and rankings against other funds in their same category have fallen. The criteria that has been established by the board for a fund to be worthy of our money, can only be achieved by four funds within the Federated family. We feel that it would be more financially prudent to the association for our investments to be diversified among seven to nine funds meeting our investment objectives. We have invested a good deal of time looking into the performances of funds within several different mutual fund companies, and have come to the conclusion that the American Funds Family offers a portfolio of funds that can provide us with both the performance that we seek for growth, and the diversity that we need for safety. You can be assured that when we make any transfer and or purchase of new funds, it be done at no cost to the association. Making this move will better position our association for the future.


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