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2016 October eNews

October 2016    Volume 13, Issue 10
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

I am excited to serve as the IOA President for the 2016-17 term, and am eager to see our membership grow, and our profession to continue to be the Eyecare leaders in Illinois, as we always have been.  We had a great Convention in Springfield in September.  The highlights included a Friday night reception at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a packed exhibit hall, and a touching tribute to Mike Horstman, our Executive Director of the past 24 years.  We were also fortunate to have 4 of our members receive the 50 year membership award, which is something we should all aspire to receiving one day!!

One of my biggest initiatives is to grow our committee structure.  We have many committees, some new and some old, and we would like to open them up to all of our members for participation.  So, if you have a particular passion to become involved in one of the areas listed below, please contact me or any of the trustees, and we will put you to work!  The Committees that we are looking for new members and/or new Committee Co-chairs are:  Membership Committee, Communications Committee, Legislative Committee, Legislative Advocacy Committee, Third Party Committee, Public Health Committee, and the Education Committee.  We are hoping that with the use of conference calls, we can better connect members from all over the state to become active and engaged in our committee structure.  We are also hoping that the Committees will host in-person meetings at our next Convention in Itasca in 2017.

We also started a very successful young leadership track at the Convention this year.  Johnson & Johnson has partnered with us to fund and bring in speakers for our members who have been practicing less than 10 years, and have all the potential to be future leaders in Illinois.  We had Amy McCabe, Market Development Manager at Johnson & Johnson, and Dr. Milicent Knight, head of Professional Affairs at Johnson & Johnson, spend 2 hours with this group on Saturday morning at Convention with a very interactive presentation. 

Please let me know what the IOA staff and I can do in the upcoming year to better serve your optometric needs!

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Mark Skowron, OD
IOA President-Elect

I am happy to report that our convention was a resounding success. Almost 500 Optometrists and their staff attended this past weekend’s gala event. Our golf outing at Piper Glen was well attended with numerous prizes given out. Everyone always comes away with some sort of memento. Friday night awards night was celebrated with a tribute to Mike Horstman, our outgoing Executive Director of 25 years and the introduction of the incoming ED, Debra Hurston at the Lincoln Museum with shows “Ghosts of the Library” and Lincoln’s Eyes”.

Dr. Nicole Jensen was honored with the Young OD of the Year award, while Dr. Dennis Brtva was given the OD of the Year award. Dr Geoffrey Goodfellow was recognized with the Tom Lawless Keyperson of the Year award by his outstanding efforts in the legislative arena. Dr David Culver presented the Legislator of the Year award to Representative Norine Hammond. And this year being her 25th convention, Maureen Horstman was awarded Friend of Optometry.  Congratulations to all and thank you for your dedication to the IOA. Dr.Tim Cundiff did an excellent job moving the program forward in his first year as Master of Ceremonies. We had representatives from 3 schools of Optometry: Dr Arol Augsburger, President of the Illinois College of Optometry, Dr. Sonny Sanders, Dean of the Midwestern University School of Optometry, and Beth Fisher, from Southern College of Optometry.

We would like to thank VSP Global for sponsoring Friday night’s event.

We had excellent CE all weekend with almost 350 ODs attending the Sunday Continuing Education with Dr John McGreal. It’s assuring to know that if you attend the annual IOA Convention, and participate in the offered CE, you will meet ALL the CE requirements needed for license renewal.

A big thank you to Dr Stephen Steinmetz, who presented to the House of Delegates a $5,000 check for PAC from the proceeds of his very successful annual golf outing.

We want to thank the over 50 vendors that made up the exhibit hall, for all to browse, inquire and purchase show specials after and between CE, all while satisfying one's palette with a great lunch buffet. 

And of course the tradition continued with our Saturday Night Presidential Banquet and Installation as the premier night of our convention. We celebrated 4 doctors that have been in the IOA for 50 yrs, Dr Walter Zinn (accepted by daughter as he had passed earlier this year), Dr. Brent Nielsen, and Dr. Bob Schmidt, and Dr. Laurence Chadwick, who celebrated 60 years of IOA membership! Our congratulations to all of them, for their many years of dedication. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Dr. Chris Quinn, AOA President–Elect, who had been to over 40 Optometric conventions throughout the country and said that ours is one of the best.

We want to thank the Illinois College of Optometry for their support and sponsoring the cocktail reception Saturday evening and for Sunday’s lunch for the 350 hungry ODs.

Thank you to TLC who has continuously sponsored the elegant Desert reception after the Saturday night event.

Thank you to the Alliance and Gailey Eye Clinic for sponsoring the hospitality suite on Thursday and Friday nights, where everyone goes to relax to music and dancing.

Mark your calendar for next year’s event in Itasca, September 14-17, 2017. Don’t miss it. It’s guaranteed to be great event. Hope to see everyone!

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Tina Funk, OD
IOA Secretary-Treasurer

AOA MORE helps you get the maximum for your efforts

As the new Secretary/Treasurer of the IOA, I can tell you that AOA More is designed to maximize your reimbursement. It’s no secret that CMS is changing the way it pays doctors.  According to CMS, this new system, called the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)is tentatively scheduled to start Jan. 1, 2017, and will directly influence Medicare reimbursement amounts moving forward. MIPS requires doctors to more robustly report their quality, electronic health record (EHR) use, and practice improvement activities to get paid at the highest levels. AOA MORE makes it easy for you to do and is free based on your membership. If you haven’t already done so, sign up today.

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Eric Botts, OD

IOA Third Party Trustee


I often have to remind myself that change is good. With that in mind I want to introduce you to the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System called MIPS. This new program is combining PQRS, Meaningful-Use and the Value-Based Modifier. This is a voluntary program and initially will not affect doctors billing less than $10,000 yearly to Medicare or seeing fewer than 100 Medicare patients in a year. It consists of the following 4 Weighted Performance Categories.

Quality 50%

Resource Use 10%

Clinical Practice Improvement 15%

Advancing Care information 25%

It begins January 1st, 2017 and how you perform for the calendar year of 2017 will affect your Medicare reimbursement in 2019. It is a budget neutral program whereas incentives received by high performing doctors will be offset by penalties received by lower performing doctors. The
Maximum adjustment in 2019 will be +/-4% of your Medicare reimbursement, and increases to +/-9% in 2022.

Your MIPS score will be available to the public which may affect your reputation with patients and other doctors. Therefore I encourage everyone to participate. In the upcoming months the IOA will be providing you more information on the program once the rules for MIPS are finalized later this fall.

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Tim Cundiff, OD
OA Public Health Trustee


Each month, the IOA will be sending out information to the public to promote eye care and overall health on a wide range of topics.  For example, with the autumn season, so many of our patients are suffering from allergies.  We all know the challenges that this season brings to our patients, especially contact lens wearers.  At the IOA, we will provide the public with education, information, and encourage them to contact their nearest member optometrist. 

Topics and press releases will vary based on seasonal appropriateness and current issues.  Everything from diabetes to nutrition to computer eyestrain will be covered.

The IOA is committed to educating the public about the benefits of regular eye care.  If you have input or would be interested in joining the Public Health Committee, please contact the IOA.

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 Announcing the 2016-2017 Winter CE Lineup!
All courses 6 hr. TQ. Registration for November course coming soon! Registration for all Winter 2017 courses will open late fall 2016.

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






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