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2017 April eNews

April 2017  Volume 14, Issue 4
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
AOA Trustee Candidate Lori Grover, OD, PhD

2017 CPT Codes
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

The Illinois College of Optometry graduating class of 2017 will graduate on May 20, the Indiana University School of Optometry on May 6, the Southern College of Optometry on May 4, and the University of Missouri College of Optometry on May 13. This means that there will be many new optometrists looking for career opportunities in our state. Many of these graduates have been involved in Illinois Optometry Clubs while in school, and we want to keep those graduates members now that they have left Optometry School behind them! For many of us, this is a great opportunity to bring in an associate, or hire a new optometrist in our practice. Since these new optometrists often are looking for direction, this is a great time to mentor new graduates in your area. If you know of someone new moving into your practice or your area, give them a call or email them, and tell them about all of the fantastic benefits you get from being an IOA member. Even if they are not close enough for you to mentor personally, please direct them to the IOA office and we will assign them a mentor from their local society.

Encourage all of the new graduates working in your area to attend the local IOA society meeting so that they can meet other members and understand the camaraderie that you feel as a member of your society. It is always challenging to go to that first meeting when you don’t know anyone, so please consider contacting them directly and giving them a personal welcome. Your local society can take advantage of the enthusiasm that new members bring, and new members can learn from experienced members about many different aspects of optometry. It is truly a win-win situation when you can expand your local society with new members.

So, please don’t hesitate to contact the IOA office if you would like to volunteer to be a mentor, would like to be assigned a mentor, or have any questions about the mentoring program!

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Mark Skowron, OD
IOA President-Elect

I am happy to report that our winter CE program was again a success. In this time of transition without an Executive Director, it is a tribute to the professionalism of our staff to continue to provide the services and education you have all grown to expect under the leadership of now retired Mike Horstman. Charlene Marsh as assistant executive director and with the help of Katie Lewis and Patricia Troyer has ensured that IOA continue provide quality, profitable CE in pleasant venues. 


We had four venues of CE this year, Bloomington 1/22, Matteson 2/5, Rosemont 3/5, and Wheeling 3/12. I am happy to report that they were profitable events for the association. Every location made money. What is also refreshing is that of the 715 in attendance, 295 were non IOA members who pay a higher fee to attend. So we generated a significant amount of non-dues revenue from non-members. Additional revenue comes from vendors who Char recruits to pay to come and display their products at these education events. It has been a tough year for the staff during this transition, so when you see them thank them for their dedication and hard work. As in all of our practices, the IOA would not be what it is today without a competent, dedicated staff.

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Tina Funk, OD
IOA Secretary/Treasurer

As you all know, our last ED, Debra Hurston, is no longer part of our organization.  We are seriously underway in the search for a new ED and have been making terrific progress.  We have an excellent search committee, and with their help, we have come up with a viable candidate.  After some background checks are conducted, we will be setting up a series of personal interviews with them.  We are very excited about the possibilities!

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Eric Botts, OD
Third Party Trustee


As most of you are aware NGS, our Illinois Medicare carrier has recently published a policy LCD L36831 titled Visual Electrophysiology Testing effective for VEP/ERG's performed on or after March 16th. Although the IOA and other organizations encouraged NGS to continue allowing VEP/ERG testing on Glaucoma suspects and Glaucoma patients the current policy only allows billable testing on patients without a definitive diagnosis of glaucoma suspect or glaucoma. To clarify this I want to explain that testing for many other diagnosis is still billable including optic nerve and retinal disease. Optic neuropathy and optic atrophy as well as diabetic and hypertensive retinonpathy are all billable procedures in addition to artery and vein occlusions and exudative and non-exudative macular degenertion. My hope is that in the future the addition of Glaucoma suspect and Glaucoma will be added to the policy for visual electrophysiology. In the meantime I plan to continue using my VEP/ERG in the absence of a diagnosis of glaucoma to evaluate patients presenting with vision loss associated with abnormal optic nerve cupping and/or a thinning retinal nerve fiber and normal visual fields. The VEP/ERG is still an incredibly useful instrument that allows us to provide excellent patient care in diagnosing and monitoring ocular disease.  It is unfortunate that insurance carriers can dictate patient care to doctors however it is the reality that we practice in today. 


If you wish to view the entire policy please click here.

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Lori Grover, OD, PhD 

AOA Candidate for Trustee

We make important choices every day that impact our patients, our practices, and our profession.  At Optometry's Meeting this summer, you have the opportunity to support another important choice that can further elevate our profession within a complex health care and public health environment across our states and the nation.


As a candidate for AOA Trustee, my track record of experience and advocacy in navigating our nation's health care arena, promoting access to optometry in public health and health policy arenas, and representing our professional voice in legislation and regulation at state and national levels will strengthen our existing Board of Trustees.  Especially during this last decade of major health care reforms, I've fought major challenges and earned key successes for us, both as a doctor of optometry fighting for our physician parity to be fully realized at national tables, and as a fellow health care professional leading from within important public health organizations and agencies outside of optometry.  My background serves to enhance our Board's strengths and skills in meaningful and unique ways.  In addition to my years of working knowledge of AOA state affiliate and volunteer leadership structures, I also understand the house of medicine and surrounding health care delivery systems.  This diversity of experience strengthens optometry and the efforts of our volunteer leadership structure in important ways.


I'm honored to share with you this letter from Dr. Pam Lowe.  Pam is a Past President of the Illinois Optometric Association, a leader within her networks and community, and - like you - a dedicated volunteer.  After reading her words, please let me know if I can answer any questions.  


Also, please visit and 'Eye Health Net' page on Facebook to learn more.  I hope to hear from you soon!

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