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January 2016      Volume 13, Issue 1
Welcome to the IOA eNews! With the new year, we are trying new things! One being our eNews format. 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 Immediate Past President
IOA Legislative Trustee
IOA Third Party Trustee
IOA Membership Trustee
IOA Communications Trustee

Winter CE Series
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

Happy New Year’s to everyone!  I hope that your holiday season was filled with joy, peace, and special memories of time spent with loved ones.  I know for many of us the New Year is a time for setting new goals and resolutions- to exercise more, to eat better, and to save for the future.  My New Year’s challenge to you is that if you aren’t already doing so, please consider investing in your profession’s future by giving a dollar a day to the IOA PAC.  You can set up PAC giving online or by calling the IOA office to painlessly bill your credit card or make ACH payments of $30 monthly.  If every IOA member did this in 2016, we would easily triple our PAC and exponentially expand our influence in Springfield.

Why invest in the future of optometry you might ask?  Why now?  We need to expand our resources to protect our right to practice more now in 2016 than ever before.  For those of you who have not heard, we still have a 1-800 Contacts bill hanging in the legislative process in Illinois.  We also know based on recent legislative action in Arizona that 1-800 Contacts is getting much more aggressive in their legislative attempts, revealing their true motives and agenda.  In Arizona, 1-800 Contacts is attempting to eliminate expiration dates on contact lens prescriptions, allow contact lenses to be sold in vending machines and kiosks, make all contact lens prescriptions generic regardless of material and other parameters to allow them to substitute any brand of contact lens for another within the same power, and to make it illegal for optometrists to sell the contact lenses and glasses that they prescribe.  Will 1-800 Contacts amend their bill in Illinois to reflect what they are attempting in Arizona?  I don’t know, but I do know that it is a call to action for every OD and we must be ready to fight.  If you don’t stand up for your profession, who will?  Please join me in the battle by signing up for or increasing your contributions to the IOA PAC today.  Our future depends on it.

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Christine Allison, OD
IOA President-Elect

The beginning of the year is a great time to reflect on past, present, and future. Did we achieve our personal and professional goals from the past year? This is a time for retrospective thought to understand the good and the bad of the previous year. What did we do right?  What did we do wrong? How we can continue to pass the good on into the New Year, while leaving the bad behind us?  Next, we need to look at our present circumstances and decide if there is something new or different we may strive for in our lives.  The final process of starting the New Year involves planning and setting goals for the upcoming year. What do we want to happen this year, and what do we need to do to get there? While we may personally ask each of these questions, an organization such as the IOA also needs to do the same.  We need to cherish the past and all that the IOA has accomplished, we need to be proud of all that optometrists in Illinois can do now in 2016, and we need to look forward to a wonderful future.  There will be some significant challenges to optometry and the IOA in 2016 due to issues such as Opternative and OPP, but if we unite and stay firm in our support of the IOA, we can reach our goals by the end of 2016.  I am looking forward to a fresh new year filled with excitement, and I wish the same for all members of the IOA.  Happy New Year!

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Mark Skowron, OD
IOA Secretary/Treasurer

Happy New Year to all.  The search for our new executive director is going well. We are down to a couple of highly qualified applicants, both having extensive Executive Director experience in related fields. Our goal is to be able to present our recommended candidate to the Executive Council for their approval in the near future. Then, once our decision is made, we then go into negotiations, and work out a compensation package that is acceptable to both parties. Once that is arranged, and after the Executive Council gives their approval, we then contact an attorney to have a contract drawn up.


On the financial side, the Stock Market was slightly down for 2015. The S&P was down 2.2 % as was our investment portfolio. We are well diversified as we have our investments spread throughout eight funds in Federated Funds Family. We are currently reviewing the performance of each individual fund and comparing them to other funds in the same category. Our portfolio has grown 76% since 2009, that averages out to 12.6% / year. Kudos to prior boards for having the foresight to create an investment vehicle. Because of them and the guidance of our current Executive Director, the financial state of our association is strong and our reserves are sufficient to see us through any emergency.

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Paul Stauder, OD
IOA Immediate Past President

It is through legislation that we are able to practice optometry.  It is also through legislation that we could cease to practice optometry!  Being a legislated profession, we are at the mercy of the legislature to decide at what level we can practice or if we can practice at all.  Grass roots and PAC funds help protect us from groups that would like to limit our ability to practice optometry.  Please take time to build a relationship with your legislators and educate them as to what an optometrist is and how we are educated.  Many legislators do not realize how many years of education we have. 

Last year the IOA started A Dollar A Day Campaign to help protect our profession.  If you are currently contributing to PAC, Thank You!  If you are not, I would ask that you start giving at least $1/day to help insure that the IOA has the funds needed to continue the advancement of our profession and fight the threats facing optometry in Illinois!


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Matt Jones, OD
IOA Legislative Trustee

I hope this message finds  you all having a great new year!  As I think about another year, I think about another election cycle that is coming up.  We are certain that there will be a great deal of turn over for our elected officials. This is partly due to the gridlock and "the shake up" of Springfield.  With each turn over, there becomes a gap in our key person network that can come back to haunt us in a time of need.  After the previous and the forthcoming elections, there is a great need for our members to step up and re-establish this new key person network.  Please be watching your local elections and let us know if there is a candidate that you might be able to help us with.  


DID YOU KNOW?   The same online contact lens retailer that is driving legislation in Illinois to stop contact lens UPP, has now introduced proposed legislation in Arizona that will eliminate certain specifications on prescriptions in attempts to allow for brand substitution and eliminate or greatly extend the expiration dates.  This company aleady has the ability to manufacture its own generic contact lenses and substitute all of the prescribed lenses.  How long will it be before they try to do the same thing in Illinois?


As I've said, as a profession, we are set to take on uprecedented defensive battles in 2016.   Please continue supporting the PAC and considering how you can get further involved in protecting the future of Optometry in Illinois. 

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Eric Botts, OD
IOA Third Party Trustee

Since I posted this last November there has been a glitch in the CMS system that requires them to update the fees schedule. The new updated Medicare Fee Schedule for 2016 should be available soon according to the NGS website.

January 1st was the beginning of a new year and a new Medicare allowable fee schedule starts for 2016. Illinois has different allowables depending on which county your practice is located in. The following shows which locality is associated with each county with most of downstate Illinois being in locality 99.



12             Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington

15             DuPage, Kane, Lake, Will

16             Cook

99             All Other Counties


The good news is that the Medicare allowables are not decreasing significantly but the bad news is they are not increasing very much. Overall most CPT codes are increasing a few pennies. To find your NGS Medicare fee schedule for 2016 go to the following link and click on the Fee Schedule Lookup. Also be sure to check out the NGSConnex located on the NGSMedicare homepage to look up eligibility and status on your Medicare patients. It is free and easy to use.

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Mindy Nguyen, OD
IOA Membership Trustee

Hope everyone had a safe and happy holidays! I am very happy that IOA was able to end the year with sponsoring a great event for the Student IOA club at ICO on Monday, December 14, 2015. We had a panel of 5 doctors (Dr. Brian Plattner, Dr. Kevin Glancy, Dr. George Roebuck, Dr. Haris Dzubar, Dr. Andrew Neukirch) who shared their experiences in working in different modes of practices as well different areas in Illinois and the effect of organized optometry in their careers. We had great student turnout and excellent feedback from the student attendees. We are looking forward to future collaborations with the students to help them achieve career excellence and more knowledge of organized optometry. The goal is to expand these opportunities to other optometry schools in the area in the near future.


I would also like to take the time to thank these doctors who donated their time on behalf of IOA to be at this event. I also want to give a big thanks to all the other doctors who have reached out to me regarding their interest in helping out with future events. Any doctors that have contacted me I have not forgotten about you and I have you on my list to reach out should any future student events arise. Its great to know that IOA members are so giving of their time and willing to come together for a common goal, whether it be legislative or membership! If you are interested in getting involved in future student events please contact me at


And maybe all IOA members can make it a New Year's resolution to invite one of their colleagues who are not currently IOA members to an IOA event in this coming year!

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Timothy Cundiff, OD

IOA Communications/Member Engagement Trustee

Most Snellen charts – standard or electronic – feature the 20/15 line of letters.  Rarely does one find a chart that features the 20/16 line.  Don’t let that affect your appreciation of the year 2016.  Our vision for the year 2016 should be just as clear and crisp as last year!

As optometrists, let us start this new year with clear vision – literally and figuratively.  Let us always focus our attention on achieving the clearest and most comfortable vision for our patients.  Let our personal and professional goal-setting challenge us to always fulfill our mission and vision statements.

Happy New Year to you all!  Happy 2016!

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Need CE?

Register NOW for the 2016 WINTER CE SERIES

1/17/16 -
"What's Hot in Neuro-Op?"
Speaker: Len Messner, OD
Westin Chicago North Shore - Wheeling, IL

1/24/16 - "Advanced Ocular Surface Disease Management"
Speaker: Paul Karpecki, OD
Hyatt Regency O'Hare - Rosemont, IL

2/14/16 - "Glaucoma A to Z: The All-Inclusive Winter Getaway"
Speaker: Mike Chaglasian, OD
Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center - Normal, IL

2/28/16 - "Current Concepts & Controversies in Eyecare"
Speaker: John McGreal, OD
Tinley Park Convention Center - Tinley Park, IL

Click here to register
and for course information

or Click here for .pdf copy of registration form 

Need CPR certification?
Register NOW for the IOA
CPR Class
February 27, 2016 1:30pm-3:30pm

Tinley Park Convention Center
18451 Convention Center Dr
Tinley Park, Illinois 60477

Click here to register online
or click here for .pdf CPR registration form

Note: This is the only CPR class IOA will be hosting this year

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




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