Ophthalmology - Impactful Advocacy in Eye Care

As we have discussed supply chain issues before and how frustrating it can be, we know first hand the benefits of driving the change you want to see in the eye care industry through advocacy efforts. What does this mean? 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says "AAO is pressing the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to immediately fix its misguided approach to the implementation of key portions of legislation to outlaw surprise billing by health care facilities enacted by Congress with bi-partisan support in 2021.  The AOA is already leading a direct dialog with agency officials to insist on immediate changes to eliminate unnecessary new regulatory burdens on small practices detailed in late and confusing directives issued by HHS on Dec. 21, 2021, detailing broadly applied “Good Faith Estimate” requirements. To amplify its advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., AOA leaders are coordinating with other physician groups whose members have also being mistakenly targeted, including the ADA, the APsychA and the AMA, as well as a coalition of like-minded patient access organizations."

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry encourages "the involvement of leaders of our member institutions in public policy development and advocacy through our Government Affairs Committee and through “grass-tops” activities at the school and college level. Working with allied groups such as the American Optometric Association, ASCO develops and advocates for policies to include optometry in federal legislation and further advance the interests of optometric education. ASCO also works with interprofessional organizations such as the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, and the related Alliance for Eye and Vision Research to pursue federal initiatives affecting optometric education and other health professions education groups.Decisions made by Congress and regulatory agencies on funding of Medicare and Medicaid, research grants, student loans, the National Eye Institute and other policy areas directly affect ASCO member institutions that are educating tomorrow’s Doctors of Optometry."

How can you help? How can you make a difference? You cannot drive down the cost of proparacaine or tropicamide. You cannot make lidocaine or gonak available in the market. You cannot bring politics into practice. But this is not a partisan issue. Our solution is simple and cost-effective. 

As the elected officials who represent you or the location of your practice, your representatives have a duty to listen to your needs and to meet with you. Get to know them and discuss your views as their constituent and member of the business community. During each election, legislators must win support of their district or state, which provides you, the voter, important leverage. Visit the website of each elected body and find your member. Call / send a email and you can get an insider look at the best approach to take. 

Each member's website includes their press releases, bios and committee assignments. Sign up for your members' newsletters via their website; the newsletter will keep you current on how they're voting and local appearances such as town hall meetings where constituents can ask questions. Most members of legislatures also have Twitter accounts you can follow. Many groups like ASCO and AAO have great programs that you can get involved in.  Feel free to contact here we would be glad to help point you in the right direction! 


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