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  1. Pete,

    How are you?

    The January issue of Ocular Surgery News has as it’s cover story – “Relationship between MDs, ODs changing as integrated eye care gains in popularity”. Quite a change in what is publically written in an ophthalmology journal today vs. years ago.

    The article discusses an AAO, “Eye on Efficiency Initiative” as “Web-based, media driven and focused on engaging optometry in our practices and how to do it”. Yet they do not discuss getting Optometry’s input or direction. Wouldn’t that make sense (who said ophthal. ever had any sense?)

    I was wondering if a contact from AOA discussing this article and this Initiative would be an opening for meaningful discussion?

    As an OD who help start the whole Co-Management Center concept 25 years ago and as a full partner in an OD-MD practice, I might have some valuable insights. In other words, I would volunteer to serve in whatever role you would deem appropriate.

    Please let me know what you think after you’ve read the article.

    Randy Reichle, OD
    Houston, TX

  2. Take Back The Dispensary!

    Pete I appreciated your recent contribution AOA News December 2008 Vol. 47 #8 regarding our new colleague’s eyewear dispensing abilities. I have been involved with clinical extern education for four decades and like you, have noticed a significant decrease in knowledge and skill level in this area with our new colleagues each successive year.

    Recently, in discussion with one our externs regarding the upcoming National Board Part III, section #1, it became obvious he did not understand how to measure horizontal prism. To my surprise I found the extern had the option via his optometric institution to take a pre-test allowing him to be exempt from the course that explained this principle. My question is, how is the new OD supposed to know the fundamentals of ophthalmic optics and determine if and what they prescribing is appropriate for their patient? I do not believe by reading a magazine and answering questions is a greater step up from the above scenario outlined.

    You are correct that patients come to us for solutions to their visual and eye health needs. Of all the professions we are the only one that understands this clearly. They do expect us to understand (not only to understand but be the experts) in ophthalmic optics.

    Many young ODs revel in being able to claim they provide “full scope eye care” but in reality are lacking the main entity of optics that has made our profession what it is.

    Thirty years ago, the optometric institution’s responsibility to prepare the new OD in this area was firmly established. Has something changed? Why have the schools along with the NEBO and finally the AOA shrunk from this responsibility? I submit that the expanded scope we fought for 30 years ago was to supplement our scope not replace refraction and ophthalmic optics.

    The bottom line for the new optometrist is the patient needs to see well with the optical device you prescribe. If they don’t, they are not coming back. This is analogous the person who calls him/herself a plumber and has the water reversed in the building. This person is not really a plumber, they are something else.

    Joe Molinari AFOS ID# 017993

  3. Pete,

    Your 2009 resolutions as published in the AOA news could not have been any better. I agree with you and appreciate you enumerating the vision and values so many of us hold dear. Energizing the “core” group of O.D.’s has really never been the problem, but reminding us to continuously “beat the AOA drum” for our non member colleagues should serve as a reminder we are a legislated profession that takes grass roots involvement. More and issue focused involvement is the key to success.

    Investing in our businesses and staff is critical to success. In order to stay on the cuttting edge of eyecare we must be willing to invest in our practices through staff traiing and updating equipment. Not only do we have to invest in the staff and equipment we need to look toward the future os health care and “read the tea leaves”. I really think to survive as a meaningful and viable profession Board Certification in some form is a must.

    I also ageee we need to continusouly review our managed care contracts, those that don’t have a handle on this will soon be working for nothing as the managed care plans are in business for a profit.

    Thanks for all you do Pete. You are doing a great job.

    See you in San Diego.

    Jeff Hilovsky, O.D., F.A.A.O.

  4. Pete,
    I am happy to see that you are keeping very active. I enjoyed reading the 2009 Resolutions and wishes.
    I look forward to seeing you in Washington in June. Perhaps at other meetings before than.
    If I can help, please let me know.



  5. Thanks Moes – will miss you all at the North American Meeting in a couple of weeks.

  6. Pete….
    As an optometrist in private practice, I wanted to let you know how inspiring your President’s columns are. The “2009 Resolutions” and “Taking back the Dispensary” made me appreciate how practical & “in tune to the real world” that our AOA leadership is. So many of your comments are so easy to identify with! I realize that you also identify with that wonderful feeling I think most optometrists obtain everyday by knowing that we still care about our patients…and the patients appreciate it!
    Again, thank you for being such an inspiring,insightful leader.
    Martha Rosemore Greenberg

  7. Thank you for your kind words. I am the luckiest optometrist in the world this year to be serving as AOA President. Pete

  8. Dear Dr. Kehoe, Why on earth must we undergo another “board certification”? We have passed state boards, become therapeutically certified, and some have gone on with further certifications. I feel I am certified, not “certifiable”. Am I wrong, for Pete’s sake?
    Thanks and pardon the weak pun attempt.
    –Carl Ross

  9. Carl,
    Thank you for commenting. Unfortunately optometry is the only profession that does not have board certification – and board certification is the standard that is used in the healthcare system today and likely even more important in the near future. The real issue is continued competence, which first requires us to be board certified to demonstrate continued competence. Unfortunately optometry has no system to demonstrate to our patients and the payors that we have been keeping up with the latest in optometry. We have no system to demonstrate that I understand optometry in 2009 rather than when I graduated in 1984. I encourage you to look through all of the materials on the AOA website to understand that National Boards and TPA certifications are not enough for the future of our profession. We want to be sure that optometry can participate fully the new value-based healthcare system of the future. To learn more and ask specific questions go to: http://www.aoa.org/jbcpt.xml – Pete

  10. Pete,

    Really, it sounds like just a ploy to collect more money from the average every day O.D. and to keep people who devise boards to be employed for a few more years. I have talked to many of my fellow O.D.’s who feel the same way. Come on, why, really?

    Respectfully, Carl

  11. Here is the DEAL.
    1) patients have always liked Optometrist because we are not MD’s! Quit trying to emulate them. We are different and unique and there is absoluteely no need for further board certification.
    2) Forget third party payers and forget trying to practice like Ophthalmologists. IF you want to do well but not be greedy, stop taking all mediclal insurances, including Medicare, and just practice Optometry. Accept Optical plans that make sense and cash only.
    3) Absurd ideas like Board Certification is another reason why I just discontiued my AOA membership after 25 years in practice!

    Stanley E. Toompas, (ICO ’83)

  12. Pete,
    I have a concern that the BC process will divide optometrist into two groups, those that are BC and then the “regular OD’s.” Is that really a good thing? I am sure you are already aware that this BC process has been a disaster for dentist. I think there are only about 800 dentist out 130,000 that are BC. I would venture to guess that most dentists don’t see any value in this process. I don’t think that the board has put rational thought into the fact that this will divide Optometry and not unify it.
    Do you think that a state would keep renewing our licenses if they consider Optometrists to not be continually competent? I don’t. We are continually competent by attending CE on an annual basis. If the public wants a BC optometrist just make us all BC if we continue to obtain our necessary hours for licensure.
    Best Regards,

  13. Pete,
    I must agree with Dr Lempp, I do not see any advantages to becoming Board Certified (BC), not only that in many states us OD’s already have to have more hours than our MD colleges that are PCP’s and are Board certified without mandatory yearly CE’s, What you guys need to spend your time on is a Unified Optometric Licensure for the entire United States, and also getting universal insurance acceptance. For Example, I practice in PA, and in PA only MD’s can bill for medical procedures for medicaid, and OD’s can’t get reimbursed for the same procedures a clear discrimination. Instead of visiting Universities, which isn’t bad, visit us guys and gals in the trenches doing the real work.
    Dr B

  14. Pete, I must also agree with Dr’s Lempp, and Boshinski. Board certification in medicine is in a particular speciality…Radiology, O.B.,Ophthalmogy, Internal medicine..ect.. To become “Board Certified” in “Optometry” seems repetious. I do not see how passing a test on Sunday will change the way I evaluate an uncomfortable contact lens on Monday morning.
    You can be sure the first thing the insurance industry will do is require board certification
    thereby eliminating anyone who is not. This is a bad idea that can only divide the profession.
    Thanks for your time

  15. Carl,
    It is not a ploy at all, but a legitimate attempt to insure that our profession that has fought so hard to be part of the healthcare system can remain a fully participating member of every patient’s healthcare team in the future.

  16. Stan,
    So sorry to hear that you would drop your membership. Do you accept Medicare? If so, due to the daily efforts of the AOA and other providers, optometrists will receive $148 million more dollars this year from Medicare. And do you provide post-cataract glasses? If so, due to the AOA efforts, the requirement to become a certified DEMRC provider and post a surety bond was eliminated for optometry – that SAVED you at least $3500 per year! And lastly…I’m not sure if you are already doing electronic health records, but due to the AOA’s efforts exclusively – optometry was included in the recent stimulus bill that helps practitioners become EHR compliant for Medicare and Medicaid. These are just a few of the reasons why we need EVERY optometrist to be a dues paying member.
    You are correct that optometrists are generally loved by their patients. However, it has been the expansion of our scope that has endeared more patients to us recently. We can not afford to be left out of the changing healthcare system. It would be sad if many of your patients suddenly couldn’t see you because you weren’t allowed on the panel due to a lack fo the ability to demonstrate continued competence or would you like to receive significant reimbursement reductions due to your lack of demonstration of continued competence? We MUST prepare for the future, it is not about emulating another profession, but optometry is unique in that there is another profession that does have the ability to demonstrate continued competence and a direct competitor for our patients. Cash only sounds great, but isn’t realistic for most practitioners in todays world. Stan – I edited out a potential anti-trust comment prior to approving your post!

  17. Ryan –
    The concern of dividing our profession was expressed back when we decided that medical eye care was the way for our profession to go, however I think the vast majority in our profession would agree it was the correct decision for our patients and our profession to go forward. Your comments about dentistry are somewhat accurate, however dentistry has no competitor that is board certified and competing for the same patients.
    As for the states renewing your licenses, unfortunately continuing education is NOT a demonstration of continued competence. There must be a standardized mechanism to prove to your patients, the regulators (not state licensing boards) and payors that we understand how a 2009 optometrist is to practice. The maintenance of certification program that is proposed is very similar to that of the medical specialties and is extremely credible. The proposed model will be credible, defenseable and achieveable by any optometrist who feels it important to them and their practice. We just need to be sure that when the changing healthcare arrives that optometry is able to fully participate on all levels. We need every tool in our tool belt and the ability to demonstrate continued competence is, I believe, in the future.

  18. Dr B –
    Again – continuing education (even tested) is not a demonstration of continued competence. For the MD’s to maintain their board certified status they must do similar things as what is being proposed by the JBCPT – again – NOT related to licensure!
    As for the Unified Optometric License. We all must realize there is NO National or Unified License in any profession. I agree that we need to move toward license mobility – it is critical to our profession’s future and I hope that state boards would recognize that if an optometrist has been practicing in a state, has no negative license infractions AND can demonstrate a standardized continued competence, that it will in fact open up license mobility.
    The AOA board members visit about 35 state association meetings every year. We’d be at all 50 states if we didn’t have conflicts. The discrimination you mention in Medicaid unfortunately is a state issue since in Illinois we can provide the medical care at the same fees as ophthalmology. We are working diligently at the AOA in Washington to try to close that loophole, but it will take time.
    Thanks for your comments,

  19. See my note about specialites to Dr. Anderson. I believe we are most similar to family practitioners. Passing a standardized test will demonstrate to your patients and the payors that you have the knowledge of a modern day optometrist. Like all educational processes, you will be a better doctor if only you learn one more thing than what you knew the day before – and that will be good for your patients.
    There are discussions about a start date for the program so those who believe in the future will all be prepared to fully participate if insurance companies require this. However, I don’t believe our profession can take the risk of not having the ability to demonstrate continued competence to the insurance industry and the government payors (Medicare and Medicaid) and most importantly…our patients because all you have to do is read the news almost everyday and see that ability to demonstrate quality (and the Medical Home Model only allows BC physicians to participate because of the perception of quality associated with BC) is critical for full participation in the future. TPA’s caused a momentary divide in the profession, but overall I think the vast majority would agree it was the right move back in the 1970’s.

  20. It’s time to understand and accept the simple truth; government, citizen’s groups, institutions and third-party plans are in the position to choose, and they are demanding competent, board certified practitioners. Optometry is the only doctor-level health profession without board certification.

    The Board Certification initiative presents each of us with two very different decisions to make; one is a choice for our profession and the other is strictly a personal choice. For our profession, I am convinced that we need to support the BC initiative starting with a “Yes” vote by the AOA in June.

    Why the sudden strong support? I was not fully persuaded until I attended the Joint Board Certification Project Team presentation at SECO. The presentation could not have been more inclusive, more transparent and more explanative. Every concern of every doctor present was welcomed and answered as completely as possible.

    The commissioners were questioned, challenged and personally queried on possible conflicts. To a person, the commissioners responded openly and candidly. Dave Cockrell went through valid reason after valid reason for BC, Tom Lewis discussed the process that went into the JBCPT Report point by point and Randy Brooks answered every challenge openly and honestly.

    Here’s a major point; you and I need to understand that a “yes” vote in June will be the starting point. An affirmative vote will put in motion the means for the new organization to seek out the input of the entire profession before approving and implementing a process for board certification.

    You read that right – The AOA vote in June is “the starting point” to “seek out the input of the entire profession before implementing the process.”

    Clearly the job done by the JBCPT has not been anything less than solid, well-considered, selfless, time-consuming work – and every member of the joint commission deserves our thanks. Sadly, in a room that had at least 500 seats, only 40 to 50 ODs attended when SECO registration was 8000. There were no excuses for not being in that room – nothing on the SECO agenda conflicted with the JBCPT meeting. You can’t carp and complain here and on every other Internet site about not being heard, but you also need to accept that the 400+ empty seats in that room spoke volumes.

    I am a tough old bird, and I have no illusion that board certification is the universal remedy for all that needs fixing in optometry. I’m pretty sure that having board certification won’t magically open every government, third-party or citizen’s group door. What I am sure of is that there is a strong possibility that if we make the wrong choice, optometry may lose any chance of having a seat at the vision and eye care table.

    If board certification is rejected, we will be sending a clear message that optometrists don’t value their profession enough to warrant continuing competency. Those who wish us ill will have proof that optometrists don’t think that we should have the same level of quality assurance that other “Doctors” offer the public.

    We must not let that happen. A “yes” vote in June will establish that optometrists confidently accept board certified continuing competence just as other physicians have done. Once we stand together for our profession, then each of us will have the opportunity to decide what is best for ourselves.

    Mike Cohen, OD, FAAO


  21. Dear Dr. Kehoe,

    Although my reasons for opposing the initial board certification process may appear self-serving, I would still like to share them with you and provide m another perspective. Fifteen years ago I voluntarily chose to complete a one-year accredited VA residency. Even though this was not required of me, I still felt an extra year of hard work at low pay was worth the benefit of improved clinical skills that would last throughout my career.

    The current board certification proposal is inequitable to those who have completed a residency by recommending a tiered point system, and completely disregarding those who completed a residency program over ten years ago.

    In conclusion, I concur with other residency trained optometrists that the only valid board certification process is one that involves participation in an accredited optometric residency program and the passing of a written examination upon its completion. I agree this latter argument is unrealistic because it would eliminate 75% of today’s practicing optometrists, even myself, because a written examination was not yet available upon the completion of my residency in 1995.

    Thanks you,

  22. Pete,
    I am sure you are aware of the most recent article by Ken Meyers which is posted on ODwire.org. Do you have any counter points to his disscusion? I would venture to guess that most ODs would agree with his article. I also find it odd that most ODs that I talk to or read on blogs such as yours are against this BC process. Do you know of any articles that are pro-BC other than from the board itself? Is the AOA listening to their members who they represent? Our time and money should be spent on improving our scope of pratice and not wasting our time and money on something that will not improve our profession.
    Best Regards,

  23. Dr. Kehoe

    In your editorial in the March 9 issue of AOA news you make reference to “a vocal few” who you believe are opposed to board certification. You need to talk to your state Optometric associations’ presidents. In Ohio, we have had “town hall” forums about board certification and virtually everyone who has spoken at these meetings is STRONGLY OPPOSED to the movement. I am convinced that our “leaders” are trying to “railroad” board certification through even if the vast majority of ODs are opposed to it.
    As usual, the “leaders”, who are not in the real world of practicing Optometry, are convinced that the rest of us are not smart enough to make the “right” decision. Your reasons for promoting board certification are ludicrous and only an attempt to make yourselves more like “real doctors”. Board certification does nothing to promote continued or “advanced” competence.

    Board certification will surely be divisive to Optometry and will surely kill the AOA and state affiliate membership. I WILL NOT be a member if you “leaders” manage to push this through against the wishes of a huge majority who oppose the measure. Based on my personal survey at the Ohio meetings, I can tell you that you will lose a minimum of 70% of your membership. Think about that!

    VERY opposed to Optometric Board Certification
    Bob Gradisek

  24. Pete, I must confess that I am unaware of any threats to Otometry’s participation in Health care plans but for the proposals for board certifications, which are guranteed to do so. Our leadership seems to be willing to expose thousands of O.D.’s to second class practitionors without identifying any real source for these preceived future threats. It is my strong belief that labeling licensing requirements and tested continuing education requirements as inadaquate, to show competency, is a disservice to the current system that has served us well. There is no reason to believe that another layer of testing will give third parties greater confidence and none of them have sought to impose it but for AOA.
    Les Paczkowski,O.D.

  25. Mike –
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments and most importantly for taking the time to attend the JBCPT meeting at SECO. It was disappointing that only 40-50 people attending the event when it didn’t conflict with other education. I have to believe some of the vocal internet opponents were in Atlanta and didn’t attend the event to ask the tough questions of the JBCPT.

  26. Dean,
    Thank you for your post and your honesty in bias. Personally I agree with your viewpoint, although having had the “time drain” explained to me, and knowing that since your residency, our profession has no way for you to demonstrate that you have the same knowledge as when you finished your residency or have “kept up” – Just like I have no way to prove to anyone that I practice as a 2009 optometrist should rather than when I graduated in 1984. Wow – 25 years ago! Bottom line is that I am confident that if the HOD approves the formation of the American Board of Optometry the AOA representatives will continue to listen to comments and be open to suggestions that make sense during the development and on-going process.

  27. Ryan,
    The AOA has not taken the position to specifically “counter” some of the opposition’s comments, however it seems that the opponents positions have some how earned more credibility than the position of the JBCPT and the AOA. There will a lot more posts on this blog and other forms of media that will specifically counter comments that seem opposite the position of the JBCPT and the AOA. My comment to our profession is to keep an open mind and most importantly read the newspapers and watch the news and see how many times you hear about the federal government coming up with ways to save dollars in healthcare and how many times they use words “quality” or “value”.

  28. Bob –
    My comment about a “vocal few” is not meant to suggest that we are oblivious to the fact that a large percentage is opposed to the idea of board certification at this point.
    The reality is that we have a “vocal few” that are very much in favor of allowing our profession to be fully prepared for the future changes in health care. We are hoping to engage the rank and file optometrists that are in favor so that the opponents can have a better understanding of why they – and not just the state and national leadership – understand that it is time to take the next logical step in our professions evolution.
    There was a very loud oppostion back in the pre-DPA, TPA days that said we would “divide the profession”.
    We obviously want every OD in the country to be a member of the AOA through their state associations – just think if we had the dues dollars and PAC investments from 38% more of the profession! We don’t want to lose any members over this issue, however when we look ahead to the future – it scares me more that me and my daughter (who will graduate in 2011) will not be able to fully participate in the new healthcare system of the future. Would it be OK for our profession if we were forced to accept less for the same services as board certified physicians (ophthalmology)? We’ve battled to long and hard for non-discrimination in Medicare – we can’t risk that for our patients or our profession.

  29. Les,
    Thank you for your comments – but I would encourage you to search the internet for comments from Washington D.C. and the concept of value-based and quality-based healthcare. The system currently has no way to really measure outcomes, so they are defaulting to things like continued competence and board certification as assumptions of quality and value. Look at the “Medical-Home” demonstration project in several states. ONLY board ceritfied physicians are allowed in that pilot project. 85% of all physicians are board certified. Most ophthalmologists are board certified – and we are competing for the same primary care patients – will optometry be prepared for the future?

  30. Pete,
    I am sure you are aware that as the current BC is written all new graduates, including your daughter, will not be able to participate in the NEW health care system because she won’t be eligible to become BC for 3 years unless she does a residency. Why is it that residents get a free pass to sit for BC and we practioners that are seeing just as many patients as they are if not more have to wait 3 years to sit for BC. Does my first year out of school hold no value? Why is it that a fellow gets a free year? Just because they write a paper or do a study mean that they are more competent then someone who would like to dedicate more of their time to their practice. A residency shows no more competence than an active practioner. In your response that the debate of DPA and TPA will divide the profession, at least we gained something from that. We stand to gain what from being BC? An advancement in our scope, NO, reciprocity, NO, an increase in payment from ins. companies, NO, an increased cost for us to practice, YES. I, and I am sure our collegues whould like to hear from our AOA on the oppostions comments. It will help us get a better understanding of why this will make us better. But please present the facts not presumptive conditions of the future.
    Best regards,

  31. Ryan,
    Your points are valid and I think the profession will be happy with the changes that are being made to the model. Board eligible will help the new grads and those of us that have been out in practice for quite some time. I hope the American Board of Optometry will be formed after June this year and I’m confident that the AOA representatives will take your concerns about those of us that have experience. I personally agree that we should get some credit. The residency is “advanced training beyond initial licensure” which is a component of board certification – that is why they deserve “credit”.
    As for reciprocity – that term is not what is reasonable – however – licensure by endorsement is currently available in about 20 states and I have to believe that if a practitioner, even in the state with the least scope of practice, has a solid record, and has demonstrated his knowledge of optometry in “2009” by passing a standardized board certification or continued competence – a state board would be challenged to deny that practioner a license in another state. License mobility I hope will be improved by optometry having board certification and continued competence. As for being paid more – I worry more about being paid less if we aren’t board certified. Stay tuned for a lot of information from the AOA through a variety of media – we want everyone to have every opportunity to have their questions answered.

  32. I don’t test well. I took the National Boards twice before I passed. Yet I rose the become Chairman of the Georgia State Board of Trustees and served 3 years on the Georgia State Board of Examiners in Optometry. When I can’t quite remember how to treat a certain disease I go back to my office and look it up. Does that make me incompetent? I’m not interested in injectables and Zernicke Polynomials.If I elect not to take the test for the new Board Certification or take the test and fail, will I be perceived by my colleagues, the AOA, and the general public as incompetent? Will I be blacklisted from Vision Provider plans because my profession is going to give them the impression that I’m not Competent? Will I lose my ability to earn an income and send my kids to college because I will no longer be allowed to be on VSP,Spectra, BCBS,and other provider plans because I will be “perceived” as incompetent? This is scary!

  33. Bill –
    I don’t like tests either. The good news about board certification for optometry – and for that matter, all others, is that you can re-take the test until you do pass. And more importantly, this exam will be much more patient and patient management oriented than reciting facts. Unlike what has been proposed by the NC Board of Optometry and others – board certification and passing the test will NOT BE linked to licensure. If some in the profession had their way – if you failed the test, you would not renew your license until you pass. Now THAT is scary!
    Attainable and credible are not mutually exclusive and for any practioner that is competent and willing to put the effort in – I’m confident that we’ll all pass!

  34. Thanks for your comments. I don’t want to get in the way of progres but I also don’t want progress to devalue my value to the profession. I and my other older colleagues have contributed enormously to advancing our profession in Georgia in diagnostics and therapeutics. Oh my goodness-the time and effort and expense we put in to get to where we are today! Please don’t forget us or devalue us or cause the public or our collagues to “perceive” us as incompetent if we don’t want to take the test or take it and don’t pass. But if this comes about then please make it fair. When I took the National Boards many complained that we studied from books we used at SCO but many of the questions came from books used at other optometry schools and the information wasn’t always the same or it was new information we had never seen before. How will this be handled?

  35. Dr. Kehoe,
    I just read your article “We Are Family.” I couldn’t agree more that we are a family. The AOA is acting like my grandparents did in the 70’s. They told me to eat meat and potatoes, whole milk and eggs so I would grow. Guess what? I have a cholesterol problem now!

    In all seriousness, this issue of Board Certification and Maintence of Certification is a dividing, controversial issue wherein our leadership is being completely dissmissive of the will of its membership. They are behaving like my grandparents telling me to take my medicine because they know what is right for me. A vocal minority is telling us that they know what is right for optometry, but they, in fact, are unaware of the long term consequences of their actions. The president of my state organization has in essence said she intends to vote against the majority view unless we come up with some other means to establish MOC. I, however, do not believe the argument presented that we need do so.

    The AOA says they want to create a credible and defendable model with this proposal, yet it has failed to produce something that has grassroots support with the rank and file membership. If it isn’t credible or defendable to the majority of its membership, you will have a hard time convincing legislators and players in the health industry. You will have an even harder time without my AOA dues and contributions to organized optometry — both in terms of money and time. I certainly will not belong to an association which has failed to convince its membership and is dissmissive with their concerns.

    So if we’re a family, by ignoring the majority of your family members, you then become the disrepectful uncle that’s taking advantage of the rest of the family. Next time you come around and begging us for money your family will then, in turn, not be there for you when you need them.

    And down the road, someone will call me from the Association, just as I have done in the past, to ask why I am no longer a member. I just find that truly ironic.

    We are a family….and most especially no longer an organization built on democratic principles and representative of the profession of optometry. Guess who’s not coming to the family reunion….

  36. Daniel,
    Thank you for being part of the family and it sounds, an active family member. I am currently at the Alaska Optometric Association meeting and there were about 65 members in attendance. I asked the audience how many had looked at the materials from the AOA. With the exception of the 6 board members, about 5 others raised their hand. What surprised me more, was when I asked how many had read the information from OD-Wire, Optcom List or Optometric Physician. About 8 people raised their hands. So out of 65 members, less than 20% had done any homework on this very important topic for our profession.

    Unfortunately, this is a common occurance that has been shared by my fellow AOA board members, state leaders and state executive directors around the country. There is a very loud, but small group on both sides of the issue. The majority of members have not done their homework and really aren’t very engaged. Usually when the presentation of the arguments for why we need this for the profession is made, the majority of those in attendance agree that we must move forward, but we literally had to go to the members to educate them.

    Unlike the grandparents you describe, or the disrespectful uncle, I think the AOA has been listening and as you can see over the last 5 months, the model has changed a lot. And as I’ve shared, it will likely change more at the HOD, because the AOA and your state leaders have listened to you, as their member.

    And that is why we need you to remain a member, and remain active. Continue to share your thoughts. If the American Board of Optometry is formed, the AOA will have significant influence on it’s future through our representatives and they will continue to listen to the membership. I’m confident that the HOD will get it right, the board certification model will be credible, attainable and defensible with the payers and patients we serve. The maintenance of certification model has has been widely accepted and will serve optometry and our patients well in the future, but we must be board certified first.

    Please stay an active member and encourage all the non-members to start paying their fair share and actively participating in OUR profession.

    Thank you for your thoughts,

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