Article Date: 5/1/2009

West Virginia Scope of Practice Expansion Bills Under Study.
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West Virginia Scope of Practice Expansion Bills Under Study.

IDENTICAL HOUSE AND SENATE BILLS AIM TO END PRACTICE RESTRICTION

■ Although identical House (H.B. 2978) and Senate (S.B. 570) optometric scope-of-practice expansion bills before the West Virginia legislature didn't pass during the state's last legislative session, the Legislative Interim committee will study the subject, as per House Concurrent Resolution 46 (visit www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Text_HTML/2009_SESSIONS/RS/BILLS/hcr46%20intr.htm).

The House and Senate bills were designed to lift practice restrictions on the state's licensed O.D.s, while allowing the state Board of Optometry to regulate practice in West Virginia. (Visit www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_status/bills_text.cfm?billdoc=hb2978%20intr.htm&yr=2009&sesstype=RS&i=2978 to view the House bill, which again, is the same as the Senate bill.)

"The current scope of practice law is antiquated, given the evolvement of medical technology, which has translated to new training at accredited optometry schools," says Chad D. Robinson, executive director of the West Virginia Optometric Association (WVOA). "The bills seek to allow an optometrist licensed in West Virginia to practice what they have been taught in or properly trained in through an accredited school of optometry. In other words, if the optometrist is properly trained in a specific clinical practice, these bills say he should be able to perform that clinical practice in West Virginia."

An example of a clinical practice in which several O.D.s have undergone training, though the current law doesn't allow: Injectable drugs for age-related macular degeneration.

Mr. Robinson adds that West Virginia O.D.s believe that patients will receive better care and more access to eye care in the state with these restrictions lifted.

The Legislative Interim Committee, comprised of House and Senate members, meet monthly to study topics that have been decided at Session's end.

If the committee can come up with a proposal, they'll make these recommendations to the full body of the Legislature. This could be the agreed upon bill language. The 2010 legislative session begins in the second week of January.

"We will know more later this year," says Mr. Robinson. "Our association is determined to work on this issue until it's resolved."

HEALTH Notes
• A worldwide literature review conducted from 1988 to 2008 of patient satisfaction post-LASIK revealed that an average of 95.4% of patients were satisfied with their outcome, says a study in April's Ophthalmology. The surgeries occurred between 1995 and 2003 and included 2198 subjects.

Glitazone appears to be linked with diabetic macular edema development, even after adjusting for the confounding factors of age, glycemic control and insulin use, says a study in April's American Journal of Ophthalmology. Type 2 diabetes patients use glitazones, such as Rosiglitazone (Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline) to decrease insulin resistance.

Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Merck & Co., Inc. have signed a licensing agreement that grants Merck the exclusive commercial rights to Santen's tafluprost (a glaucoma and ocular hypertension drug) in Africa, Western Europe (excluding Germany), South America and North America (should the drug receive FDA approval). Under the agreement's terms, Merck will pay Santen an undisclosed fee as well as milestones and royalties based on future sales of the drug. Also, Merck will provide promotional support to Santen for the drug in Germany and Poland, and Santen has the option to co-promote the product in the United States, should it receive approval.

Hoya/Cleinman Offer Student Grant Program

EYECARE BUSINESSES SEEK TO PREPARE STUDENTS FOR PRIVATE PRACTICE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

■ Hoya Vision Care, North America has formed an alliance with Cleinman Performance Partners (an optometric practice management consultancy company) to offer a $250,000 optometry student grant.

"Hoya is committed to the success of private practice and, in spite of the current economic climate, we are continuing our support of the Schools of Optometry with this significant investment," says Barney Dougher, president of Hoya North America. "Our objective is to help better prepare students for the business of optometry."

LENSES LEVERAGE ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY

Essilor Introduces Lenses at Vision Expo


■ Essilor of America introduced four new lenses at the recent Vision Expo East meeting in New York.
Essilor's Varilux Ipseo IV progressive lens uses virtual reality research and the company's Dual Digital Vision technology to incorporate specific fitting parameters into the lenses, based on the way they fit the wearer. The Ipseo lens integrates the physiological measures of the wearer's head, eye movements and prescription parameters, via Wave-front Advanced Vision Enhancement Technology, to design the custom-made lens. The wearer's ADD power is split between the front and back surfaces of the lens. The company's VisionPrint System, a Class II FDA-approved measurement device is required to dispense the lens.



For outdoor wear, Essilor announced the launch of Xperio polarized lenses and Crizal lenses with Scotch-guard Protector.
Xperio polarized lenses offer glare reduction, natural-color enhancement, 100% UVA/UVB protection, clarity of vision and scratch resistance, among other attributes, says the company.
Noting that only 15% of U.S. eyeglass wearers have a primary pair of outdoor glasses, Carl Bracy, Essilor of America's vice president of marketing, says O.D.s can grow their practices, "by encouraging every clear prescription patient to also own a primary outdoor pair."
Crizal Sun lenses with Scotch-guard Protector, which eliminate more than 99% of reflections and glare, offer scratch and smudge resistance, easy cleaning, clarity and comfort, improving wearer safety and performance during activities, such as sports and driving, the company says. Also, the lenses provide a durable topcoat that doesn't break down, even after 20,000 cleanings, Essilor of America says.

Through the Hoya/Cleinman Graduate Connections Grant Program, Alan Cleinman, founder of the optometric practice management consultancy company, will personally present a workshop to the 19 schools of optometry entitled, "Controlling Your Destiny; The Entrepreneurial Optometrist" to ready students for future private-practice ownership.

Then, third- and fourth-year students can apply for the Grant to attend a Cleinman Performance Network meeting. Cleinman Performance Partners, in conjunction with each optometry school, will select a Grant winner from each school.

The Network meeting, which occurs twice a year, consists of the leaders of many of North America's largest and most profitable practices exchanging knowledge and developing new management, financial and strategic ideas pertaining to practice. Grant winners will also gain introductions to meeting attendants seeking practice associates, partners and successors.

In addition to the Grant program, Mr. Cleinman will present a special education program at the schools of optometry designed to prepare graduates for their involvement in private practice leadership positions.

The Grant Program is rolling out this year and will run through 2010 and likely beyond.

O.D. NOTEBOOK
SECO International named Martha Greenberg, O.D., Optometrist of the South, SECO's highest honor. In addition, Chevron Ergle, O.D., received SECO's Young Optometrist of the South award and Emily Ellison, L.D.O., C.P.O.T., was named Paraoptometric of the South. The awards were presented to the recipients during the recent SECO International House of Delegates meeting.

Prevent Blindness America will hold its third annual online auction, beginning June 1, to support screening, education, research and advocacy initiatives for eye care. Up for grabs are a vacation, entertainment and sports memorabilia, tickets to a television show taping and certificates to spas and hotels. Visit www.preventblindness.net/auction to bid.

■ The TearLab Osmolarity System received a 2009 Medical Design Excellence Award. Organized and presented by Canon Communications LLC, the awards exclusively recognize contributions and advances in medical products design.

VSP announced the launch of their newest progressive lenses, Inspire and Inspire HD, which use Essilor's 4Vu Technology to calculate lens prescription based on the patient's biometry. The lenses are available exclusively to VSP practices in Washington, D.C., Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

BizBash magazine named International Vision Expo East a top 100 annual event in New York.

Correction: To clarify, the Crizal Avancé listing, which ran in the "What's New" section of February, should have read: New and Improved Crizal Avancé with Scotchgard Protector, from Essilor of America, is a new ophthalmic finished single vision (FSV) and prescription lens that offers the SR Booster Layer, which is twice as scratch resistant as Crizal Alizé, ensuring durability and visual acuity through time, the company says. Also, the lens provides an integrated multilayer anti-reflective (AR) stack that also includes anti-static properties and a super-hydrophobic topcoat. For more information, contact Essilor of America at (800) 843-3937, or visit the company Web site: http://www.crizal.com.

Transitions Hosts Roundtable

DOCTORS DISCUSS IMPORTANCE OF TREATING ENTIRE PATIENT OVER A LIFETIME

■ A group of panelists, consisting of doctors representing multiple specialties, recently met at the Transitions Championship for Healthy Sight golf tournament in Tampa, Fla. The goal of the round-table: to discuss ways to enhance the quality of patients' vision and overall health through the course of their lifetime.

The lively panel discussed how they could work together to treat the entire patient rather than focusing on the individual ailment in which they specialize. Proper UV protection for eyes and skin, proper nutrition, as well as exercise were highlighted as important to a patient's overall health.

"It is important that the healthcare practitioner understands the team concept in care of the total patient," says Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, M.D., a founding board member of the Partnership for Clear Health Communications, which focuses on improving health literacy in the United States. "While there are specialties and areas of interest, it is the ‘whole’ patient that walks into the door — not just their eyes, their heart or other vital organs."

Dr. Ottey adds that there must be collaboration among professionals with the understanding that the captain of that team is the patient and that their needs/concerns must be at the forefront.

"All have a vital role to play, and there is no room for expanded egos or self importance. After all, the focus is on the very valuable life of the patient and their wellness," she says.

Peter H. Kehoe, O.D., president of the American Optometric Association (AOA), discussed the significance of healthy sight testing starting at infancy and continuing with school-aged children. He stated that 80% of learning comes through vision and that one in four children have vision problems.

Lawrence Lampert, O.D., who specializes in vision therapy and sports vision training in Boca Raton, Fla. said that while nearly 80% of consumers know that UV exposure can cause skin cancer, only 5% are aware that UV exposure harms the eyes. He added that although 80% of lifetime UV exposure occurs before age 18, many schools don't allow sunglasses on the playground without a doctor's note.

Transitions Optical, Inc.'s roundtable held at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla. Pictured left to right are Sharon Ottey, M.D.; Michael Duenas, O.D.; Smitesh Patel, O.D.; Peter Kehoe, O.D.; Lawrence Lampert, O.D.; Jeffrey Weaver, O.D.; Susan Taylor, M.D.; and Douglas Stewart, Ph.D.

Smitesh Patel, O.D., who specializes in general optometry in Columbus Ga. stated that diabetes is becoming an epidemic in the U.S., and that put in an economic context, it is the ninth costliest disease and affects many of the top 15 costliest diseases.

"One out of every ten healthcare dollars spent in the U.S. is for diabetes and its complications," stated Dr. Patel.

He said that by encouraging patients to get well and stay well, companies and governments could save billions of dollars by decreasing the number of costly invasive long-term diseases.

Every panelist agreed that making a commitment to working together to treat the entire patient is essential for overall health and to decrease skyrocketing healthcare costs.



Optometric Management, Issue: May 2009