Tips, Trends & News You
STARK II EXCEPTIONS
Self-Referral Ban No Longer a Worry
If you've been concerned about the
provisions in the Stark II self-referral ban, you can now rest
easy. You and your M.D. colleagues can refer patients to your own
optical dispensaries for post-cataract eyeglasses or contact
lenses without violating Stark II prohibitions on self-referrals.
Judith DuChateau, associate
counsel for the American Optometric Association (AOA), explained
that Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) told the Health Care
Financing Administration (HCFA) he didn't mean for the law to
apply to contact lenses and eyeglasses.
Stark II provides that if a
physician or a member of a physician's immediate family has a
financial relationship with a health care entity, the physician
can't make referrals to that entity for the furnishing of
designated health services under the Medicare or Medicaid program,
unless an exception applies.
Under the final regulation, post-cataract
eyeglasses and contact lenses are exempt from the list of
designated health services subject to the Stark II physician self-referral
ban, along with intraocular lenses provided in ambulatory surgery
HCFA finally published the
physician referral final rule, which will go into effect on
January 4, 2002. According to a press release from the American
Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) and the
American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators (ASOA), a more
detailed fax alert is available on the ASCRS Web site (www.ascrs.org).
Senior Docs Unite
A new interactive Web site http://www.seniordoc.org
has recently gone online. All O.D.s and optometry students are
welcome to become part of the community.
As the name of this Web site
implies, the site will stress non-clinical issues of interest to
optometrists who've been in practice more than 20 years, as well
as semi-retired and retired O.D.s. Seniordoc.org has been
specifically designed to be user-friendly. Novice computer users
can use the site as easily as using e-mail.
The topics for discussion range
from serious issues to less serious issues concerning senior O.D.s.
Although clinical questions aren't the focus of the site,
optometric and non-optometric experts are part of the community.
These experts are available to answer questions on clinical
practice as well as optometric economics and practice management.
The Web site features a wide
variety of topics -- from orthokeratology vs. refractive surgery
vs. extended wear to O.D.s comparing vacation experiences in
exotic places to problems involved hiring a junior associate.
This venue will give younger O.D.s
and optometry students the opportunity to understand the concerns
of the senior members of the community. This valuable insight
should allow better understanding and cooperation in group
practice and bridge the cultural gap between the junior and
- Boston contest winners
announced. Polymer Technology has announced the
winners from the 6 Millionth Boston Button Featuring
Aercor Technology Contest. All participants had up to
four chances to guess the purchase date of the 6
millionth Boston Aercor button between April and
The Authorized Boston Manufacturer individuals who've won
a 1-year lease on a new VW Beetle and $500 cash include
the following: Suzanne Majerski of Frontier Contact Lens;
Heather Auterson of Art Optical Contact Lens, Inc.; and
John Hatcher of PC Optical Products, Inc.
- New executives for PBA. Daniel
D. Garrett has been appointed vice president of marketing
and public affairs and Carolyn Cronin has been promoted
to vice president of development for Prevent Blindness
- U of H selects
Benedict professor. Peter G. Shaw-McMinn, O.D.,
has been selected as Benedict Professor in Practice
Management for the 2001-2002 clinical year by the
University of Houston College of Optometry.
- KeraVision downsizes
-- again. Last November, KeraVision, Inc., maker
of Intacs vision correction inserts, cut its workforce by
nearly 60%, or 64 people, in an effort to continue
investing in its test-market program. Last month the
company made the headlines again -- for cutting yet
another 76% of its workforce. In an industry press
release, the company was quoted as saying that it'll
maintain a tightly focused core group of 12 employees.
FDA Has Cleared ReNu
Bausch & Lomb has announced that the Food
& Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared ReNu MultiPlus Multi-Purpose
Solution as a multi-purpose disinfecting solution for
soft contact lenses. According to Bausch & Lomb, the
clearance was granted as a result of ReNu MultiPlus
exceeding the minimum FDA/ISO "stand alone"
disinfection efficacy criteria. The stand- alone test
methods included soaking only, no rub and rinse steps.
According to Brian Levy, Vice President, Clinical and
Scientific Affairs, "While having an excellent
disinfection profile is essential, cleaning of protein,
lipids and environmental debris, as well as rewetting the
contact lens surface, are also keys to successful lens
CFA Digital Imaging
Escalon Medical Corp. has
announced that it has been granted FDA approval to market
its CFA Digital Imaging System, a high-end digital camera
system for use by eyecare practitioners.
Is FDA Approved
According to Escalon, Mega Vision's digital cameras offer
high-resolution imaging that provide benefits over
conventional film for diagnosing retinal problems. A chip
that provides 2,000-by-3,000-line resolution produces
high-resolution pictures, and the images can be viewed by
personal computer and stored electronically. Images are
produced instantly, enabling patients to be examined,
diagnosed and treated in one visit, which can improve
patient outcomes and reduce costs.
Optometric Management, Issue: February 2001