Article Date: 2/1/2001

PRACTICE PULSE
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

STARK II EXCEPTIONS FINALIZED
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 centers.

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 senior O.D.s.

O.D. NOTEBOOK

PEOPLE AND PROMOTIONS

COMPANY NEWS

NEW APPROVALS

FDA Has Cleared ReNu
MultiPlus

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 wear."

CFA Digital Imaging System
Is FDA Approved

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.
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