News

O.D. Notebook: CMS on MIPS Data

CMS Grants Neutral Payment Adjustment for 2019 MIPS Data; Announces 2020 Performance Info
            
Although the data submission period for the 2019 Merit-based Incentive Payment system (MIPS) closed on April 30, 2020, MIPS eligible clinicians who were not able to submit any 2019 MIPS data by this date will receive a neutral payment adjustment for the 2021 MIPS payment year, CMS says. Additionally, CMS has announced registration details for the MIPS 2020 quality performance period.
            CMS says it decided to grant the neutral payment adjustment to allow the healthcare delivery system to focus on the unprecedented 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). (For information about the effect of COVID-19 on participation in the Quality Payment Program, see the QPP COVID-19 Response Fact Sheet and subscribe to QPP updates.) For those who were ableto submit 2019 MIPS data, preliminary performance feedback is available for review via one’s HARP account, with the final score and feedback available in July 2020. Of note: The performance feedback available now could change by July based on:
            • All-cause readmission measure for the quality performance category
            • Claims measures to include the 60-day run out period
            • CAHPS for MIPS Survey results
            • Reweighting, based on COVID-19 extreme and uncontrollable circumstances applications (submitted in April)
            • Quality and cost performance category scores from facility-based measurement
            • Improvement study participation and results
            • Creation of performance period benchmarks for Quality measures that didn’t have a historical benchmark 
            Regarding the registration details for the MIPS 2020 quality performance period, if one’s  group or virtual group submitted data for the Quality performance category via the CMS Web Interface for the 2019 performance period, they’ll automatically be registered for the 2020 performance period unless they’ve cancelled their registration. Also, if one’s group or virtual group registered to administer the CAHPS for MIPS Survey for the 2019 Quality performance period, they’ll need to register again to administer the CAHPS for MIPS Survey for the 2020 Quality performance period. To register:
            • Sign Into QPP: (https://qpp.cms.gov/user/manage-access
            • Go to the Manage Access page
            • Click “Edit Registration” by 8:00 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2020.
            Finally, the Security Official role is required to register one’s organization. For additional information, visit https://qpp.cms.gov/mips/how-to-register-for-CMS-WI-and-CAHPS
            For questions on any of the above information, contact the Quality Payment Program at (866) 288-8292 or at: QPP@cms.hhs.gov.

Associations
  • California Optometric Association (COA) has launched a new member benefit for doctors of optometry in California: telehealth services via Eyecare Live. COA members can learn more and sign up for EyecareLive at https://eyecarelive.com/coa./
  •  International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) has announced the release of the latest version of its IACLE Contact Lens Course (ICLC) 2020, which is comprised of all aspects of contact lens education — from the anatomy of the cornea to the business of contact lens practice — in six modules and 33 lectures in PowerPoint format and is used by educators in institutions worldwide, IACLE says. The course has been fully revised and updated and is now available exclusively to IACLE members via its website: https://iacle.org
  • SECO International’s online education arm, SECO University, has launched SECO LIVE CE Webinars approved, by COPE for live CE. Nine for-credit courses (13 hours of CE) as COPE are available through June 30, 2020. For more information about SECO LIVE CE or to register for the remaining courses, visit secouniversity.com/webinar-series
  • The Vision Council has provided an outline for cleaning frames, with the disclaimer that individuals contact their frame sales reps to clarify best practices before following. The outline: Use anti-bacterial wipes; soap and warm water or a mild mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Next, wash hands thoroughly per CDC guidelines, scrubbing for 20 seconds; apply latex or vinyl gloves; clean every part of the frame using the preferred sanitization method (see above); do not touch your face during the process; dispose of gloves and cleaning materials (if applicable); and wash hands thoroughly per CDC guidelines, scrubbing for 20 seconds. Additionally, The Vision Council has provided guidance related to handling deliveries: Accept deliveries without in-person contact whenever possible; after receiving the delivery, wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol); and after collecting mail from a post office or home mailbox, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Company News
  • AbbVie and Allergan have announced that the FTC has accepted the proposed consent order in connection with AbbVie's pending acquisition of Allergan. The acceptance by the FTC satisfies all required antitrust clearances needed for the acquisition of Allergan by AbbVie. Additionally, AbbVie and Allergan have amended their Transaction Agreement to provide that  one Allergan Director will join the AbbVie board following close. Allergan's current Chairman and CEO Brent Saunders has elected not to join the  Board to pursue other opportunities. The closing of the acquisition remains subject to other customary closing conditions set forth in the transaction agreement and Irish High Court approval. 
  • Acuity Polymers, an eyecare company specializing in the development of specialty contact lens materials, announced it has received Patent No. 10,633,472 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its ultra-high GP material for use in contact lenses. The company says it expects FDA approval this year. For more information, visit www.acuitypolymers.comor contact the company directly at info@acuitypolymers.com
  • Alcon has introduced the Online COVID-19 Optometry Recovery Resource Center to support O.D.s as their practices reopen. The Center includes tips for engaging with staff while the office is closed; support for practice cash flow needs; learning opportunities and more. Visit https://professional.myalcon.com/od-recovery-resources.
  • CooperVision has extended the submission deadline for its 2020 Science and Technology Awards program to June 12. This year’s focus is on novel research concepts to address myopia and presbyopia. The program promotes partnerships among recipients and CooperVision scientists to explore new dimensions in vision care, with the goal of translating innovative ideas into practical solutions. For more information, visit https://coopervision.com/our-company/science-and-technology-awards. In other news, CooperVision has revealed that Matthew Barnes, New England College of Optometry; Christina Cherny, SUNY College of Optometry; and Matthew Howell, Chicago College of Optometry; are the recipients of its new Best Practices Scholarship. Offered to outstanding third-year optometry students, the scholarship is based on academic standing, demonstration of leadership and participation in school or community activities, honors and additional optometry-related experience. These individuals will attend the 2020 Best Practices Summit, where they will listen to and collaborate with eye care professionals from this year’s honored practices.
  • EssilorLuxottica honored its commitment to social responsibility by donating over two million pieces of personal protective equipment, including safety goggles, protective eyewear and face masks to hospitals, public institutions, employees and partners wherever the company has local roots. 
  • Kala Pharmaceuticals has announced it has resubmitted its New Drug Application to the FDA for loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension 0.25% (EYSUVIS) for the short-term treatment of dry eye disease signs and symptoms. Kala says it believes this application will be considered a Class 2 resubmission, with a targeted six-month review timeline under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. The company says it is preparing for a potential U.S. approval and launch by the end of 2020.
  • Nevakar, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, has announced that MyMyopia, the company’s myopia awareness campaign, has introduced a new infographic, “Understanding Your Child’s Myopia” (https://bit.ly/myopiainfo). The infographic offers parents an overview of the disease, along with the next steps for protecting their child’s sight.
  • Santen Pharmaceutical Co. has introduced eyedrop bottles made from environmentally friendly biomass plastic materials. (Biomass plastic refers to plastics produced through chemical or biological synthesis from renewable biomass materials.) The company plans to offer Timoptic 0.5% (Timoptol) in this environmentally friendly eye drop bottle, expanding to other products. 
  • SightGlass Vision, Inc., has announced it will hold an R&D webinar to discuss the science of and latest research in myopia and provide an overview of the clinical development and commercialization program for the company’s glasses designed to slow the progression of myopia in children. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 11:30AM EST. Participation is limited, and the webinar will  not be available in archived form. To register, visit https://platformwebcast.com/sightglassvision/.
  • Space Tango, a leader in the commercialization of low-Earth orbit for discovery and on-orbit manufacturing across a wide range of applications, has announced the award of three projects focused on biomedical application development on the International Space Station (ISS) that will be supported by the NASA Research Opportunities for ISS Utilization. One of these projects is protein-based retinal implant manufacturing in partnership with LambdaVision. The artificial retina technology uses photoactive proteins to naturally mimic the light-absorbing properties of human photoreceptor cells and activate neuroreceptors still present in degenerated retinas of blind patients. 
  • X-Cel Specialty Contacts has launched the Bounce Back program, which offers programs including patient recall support; simplified ordering with free add-ons; extended warranties to 120 days; reduced prices on fitting sets and spare lenses; shipping discounts through USPS First Class mail; direct shipments to patients; as well as ongoing educational events to support practices through the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, visit www.xcelspecialtycontacts.comor call customer service at (800) 241-9312. 
Non-profit Organizations
  •  Brien Holden Vision Institute is offering the course “Managing Myopia for Practice Staff,” which covers the importance of myopia management; understanding management strategies; appointments and scheduling; communication with patients and parents; and marketing for $75 in the United States until May 30, 2020. Visit https://education.bhvi.org/visitor_catalog_class/show/225114?mc_cid=70a038a915&mc_eid=70f1e48971and enter code LOOKFWD75 at the checkout for the special discounted price. 
Products
  •  Eye Designs, LLC, is introducing a new, optical-specific freestanding protective Germ Shield/ Sneeze Guard designed to rest on dispensing tables to protect staff and patients. The shield/guard is 24”w x 36”h and features streamlined cutouts on both sides, allowing opticians to reach around and properly fit eyewear, Eye Designs says. For more information, call (800) 346-8890, or email info@eyedesigns.com.
  • Icare USA has released the Centervue DRSplus confocal fundus imaging system and the Icare ic200 handheld tonometer for the portable measurement of IOP. The DRSplus confocal fundus imaging system uses white LED illumination to produce TrueColor and detail-rich images. The Icare ic200 measures IOP sans anesthetic drops, air puffs or the need for specialized skills. Enhancements include the ability to test patients while they are sitting, supine or elevated, a streamlined design and light indicators that confirm the tonometer is positioned properly for measurement. 
  • Luneau Technology USA has released the Visionix VX65 digital phoropter. The device offers wireless tablet control with “manual phoropter” or “auto-phoropter” modes, the opportunity to export refraction data to one’s EHR system and the import of AR/K and lensmeters. For more information and to schedule a virtual demo and consultation, visit: luneautechusa.com/virtualdemo.
Schools
  • Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo has updated its COVIDEyeFacts.org, website with additional resources for eye care professionals and wearers. These include: translated versions of CORE’s Contact Lens Wear and Coronavirus infographic; high-resolution PDF files suitable for download; an animated 60-second white board video that explains five facts for contact lens and spectacles wearers; individual videos with each author of “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for Contact Lens Practitioners,” published in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye; and an extended, moderated “Behind the Science” video discussion with all five authors about their work.
  • University of Waterloo has appointed Lyndon Jones, Ph.D., as a University Professor. This designation is awarded to professors who “exemplify exceptional scholarly achievements and international pre-eminence,” the school says. Dr. Jones is one of three faculty members to receive the designation in 2020 from the University’s Board of Governors. 
O.D. Notebook is published weekly on Wednesdays. Unless otherwise noted, the information presented is based on press releases. Find earlier editions here. To submit a press release to be considered for publication, click here.   Additionally, find frequently updated COVID-19 coverage here.