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Items of Interest
JCAHPO changed its name to the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO) and transitioned from a commission to a council of representatives in June 2017. IJCAHPO’s new mission is to “promote global equitable comprehensive eye health through program accreditation and the education, certification, and support of Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) for the eye care team.” IJCAHPO has expanded to bring certification and education to the global Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) workforce.
The format of our meetings has changed, in order to increase attendance. We will have 10 hours of credit at the annual conference and 4 hours of credit at our fall brunch meeting and our spring brunch meeting.
Amy Jost, BS,
COMT, CCRC, OSC/ATPO President-Elect|
JCAHPO is also undergoing a pilot program targeting medical assisting schools in the state of Illinois. Twenty schools are being asked to provide their students with information about careers in ophthalmology as Allied Ophthalmic Personnel. Ideally, this invitation will expand to all medical schools in the future. Medical assistants are already in the mindset for assisting physicians and patients. As such, they can transition into becoming great ophthalmic technicians, surgery schedulers, etc. with the right training environment.
Creating Excellent Trainers in Your Practice
A "Train the Trainer" subcommittee exists to provide practices with an organized strategy to help create and implement effective ophthalmic specific training methods. As the need for AOP increases, practices are turning to hiring inexperienced AOP and training them. This daunting task is being met with valuable assistance from the committee. The session titled, "Train the Trainer: Develop Training Strategies that Work," was presented at the ASCRS meeting in New Orleans, La.in May 2016 by a team of experienced ophthalmic trainers. The session was met with a great deal of interest and lots of positive feedback. It will be back by popular demand at the ATPO meeting in Chicago, Ill. on Friday, October 14, 2016. To register, go to http://www.jcahpo.org/ACE2016/index.php. An online resource library for trainers is also being created and will be available soon.
For more information about the Career Development Task Force, "Train the Trainer" subcommittee, and other AOP development initiatives, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Risk Management Issues with EHR Efficiency Tools
Many of the software programs used for electronic records include time saving features such as “copy forward,” bringing the last note to the current visit, prewritten “standard” procedure notes and prepopulated text when a box is checked. While these tools save time in a busy patient day, they should be used with care. Records that have identical entries can raise the question of whether the care was actually performed.
When copying and pasting information, always review and make changes based on the
patient's comments today. Only copy and paste information relevant to today’s visit. Problems from a previous visit that are resolved should not be in the chief complaint of the next visit.
In addition to the issues created in defending malpractice claims, Medicare is also auditing for cloning of records as potential fraud. The work value and payment is based on performing the elements of the history and examination. They have developed software that can identify blocks of identical text in patient records. On audit they can deny the claim, requiring refund of payments and possible fines. Review the chart note that prints out and is sent for an audit to make sure all the relevant documentation is included. Down coding can occur based on missing exam or history elements that don’t appear in the printed chart note even though they are documented in the record.
Volunteers Needed for Blind Sports Organization
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
This is an eleven-month, three-semester program running September through August.
Fall Semester: Classes are all day Friday, and half a day Saturday.
Spring Semester: Classes are all day Friday, clinical rotations begin.
Summer Semester: No classes. Final clinic rotation.
Eligible for JCAHPO Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) exam upon program completion.
Class will be held at the Blackwood Campus that is off Route 42, the North-South Freeway about 10 minutes from the Walt Whitman Bridge.
more information contact:
Jessica Barr, COMT, ROUB
E-Learning for eye care professionals made quick and easy.
Taking Fundus Photos
1) Communicate with your patient!
2) If you see something of
interest - photograph it! Document everything!
3) Let your patients know that they can blink as needed, BUT to open eyes wide between blinks. If you don’t tell them they can blink, they will try not to. This will cause stress on the patient, strain, squinting, tearing, and poor image quality. Let your patients blink!
4) Use the fixation pointer if the patient has a difficult time seeing the fixation light. However, if the patient is cooperative, since the pointer may distract from the photograph, pull it out of the lens at the last moment before clicking the shutter.
5) For light sensitive patients, turn the viewing light down low. Try to line up the eye as best you can peeking through their squinted eyes. You should be able to line up their vessels, find their optic nerve, etc. Try to obtain the best focus possible like this. Once you have everything lined up, have the patient blink, and then lift their lid with a Q Tip and shoot. You may need to make a few adjustments, but you’ll definitely get a better photo than if you held their eye up through the entire process.
6) When taking stereo optic nerve photographs, focus the first image on the rim of the optic nerve head and the second image on the cup. This will give the pair a much more appreciative three dimensional view.
7) When shooting images for a montage, photograph the fields in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction beginning always with the posterior pole. This will help you to make sure you have obtained all necessary fields and the order helps the computer software match up the images more accurately.
8) If you’re having a difficult time getting a clear view of the eye, pull the camera back a bit and set the focus lens on A. This will give you a view of the opacity and how to get around it to obtain a clearer fundus image. And while you’re at it, take a photograph of the opacity. Document everything!
OIG Study: Ophthalmology Has Prevalence of Unqualified Staff
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently released a study of services billed as “incident to” a physician (services that are billed by physicians but are performed by non-physicians). The study finds 37 percent of ophthalmic services, including eye exams, diagnostic imaging, photos and ophthalmoscopy, are performed by “unqualified” non-physician staff. The OIG defines qualified staff as personnel that have the training, certifications and licenses required by state law/regulation and/or Medicare. However, Medicare rules do not require licensure or certification to bill for “incident to” services, and no states have licensure or certification requirements for ophthalmic technicians.
While Medicare rules do not require certification in an ophthalmology office at this time, there is precedent for them to require certification in order to be paid by Medicare. Independent Diagnostic Testing Centers must use certified personnel to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. Vascular laboratories are required to use certified technicians.
JCAHPO certification provides validation of your qualifications to perform ophthalmic services. Be proactive. Get certified now. In addition to three levels of general certification, there are also specialty certifications in Ultrasound, Ascan, and Surgical Assisting. Go to www.JCAHPO.org for information about getting certified.
The Eyes Have
The Glaucoma Service Foundation to Prevent Blindness at Wills Eye Hospital offers a glaucoma patient support group, which meets monthly from September through May on Sunday afternoons in the Wills Eye Hospital auditorium.
The foundation's newsletter, Searchlight on Glaucoma, is published three times a year, and mailed to approximately 20,000 glaucoma patients and their families. All issues are archived on its website (Glaucoma Service Foundation at Wills Eye Hospital). Subscriptions to the Searchlight on Glaucoma newsletter is free.
Every Wednesday night, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm a Wills Eye Hospital glaucoma specialist hosts an online Question & Answer session on scheduled topics. Edited transcripts of these sessions are available on the website.
information on glaucoma and macular degeneration,
Associated Services for the Blind
Our thanks to Diane Brash of the Associated Services for the Blind, our speaker at the September meeting. Diane has provided us with resources to assist our visually impaired patients:
Services for the Blind
for the Blind, GED programs:
Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services:
Association for the Blind:
PA Association for Blind Athletes
needs volunteers to assist visually impaired participants. Visit their
website for more information: