CMS Postpones MIPS Deadline, Grants Exclusions Due to COVID-19 Crisis

By Staff
Thursday, March 26, 2020 12:30 AM ST. LOUIS—ODs participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System will get a reprieve from some Quality Payment Program deadlines to help facilitate the health care system's response to COVID-19.

Waterford Institute and Salus University Develop Online Learning Resource for ECPs

By Staff
Thursday, March 26, 2020 12:21 AM WATERFORD, Ireland—A transatlantic partnership between Waterford Institute of TechnologyIreland, and Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry has created a new online learning resource allowing optometrists and eyecare technicians to complete certified training about the importance of nutrition to eye health at their desk or using a mobile device. The new resource, MacuLearn.com, was developed by professor John Nolan of the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (a unit of the School of Health Science, Waterford Institute) and Dr. James Stringham of the Visual Performance Laboratory at Duke University’s medical school.

CooperVision Announces 2020 Best Practices Honorees as it Marks Fifth Year of ECP Recognition Program

By Staff
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:27 AM SAN RAMON, Calif.—Amid significant change in the industry, eyecare practices of every size and geography have founds ways to forge pathways to success. Recognizing some of these innovative practices, CooperVision on Tuesday unveiled its 2020 Best Practices honorees. These practices serve “as models for their peers in succeeding in fast-changing clinical and business environments,” CooperVision said in its announcement. The company is celebrating a milestone fifth year of the program, which highlights optometric practices that advance the profession through innovation, industry leadership and exceptional patient experience.

Eye Health America Acquires Two Medical Optometric Practices in Pee Dee Region of South Carolina

By Staff
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:21 AM ATLANTA—Eye Health America (EHA), a leading eyecare practice management services organization in the Southeast, has acquired Dillon Eyecare Associates (DEA) and Pee Dee Eye Associates (PDEA), two “fabric of the community” optometry practices located in the Pee Dee region (between Columbia and Myrtle Beach) of South Carolina, according to an announcement this week. With locations in Dillon, Hartsville and Sumter, S.C., the DEA and PDEA practices are both “the go-to primary eyecare providers in their communities,” according to the announcement.

OneSight Looks to Technology and New Partners to Continue to Bring Clear Sight in Trying Times

By Staff
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:15 AM CINCINNATI—With some vision centers closed and programming temporarily halted for OneSight as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit organization is working to make sure there are still ways to care for patients in need, while ensuring safety for all. This effort will require some innovation and help, according to a OneSight announcement this week. OneSight is working to identify alternatives to its standard programs. This includes looking at quickly putting into use technologies that will allow the organization to continue to screen vulnerable individuals who need vision care support or bringing services to families and people in new environments.

AEG Vision Announces Temporary Closing of All Practice Locations in Response to COVID-19 Situation

By Staff
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 12:21 AM DALLAS—AEG Vision (AEG), an owner and operator of leading North American optometry practices, announced that it has temporarily closed all locations for a period of two weeks as of 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. AEG has about 150 locations across the U.S., an executive told VMAIL, and is making the decision to temporarily close its offices in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. “We hold the health and safety of our patients, doctors and staff above all other considerations,” chief executive officer Eric Anderson said in the announcement.

Additional Optical Retailers and ECPs Make the Difficult Decision to Temporarily Close Locations or Modify Services

By Staff
Friday, March 20, 2020 2:45 PM NEW YORK—Several additional major national optical retailers and eyecare practices have made the decision to close temporarily or modify their operating hours and services as a result of the impact and spread of the coronavirus across the U.S. These retailers and practice groups include EyeCare Partners (ECP) of St. Louis, Eyemart Express and Visionworks. Canada’s New Look Vision also has made the decision to initiate partial or full-store closures across its network in response to COVID-19.

National Vision Will Temporarily Close All of its Stores in Response to COVID-19

By Staff
Thursday, March 19, 2020 12:33 AM DULUTH, Ga.—National Vision Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: EYE), one of the nation’s largest optical retailers, announced late Wednesday afternoon that it will temporarily close all retail locations through Sunday, March 28, in response to national efforts to help stem the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said it will continue to closely monitor this global health crisis with a view of reopening its retail stores as quickly as possible and will provide impacted associates full base pay through March 28.

Alcon Moves to a 'Virtual Approach' for its U.S. Field Sales Force

By Staff
Thursday, March 19, 2020 12:27 AM FORT WORTH, Texas—Alcon informed eyecare professionals on Wednesday that it is modifying the manner in which it engages with U.S. customers and shifting to a “full-time virtual approach” for its field sales force.” The move is effective immediately, the company noted, adding that the transition to remote account management will remain in effect until further notice. In a note to ECPs, Alcon cited the ongoing coronavirus outbreak across the nation and said it will remain vigilant in monitoring this evolving novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Still Time to Take Part: Second Jobson Research Coronavirus ECP Impact Survey Open Until 8:00 p.m. EST Tonight

By Staff
Thursday, March 19, 2020 12:18 AM NEW YORK—ECPs across the country still have time to take part in the second wave of the Jobson Research Coronavirus ECP survey today. Respondents have until 8:00 p.m. EST tonight, Thursday, March 19, to complete the survey, which is posted here. Jobson is continuing to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and seeking the viewa of eyecare professionals about the coronavirus' impact on their practices and optical businesses. The survey asks ECPs to provide responses on a range of topics connected to the pandemic.

Candidates Announce Bids for AOA’s 2020 Board of Trustees Election

By Staff
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:33 AM ST. LOUIS—The American Optometric Association has provided its members with updated biographical information on the eyecare professionals—both incumbents and newcomers—who are seeking to be elected to new positions on the association’s Board of Trustees. The new board will be elected in June at the annual Optometry’s Meeting,  which is scheduled to run June 24-28 at the National Harbor conference complex in National Harbor, Md. (just outside Washington, D.C.). The AOA noted that it has become recognized worldwide as an authority on eye and vision care in part because of a “devoted group of leaders advocating on behalf of our profession and our patients.”

CDC COVID-19 Update Recommends Postponement of Routine Eyecare and Dental Visits While Prioritizing Emergency Visits and Procedures

By Staff
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:32 AM ATLANTA—In a Public Healthcare Reminder posted on its website, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggested health care facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks. Among the suggestions listed are to "postpone routine dental and eyecare visits." In full, the CDC stated, "Health care facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks. The following actions can preserve staff, personal protective equipment, and patient care supplies; ensure staff and patient safety; and expand available hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic:

ASCRS and ARVO Organizations Cancel Their May Meetings

By Staff
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:30 AM NEW YORK—The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS) announced yesterday that it had cancelled its upcoming ASCRS/ASOA annual meeting, originally scheduled for May 15 to May 20 in Boston. ASCRS said it came to this decision "in the interest of public safety, after monitoring daily recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and the City of Boston." In a notice on its website and in attendee communications, the organization said, "ASCRS continues to be an important resource for your ongoing education, advocacy and philanthropic efforts.

Second Coronavirus ECP Impact Survey Issued Today by Jobson Research

By Staff
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:27 AM NEW YORK—Building on the strong response to its first outreach earlier this week to eyecare professionals across the U.S. seeking their views about the coronavirus' impact on their practices and optical businesses, Jobson Research is continuing to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and is issuing the second wave of its Coronavirus ECP survey today. The survey, which asks ECPs to provide responses on a range of topics connected to the pandemic, is open today at this link. In addition to Jobson Research's own distribution, the survey is being made available through VMAIL, Review of Optometric Business, Women In Optometry, and Review of Myopia Management over the course of the next two days.

California Optometric Association Advises Members to Suspend ‘Nonessential’ Patient Care

By Staff
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:24 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.—With much of Northern California already sheltering in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the California Optometric Association (COA) this week advised optometrists in the state to “voluntarily suspend nonessential or nonurgent optometry care for the next 14 days.” The recommendation was posted on the group’s website in a note signed by Dr. Jason Tu, president of COA. COA noted that the recommendation is “in step with Gov. [Gavin] Newsom’s recent declaration of a state of emergency, including the call for all seniors over the age of 65 and residents with chronic conditions to self-isolate at home.”