As 2013 nears, changes to our health care system have been a very hot topic, to say the least. Here are a few highlights of what went on throughout this final month of 2012, as well as a summary of the year. These changes will indeed have an impact on our profession:
AOA President Ronald Hopping, O.D. stressed the importance of the expansion of optometry’s role in our public health system, as financial cutbacks loom while an increase in demand for our services seems inevitable: “Expanded participation by optometry in public health will not only be important in caring for underserved populations but, ultimately, meeting the health care needs of America as a whole.”
This month, the AOA was in action again, addressing the implications of spending cuts and the “fiscal cliff,” (a term most of you have heard being thrown around in the news recently). These spending cuts would have serious consequences for Medicare payments received by optometrists, possibly reducing this amount by around 25 percent. Optometry serves as an excellent preventative health care service and early intervention, reducing costs before symptoms further develop and costs for treatment rise.
A message from AOA President Ronald Hopping, O.D., MPH detailed recent victories for optometry and those in the past, as well as the challenges we face moving into 2013. These victories include the pediatric essential vision care benefit: The challenges addressed by President Hopping, O.D. can be acted upon by you now, as optometry students who will undoubtedly feel the impact of these current issues in the future as optometrists.
This last year has been, like any other, a trying one for optometry, but due to the hard work of everyone in the profession, there have been victories moving us ahead and preparing us for the future. Enjoy the holidays, stay safe, and look forward to another great year in 2013!