Rob Melendez, MD, MBA

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Welcome Advocacy Ambassadors! #MYF2018 Follow me @DrRobMelendez

Ambassadors,

Welcome to the AAO’s Mid Year Forum (MYF) 2018! I look forward to meeting a lot of you very soon. I was part of the inaugural Advocacy Ambassador class in 2004. Fifteen years  later, I am still actively involved with advocating for my patients and our profession.

The MYF is where ophthalmology leaders meet. On Wednesday evening, we will have dinner together describing Thursday’s Congressional Advocacy Day activities. You will partner up with your state’s ophthalmology leaders where we will visit your legislator’s office. Be prepared to (typically) meet with the health legislative assistant, who is very knowledgeable about health care issues. In some cases, you will get to meet your legislator and will be given an opportunity to take a photo (remember to remove your name tag). Call Senators, Mr. Senator Henrich (NM) or Madame Lujan-Grisham (NM) or Representative Smith. When entering their office, know who you are meeting with, this will be  given to you in advance. For example,  Good morning, we are here to see the Congresswoman or the Congressman or Stuart Martinez, we are from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Carry very little in your pockets because you will have to walk through a metal detector upon entering every building. Bring business cards if you have them.

Our main issues this year for Congressional Advocacy Day (Thursday):

1. The Technology based Eye Care Services (TECS) program is a clinical care initiative funded though the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health (ORH).

2. Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed Vision Research Program Support FY 2019 VRP Funding at $20 Million
3. National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute Support Funding of $3
9.3 Billion for NIH and $800 million for NEI in FY 2019
AAO Urges Congress to Increase Research Funding for NIH to $39.3 Billion and NEI to
$800 Million in FY 2019
4. Simplify the Merit-based Incentive Payment System by Expanding Credit for Participation in Qualified Clinical Data Registries
5. Physicians Need Regulatory Relief from Burdensome Prior
Authorization Requirements
6. Ensure Timely Access to Compounded Drugs for Office Use
Cosponsor H.R. 2871, the Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act
Basic Terms:
H.R.  = House Resolution
S.B. = Senate Bill
On Friday, there will be a specific program just for ambassadors called the LEAP Forward program where the emphasis is on Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy, and Practice Management
When: 8:00 – 11:30 am, Breakfast at 7:00 am
Where:  Room: Mt. Vernon Square
This is an opportunity to meet fellow residents and leaders in ophthalmology. Make sure and take lots of photos. Get a pic with the YO Chair, Dr. Purnima Patel and the highly approachable YO Committee, they will be wearing purple beads. YO, by the way, stands for Young Ophthalmologist (residents, fellows, and ophthalmologist within the first 5 years of practice). Additionally, get a photo with our AAO President, Dr. Keith Carter too.
Feel free to ask any question you like and ask for a picture and use the hashtag: #MYF2018 in all of your social media posts.
Wednesday: Dinner
Thursday:
Daytime: Walk the halls of your Congressmen and Congresswomen.
Opening Session in the afternoon.
Dinner: Be sure to attend the Mid-Year Forum Reception and Banquet with our keynote speaker – physician and decorated NASA astronaut Dr. David Wolf.
After dinner: Surgical Scope Fund Reception at the Press Club-great place to meet other residents and leaders.
Friday:
LEAP Forward Program 8-11:30 am
Lunch Meeting…

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Ophthalmology

12:15 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Moderator: Rahul Khurana, MD – Editor in Chief, The ONE Network, American Academy of Ophthalmology

The next transformation in ophthalmology is the application of artificial intelligence in diagnosing and treating disease in clinical practice.  It is beginning to be used in retinal disease for detecting diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema from fundus photographs, and its potential is to provide more efficient and objective analysis of images and prediction of disease progression.  The session will explore what artificial intelligence means for practicing ophthalmologists, its promise and limitations, and what the future holds.

 

Debrief Session 2:30 – 3:30 pm (Must Attend)
Council Meeting
OPHTHPAC Reception.  We will be at the Potomac View Terrace of the American Pharmacists Association building
Dinner: on your own.
Saturday:
Council Meeting (Join us!)
Download the “AAO Advocacy” app.
Follow me on Twitter for more tips on getting more involved with Ophthalmology and the Academy. Start with your state society. @DrRobMelendez
See you soon,
Rob.
Robert F. Melendez, MD, MBA
-AAO Secretary for Online Education (ONE Network and EyeWiki)
-Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Eye Associates of New Mexico
-Clinical Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Department of Surgery/Division of Ophthalmology
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