The Integrated Ophthalmic Managed Eyecare Delivery Task Force will suggest to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery board the formation of an ASCRS committee comprising both optometrists and ophthalmologists, according to a task force member.
Marlane J. Brown, OD, FAAO, told PRIMARY CARE OPTOMETRY NEWS that she was encouraged by the proceedings of the task force meeting during the ASCRS annual meeting in San Francisco. The IOMED educational program debuted there, and the task force met to discuss future plans.
“They want there to be an integrated eye care committee with optometrists sitting on the panel. This new group would actually have a voice on the ASCRS governing board,” Brown said.
The task force felt the IOMED symposium was well attended, open and honest, she said.
“It showed examples of what’s happening with integrated eye care right now,” Brown said. “No politics were brought into the symposium.”
Some optometrists who oppose ASCRS’ efforts with IOMED were invited to voice their sentiments to the task force at a meeting the day after the symposium.
“A group of optometrists who are outside of the five categories of practice invited to ASCRS feel strongly that this was more of an insult than a help,” Brown said.
However, the dissenters made two constructive suggestions: welcome to the meeting optometrists with an ophthalmologist-member sponsor and welcome all optometrists to attend the meeting with the exception of the surgical tracks, she said.
Brown added that there was a common thread of thought during the task force meeting. “There are a lot bigger issues that need to be resolved, and wouldn’t it be great if we could unify our professions and march into Washington together to make some of the significant changes that will help our practices, rather than spend our efforts, time and energy fighting each other?” she said.
At the start of the half-day IOMED symposium the previous day, task force chair Stephen S. Lane, MD, told attendees: “This is a great start to what we think will be a long and fruitful future of this integration of optometrists into ASCRS and the opportunities that it brings.”
Just prior to the ASCRS meeting, the American Optometric Association announced the formation of a project team to address integrated eye care, with the goal of identifying methods for better patient care coordination.
The Integrated Eyecare Project Team “will analyze models of care and set out the elements essential to developing an ideal system that is efficient, productive and patient-centric,” according to an AOA press release.
“Over the past several years, the ASCRS and several prominent ophthalmologists have been promoting their version/vision of ‘integrated eye care,’” project team chair Christopher J. Quinn, OD, said in the press release. “Unfortunately, in my understanding, their model takes a very limited perspective of the potential benefits of integrated eye care delivery, focusing on the benefit to individual ophthalmologists. Optometry’s vision for how our professions can work together will be focused on better patient care and outcomes.”