Last year we witnessed the passing of our hard fought scope of practice bill, AB443. This accomplishment, while rightly deserved, would not have been possible without the focused efforts of optometrists in SDCOS, COA and AOA. Using the momentum of this victory, we need to continue to push for our profession and our futures forward. The best way we can do this is through making our society and the COA stronger. I encourage all our members get the most out of their membership and be as active as possible. Whenever we can, we should highlight the benefits of SDCOS/COA membership to colleagues so that our organization can continue to grow.
The AOA and COA are our collective voice and they continually defend our profession and our rights. They take the lead fighting threats to patient safety, such as online refractions and contact lens retailers that fill invalid prescriptions. They also advocate on our behalf so that optometrists can practice to the fullest extent. The COA and AOA do a wonderful job keeping us informed, so always be on the lookout for Government Affairs Weekly, California Optometry publication, COA Member News newsletter, AOA’s First Look and Focus e-newsletters, and the monthly AOA Focus magazine.
As a reminder to current members and as a tool we can use to encourage others to join, here is a refresher on some of the great benefits we can take advantage of:
- The Member Media Center (MMC) gives access to content to use in their newsletters, for social media and for public awareness. The COA also provides access to a social media expert to give you guidance.
- The Member Resource Center you can get answers to common practice-related questions- from the steps to take to get on a health plan’s medical panel, to employment and workers’ compensation issues.
- Eyelearn offers COPE approved continuing education webinars on both clinical and practice management topics for you and your staff.
- Business and Career Success webinars are offered by AOA with topics including medical records and coding, HIPAA updates, PQRS, malpractice, etc.
- Continuing Education: Discounts for events including Monterey Symposium, OptoWest, and AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting. Also offered is CE@Home, which is a collection of CE articles that provides up to 6 hours free and an additional 6 for a nominal fee.
- COA members also get discounts on COA/AOA partner services. Discounts include Vision West buying group, commercial insurer Mercer Insurance, private insurer Warren G. Bender Insurance, IC System debt collection, Heartland Payment Systems merchant card processing and payroll services, Constant Contact email marketing, and Required Employment Law Poster Subscription Service.
- AOAExcel’s Medical Record and Coding Services AskTheCodingExperts@ExcelOD.com allows you to consult a billing expert for questions on anything from procedure and diagnosis codes, changes in Medicare coding policies, ICD-10 and more.
- Optometry’s Career Center through AOA provides services to find a practice to join, or to start and grow a practice.
- The Legal Service Resources Program provides members up to one-half hour (30 minutes) of telephone and research work per month with an attorney at no cost.