2012 House of Delegates: Common Sense Prevails

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO February 17, 2012

by Matthew Alpert, OD

I just returned from the California Optometric Association's (COA) House of Delegates. There were a number of issues to weigh in on, but fever pitch was reached when the issue of stand-alone vision plans was raised. A resolution for the COA to support stand-alone vision plans in the California state exchange achieved an overwhelming victory. The AOA leadership was present; they tried and failed to demonstrate how the exclusion of stand-alone vision plans would be beneficial to the optometrists of California. A healthy debate from both sides of the issue showed stand-alone vision plans are a necessary access point in today’s delivery system of optometric care.

The debate focused on access. In California, it is extremely difficult to gain access to the managed care pool of patients. In talking to the persistent few ODs that have been able to negotiate their way onto these IPA and HMO panels, they are usually relegated to functioning as a refractionist. The healthcare portion of these patients is reserved for the OMD and kept out of the hands of the ready, willing, and able OD.

It was hard to see the logic in handicapping an organization that is trying to put patients into our offices in favor of a system that has historically locked us out and denied us access.

One thing that I know now more than ever is that you need to be part of the system in order to get your voice heard. Membership in your state optometric association is a must. There is no place for apathy in this rapidly changing healthcare system.

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