Plus, pictures from the 2016 NCSEPS Annual Meeting.
November 16, 2016 |  
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NCSEPS North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons

2017 Codequest Info  |  NCSEPS Website

In this edition:

Introduction to Ophthalmic Coding and
CodequestTM Coding Course
Featuring Sue Vicchrilli, COT, OCS
Presented by the NCSEPS and the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Saturday, February 4, 2017
Grandover Resort & Conference Center, Greensboro
Program details and online registration:

NCSEPS President-Elect Dr. Kitty Gordon Inducted Into AAO Leadership Class of 2017

At the recent 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, NCSEPS President-elect, Dr. Kitty Gordon from UNC, was inducted into the Academy’s Leadership Development Program. The NCSEPS sponsored Dr. Gordon’s nomination and she is among a select group of 20 ophthalmologists chosen for the program’s Class of 2017.

The incoming LDP class had an Orientation Session at the Academy’s recent annual meeting in Chicago where they were introduced to their classmates, met Academy leaders as well as heard project presentations from those graduating in the LDP Class of 2016. In January 2017, Dr. Gordon will take part in a 2½ day interactive session in San Francisco with a visit to AAO headquarters to hear from AAO leadership, including Academy President Cynthia A. Bradford, MD, on a wide variety of leadership topics. Next will be a trip in April 2017 to attend the Academy’s 2017 Mid-Year Forum in Washington D.C. where Dr. Gordon will have scheduled visits on Capitol Hill with Senators, Representatives and healthcare staff. Also during Mid-Year Forum, Dr. Gordon and her LDP colleagues will hear from a member of the US Congress about building effective relationships with legislators and how best to advocate on behalf of patients. The final LDP session for the class of 2017 will take place next November in conjunction with AAO 2017 in New Orleans.

The NCSEPS congratulates Dr. Gordon on her selection by the Academy’s Leadership Develop Program and applauds her dedication to and work on behalf of the North Carolina ophthalmologists and patients.

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ATTENTION! New Rules Impacting Your Licensure

The North Carolina Medical Board has received final approval of rules impacting your medical licensure. Effective July 1, 2017, all physicians and physician assistants (PAs) who prescribe controlled substances are required to complete continuing medical education (CME) in controlled substances prescribing during each three year CME cycle. To comply with the new rules, physicians must earn three hours of CME in controlled substances prescribing during each three year CME cycle and PAs must earn two hours of CME in controlled substances prescribing during each two year cycle. You’re off the hook if you did not prescribe any controlled substances during your most recent CME cycle.

For more information, see these sites:

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Billing Concerns with Community Eye Care

Over the past few months we have heard from several ophthalmologists with concerns about Community Eye Care’s (CEC) billing policy which bundles the codes for E&M and refraction. In partnership with the North Carolina Medical Society, the NCSEPS is working to remedy the problem and has initiated a dialog with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) regarding this issue. You can report problems that you are experiencing with these changes by email to BCBSNC Medical Director John Smith,

In February 2016, we received notification from BCBSNC regarding the company’s decision to enter into an agreement with CEC to use their vision provider network, as the exclusive vision provider network for routine eye care services and the dispensing of vision hardware. This agreement impacts BCBSNC’s commercially insured membership (including ASO, and insured Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield members eligible through the Blue Card program). This action became effective on May 1, 2016.

Since the agreement took effect we have received complaints about CEC’s coding and billing policy for routine eye exams. We want you to know that we are aware of the problems that you are facing, and we are working to address the issue. Thank you for your support and patience while we work to resolve this issue.

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2016 NCSEPS Annual Meeting Wrap Up

“This was the best meeting I have been to a very long time and I look forward to being able to attend the 2017 meeting at the Homestead!”
– Dr. Kathie Hecker Magee

AAO President Dr. Cindy Bradford at the 2016 NCSEPS Annual Meeting. 

(L-R) Mike Brennan, Kitty Gordon, Lee Sullivan and Miguel Maternin.

A record-setting 108 participants took part in the 2016 NCSEPS Annual Meeting in September at the Grandover Resort. The meeting program included 10.25 hours of educational programming, resident posters, social and networking opportunities, and a lively exhibit hall. Dr. Ninita Brown (Monroe) was elected to a member-at-large seat on the NCSEPS Board of Directors. The program featured AAO President Dr. Cindy Bradford and the three academic chairmen; Dr. Craig Greven of Wake Forest, Dr. Donald Budenz of UNC and Dr. Ed Buckley of Duke. Post-conference case courses in retina and oculoplastic were also well-attended.

During Saturday’s luncheon, Dr. Mike Brennan (Burlington) and Dr. Kitty Gordon (Chapel Hill) shared an update regarding the ocular melanoma cluster in Huntersville, NC. They introduced Dr. Miguel Materin (Durham), who is involved in the care of a Huntersville melanoma patient, and Mr. Lee Sullivan, a reporter with the Lake Norman Citizen, who was recognized for facilitating the community relations effort associated with the cluster.

Twelve residents and medical students participated in this year’s poster competition. The NCSEPS congratulates Dr. Abby Liu (Wake Forest) on her first place poster, “The Effect of Hemodialysis on Intraocular Pressure.” Dr. Kyle Huynh (UNC) took second place with his poster, “Instrument Development of the UNC Dry Eye Management Scale,” and medical student Michael Quist (Duke) received third place with his poster, “The Effect of Sponge Versus No-Sponge Placement of Mitomycin-C on the Outcomes of Trabeculectomy with Ex-PRESS Glaucoma Filtration Device.”

This year’s Annual Meeting program received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Planning for the 2017 NCSEPS Annual Meeting is already underway, and we’re working hard to develop another top-notch program.

Please save the date, September 22-24, for the 2017 NCSEPS Annual Meeting at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia.

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Dr. Calvin Jones Inducted to Raleigh Hall of Fame

The Raleigh Hall of Fame recognized Dr. Calvin Jones (1775-1846) last month as the Centennial Hall of Fame Inductee at the Raleigh Convention Center. Dr. Jones was recognized as “a social-minded visionary for his time,” with significant contributions to medicine, public health, politics, publishing, military protection and public education in North Carolina. Among his many achievements, Dr. Jones served as mayor of Raleigh and then as Adjutant General, the state’s chief military officer. He was very supportive of public education and was a trustee for UNC for 30 years. He was a founding member of the NC Medical Society and was instrumental in establishing Wake Forest University.

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BCBSNC, NCTracks to Require Credentialing of Mid-Level Providers

New federal regulations have prompted payers to require all mid-level providers to be credentialed. As previously announced, NCTracks will no longer allow claims for services to be filed as "incident to" beginning November 1. Similarly, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina recently announced that it too will require mid-level providers to be credentialed. Providers billing to BCBSNC are encouraged to initiate credentialing as soon as possible via the “Providers” home page on the BCBSNC website. The BCBSNC deadline to complete the credentialing process is January 1, 2017.

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UPDATE: NC Medical Society’s “Toward Accountable Care” Initiative

Over four years ago The NC Medical Society launched the Toward Accountable Care (TAC) Consortium. The Consortium now includes over 40 health care association and organization members, including the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, who joined for the purpose of helping prepare the physician community for the transition to the evolving value-based model of patient care. To help get the project off the ground and sustain its momentum, the NCMS was successful in securing two grants. One was from The Physicians Foundation which helped towards the development of resources that are available free of charge on the TAC website, including the Accountable Care Guide for Ophthalmologists.

Additionally, the NCMS launched the North Carolina ACO Collaborative, which has grown to over 100 participants and meets twice annually. Smaller groups focused on MSSP and Next Gen ACOs have also been created.

Though the TAC grants are at an end, the NCMS will continue to support the NC ACO Collaborative and the NC MSSP/Next Gen Council. The passage of MACRA in 2015 with strong bi-partisan support is a strong indication that health system transformation will continue, so the NCMS plans to continue its efforts to support the medical community as it navigates these changes.

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Free Medicare Reform Webinar, Nov. 18

As previously announced, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is offering a free webinar on the Quality Payment Program on November 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm. This live online learning opportunity will give physicians and their staff the information needed to avoid penalties in 2019. It is an opportunity to ask questions of AAO's health policy experts and understand how to navigate the new reporting requirements. Click here to register.

Participants will help guide this important conversation and can email questions prior to the webinar to

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AAO Mid-Year Forum & Congressional Advocacy Day 2017: April 26-29

During this annual forum in Washington, D.C., Academy members and other ophthalmic leaders gather to discuss critical issues facing ophthalmology. The event also includes Congressional Advocacy Day, April 26 to 27, and the spring meeting of the Academy Council, April 28 to 29. Registration will open in January 2017.

Benefits of attendance:

  • Provide valuable contributions to Academy policy development.
  • Help build and strengthen our relationships with members of the U.S. House and Senate.
  • Learn more about Academy activities and initiatives.
  • Return to your state, subspecialty or specialized interest society armed with the latest information.

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AAO Announces New Co-Management Guidelines

As more non-physician healthcare providers become part of the healthcare delivery team, it is important to clearly define how the ophthalmologist as surgeon can properly share pre- and postoperative responsibilities with non-surgeon providers, and how those providers may be ethically and legally reimbursed for their services. This position paper offers guidelines on co-management and transfer of care, and provides guidance to assist ophthalmologists in their patient care. The NCSEPS has endorsed the guidelines as a signatory organization.

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Thank you 2016 NCSEPS Annual Meeting Sponsors & Exhibitors!

Gold Sponsors:
Alcon, a Novartis Company
Carolina Eye Prosthetics, Inc.

Exhibitors: Abbott Medical Optics | AbbVie | Alimera Sciences | Avedro, Inc. | BioD Optix | Dutch Ophthalmic USA | Essilor Labs of America | Genentech | Glaukos | Katena | Marco | Medical Mutual | Miracles in Sight | Modernizing Medicine | Nidek | Omeros Corporation | Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company | Ophthalmology Dispensing Services | Optos | Prescott's | ScienceBased Health | Shire | Sun Ophthalmics | TearScience | Triangle Compounding Pharmacy | VisionCare Inc.

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