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AAO

AAO NEWS

Editors, Communications Division

Tanya Lambden, OD Member Services Events Coordinator

Stacey Dominiuk, AAO Executive Director

Barbara Bruce, AAO Production

Pioneer Press Ltd. Editorial Office:

Alberta Association of Optometrists #100, 8407 Argyll Road, Edmonton, AB T6C 4B2 Telephone: (780) 451-6824 Fax: (780) 452-9918 Email: alberta.association@ optometrists.ab.ca Web: www.optometrists.ab.ca AAO News is published by the Alberta Association of Optometrists. All rights reserved. AAO members may use any or all published material in their own publications if source is listed.

IN THIS ISSUE: President’s Message............................1 2007 - 2008 Council..........................2 Welcome,Welcome ..........................2 Membership Has It’s Privilege ........3 We Welcome Barbara Bruce as the New AAO Executive Director....4 Nominations Pave way to Election 2008! ................................4 AAO/ACO Open House and Holiday Season Reception............7 Alberta Health and Wellness – Billing and Negotiations ............5 Dr. Jim Asuchak Joins Council..........9

2007 / ISSUE IV

President’s M essage I

t’s hard to believe that 2007 has already gone by. Every year seems to pass by more quickly than the last. In October I attended the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists AGM in Regina. The SAO held a Rider party one evening and I’m happy to report that Optometry and Rider Pride are both in excellent shape in Saskatchewan. On the home front, I am very pleased to announce that we have hired Barbara Bruce as our new executive director. She has been a wonderful person to work with so far and as you get a chance to meet and speak with her, I’m sure you’ll agree with me. I am also

pleased to announce that Peggy Sloan will continue working part-time for our Association as our government relations consultant. Several MLAs will not be seeking reelection so there will be many new politicians who will need to be educated about optometry. I wish everyone a joyous holiday season and a healthy and happy 2008. Best regards, Dr. Dan Lowe

Eye See…Eye Learn Presentations to teachers for the last of the Alberta public and catholic school districts concluded in November. This fulfills our mandate with Alberta Children’s Services and puts the program on auto pilot within these districts. What this means is that the funding for offering the program is used. The AAO will now be presenting a proposal to the Community Policy Committee on Health and Community Living which will ask for ongoing funding to maintain the current program by providing parent packages each fall to all districts (approximately $50,000); and options for growing this program to reach new parents before their child enters the school system. In addition, we have had numerous requests from school principals and teachers, asking for ‘awareness information’ they could disseminate

to the students through the elementary grades – and this is something the AAO will be looking at in the new year. Huge cudos are in order for Karen Hollingsworth who has found/made the time to fulfill our mandate with the school districts, while assuming full time responsibilities within our OVC team. Karen is our Assistant Director, Client Services – which means she is Brian’s right hand…..and the contact person for all client company related processes and issues. Karen embraced the Eye See…Eye Learn program, understanding the importance of early eye health exams for children from her extensive experience managing the optical side of an OD practice. The AAO is fortunate to have someone with Karen’s expertise and unmatched energy!

CPR Requirements for Canadian Certified Optometric Assistants (CCOA)..........................................10 Eye Health Month Recap................10 Volunteer Thanks..............................10 AAO Membership Benefits............11

Mark Your Calendars... The 2008 AAO Annual General Meeting, Continuing Education Conference and Optifair will be held in EDMONTON at the Fantasyland Hotel, October 2nd through 4th.

Seeing is Believing. . . get a clearer view by visiting our website at www.optomestrists.ab.ca . . .


Alberta Association of Optometrists 2007 - 2008 Council Dr. Dan Lowe, President, Inter-professional Relations Dr. Steve Larsen, Past President, Leadership & Awards Dr. Neepun Sharma, President Elect, Planning Session Dr. Jason Pearce, Secretary/Treasurer, Director, Executive & Administration Dr. Allan Jones, CAO Councilor Dr. Femida Visnani, Director, Member Benefits Dr. Jim Asuchak, Director, Conference & Special Projects Dr.Tanya Lambden, Director, Communications & Public Relations Dr. Aaron Patel, Director, Government Relations/Insured Services

Welcome, Welcome!! The Alberta Association of Optometrists would like to welcome the following new members to our Association: Dr. Julie Dien Dr. Daryl Berger Dr. Dayna Jones Dr. Julie Lee-Ying Dr. Shikha Garg Dr. Shane Groeneweg Dr. Anne-Michele Larocque Dr. Celina Shih Dr. Doug Stefanyk Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery Dr. Alina Gupta Dr. Karen Feng Dr.Tapasya Ranjan Dr. Lara Draper Dr. Julie Theng 2

AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV


Membership Has It’s Privilege Your 2008 professional dues to maintain membership with the AAO, are due January 1, 2008. Notices, along with an invoice and a copy of your current registration information, went out to the membership in November. Returns have been brisk – and we thank you for giving this your early attention. For those who have not joined for 2008, or may be contemplating foregoing your membership…..please consider the following in your decision making process. There are numerous benefits to membership, not the least of which is the demonstration of support for your chosen profession. The AAO continually looks for ways to add value for its members – and Dr. Femida Visnani is your Director of Member Benefits. Dr.Visnani welcomes your comments and suggestions – so if you have an idea which would be of interest and benefit to all or the majority of AAO members, please share these with her. Some key benefits for Members Only include: ✒ Membership in the CAO. Only members of a provincial association can enjoy the benefits of membership with the national association. ✒ Name and clinic included on website(s) for Find an Optometrist Near You (both provincially and nationally) ✒ Access to AAO Manual, which includes direction and updates for billing for your services in Alberta ✒ Personal assistance resolving all your billing needs ✒ Inclusion in the Optometric Desk Reference – a national publication ✒ Eligibility for professional liability insurance through the group program with Cooks McCallum ✒ Participation in all negotiated government grants, i.e. Professional Liability Insurance Premium Rebate program ✒ Billing Number with Health Canada ✒ Eligibility to participate in the AAO Occupational Vision Care Programs ✒ Eligibility to participate in the AAO Eye See…Eye Learn program ✒ Access to CAO and AAO promotional materials These are but a few of the benefits you enjoy with membership in the AAO. Get your 2008 dues and updated registrations into the office before January 1st and avoid any late penalties. For more details, please see page 11.

AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV

Recent Arrivals Welcome to Jackson Andrew Laansoo who was born on September 27th weighing in at 7lbs and 3 oz. Congratulations to Dr. Kim Bugera and Dr. Peter Laansoo! Nathan Chen was born on October 6th weighing in at 6lbs and 15 oz. His older sister Jaelyn is very excited and happy for the new addition. Congratulations to Dr. Mira Chen and her husband! Dr. Neepun Sharma and his wife Manisha, welcome their first child, Eshaan Naresh Sharma born on November 12th weighing 7.1 lbs. Congratulations to the Sharma Family!

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AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV


We Welcome Barbara Bruce as the New AAO Executive Director On November 13th Barbara Bruce joined the AAO team, taking the reins from Peggy Sloan who is making a transition at the end of the year to the position of Government Relations consultant. Barbara comes to us from AlbertaFirst.com where she served in the position of Executive Director for the not-for-profit economic development organization. At AlbertaFirst.com she was responsible for overall operations, including government relations, financial management, strategic planning, board development, member relations, and coordination of website and database development projects. Barbara’s knowledge of association management grew over time from working in a variety of not-for-profit organizations in fields as diverse as children’s health care, education, arts and cul-

ture, as well as municipal government and economic development. A strong believer in continuous improvement, Barbara is in the midst of a series of courses offered by the Canadian Society of Association Executives towards her accreditation as a Certified Association Executive. About this new position she says: “I am really excited to have the opportunity to take on this new challenge. I obviously have some big shoes to fill, but I know there’s a great team in place to help me learn about the field of optometry and the needs of the AAO membership. I’m keen to dive into all of it and do my best to bring value to the association and its members.” In her leisure time, Barbara enjoys the outdoors, and spends many hours happily puttering in her garden or out hiking or climbing in the mountains. Music has always been a big part of her life as well, and most Tuesday evenings she can be found singing with the Alberta Heartland Chorus, a lively, women’s barbershop harmony group. She lives 20 minutes west of Edmonton on a small acreage that she shares with her husband Michael and two rambunctious hound dogs.

Deals, Deals and More Deals The Capri Centre in Red Deer Alberta, has secured a Business Traveler Rate for all members of the Alberta Association of Optometrists! The following rates have been agreed upon (subject to availability) for all members of the AAO upon checking in. Simply present your AAO Membership card at check in! Standard Rooms - $90/per night Superior Rooms - $130/per night More great benefits to being an AAO Member!!

AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV

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Alberta Expands Eye-care Coverage List of insured optometry services grows By Joel Kom CALGARY HERALD Alberta will now pay for patients’ visits to the optometrist’s office for everything from pink eye to diabetes checks – but not for routine visits. The province announced Friday it will cover medically necessary optometrist visits for people who are 19 to 64 years old. It was already covering those visits for children and seniors, but this extends the coverage to all age groups. The new coverage took effect October 1 and means anyone needing treatment for an eye problem can walk into any optometrist’s office instead of the emergency room.

The move is intended to reduce emergency room waiting times because patients will be sent directly to the doctors most suited to treat them, Health and Wellness Minister Dave Hancock said Friday in Calgary. “It makes so much more sense to stay with your optometrist for services the optometrist is well-qualified to deliver, rather than access emergency (rooms) or go to an ophthalmologist,” he said. The coverage includes visits for diabetes, hypertension, cataracts, glaucoma and retinal disease. It also takes care of people who need a foreign object removed from their eye. Optometrists have been cleared to treat those ailments since 1995, but Alberta only recently reached a deal with the Alberta Association of Optometrist to have the government pay for the treatment instead of the patient. Neither Hancock nor Alberta Health could provide estimates on how much more the move would cost. Peggy Sloan, the association’s executive director, said other provinces had already brought in similar coverage, but Alberta’s is the most comprehensive in Canada. Friday’s announcement doesn’t change the way routine visits are covered. Patients must still pay for themselves or through other insurance.

Medically necessary optometrist visits for people age 19 to 64 are now covered by the Alberta government.

Nominations Pave way to Election 2008! By Peggy Sloan Nearly all of the 83 Alberta constituencies have completed their PC Nominations. While the Liberal and ND’s are lagging behind, all indications point to an election this spring (most likely in March 2008). Government relations is an important focus of your Association – and in order for the program to continue to be successful — we need your involvement. There are many new faces who will be seeking election this round. When you consider the new faces in addition to the 17 new MLAs who came on board during the last election…..there are numerous candidates who know very little about your profession or your issues. Through our GR program, we have developed a matching program, and a process for meeting with and educating our political masters. This cannot be accomplished by your council, your executive director, or an outside consultant — alone! It requires the involvement of optometrists throughout the province. The amount of time you can dedicate to the process will vary — and it need not be great. Watch for the schedule of regional meetings, to be held in February, which will focus on involving optometry in the upcoming election process. Early in the New Year, a survey will be sent to all members which will include information to help us: a) Measure the level of support and involvement the membership is willing to provide; and

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b) Identify doctors willing to be or continue to be ‘matched’ with the local MLA Included with this newsletter will be a list of nominated candidates; an indication of whether they are re-nominated or new; and identification of constituencies where we need more OD involvement. Your continued interest and participation in the GR program is critical for optometry in Alberta. Groups who wait for a crisis before they become mobilized, or who only work “with” government when they want/need something…..seldom succeed. The AAO has a reputation for having one of the most successful GR programs, and with your help….this will continue.

In Memory Dr. Norman Stuart Boyle of Taber, AB has passed away at the age of 89 years. He passed away in Lethbridge surrounded by his family on November 13, 2007. He was a member of the Alberta Association of Optometrists for 28 years and he was a Lifetime Member.The AAO has made a donation to COETF in memory of Dr. Boyle. AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV


AAO/ACO Open House and Holiday Season Reception More than 40 guests visited the new home of the Association and College on Thursday November 15th kicking off the festive season for 2007. Representatives from Alberta Health and Wellness, other Colleges and Associations, along with many of our business partners enjoyed an array of delicious food, refreshments served by Brian Furman in a festive atmosphere decorated by Stacey Dominiuk. A few member OD’s dropped by to see the ‘new digs’ and members of both councils were in attendance. This annual event gave many of our suppliers and partners the opportunity to meet our new Executive Director, Barbara Bruce….who served as the ‘welcome’ and ‘thank you for coming’ committee. Several ophthalmologists dropped by as well – presenting opportunities to discuss how our two professions might work more closely together. The staff of both the AAO and ACO helped to organize and orchestrate this function.

L - R: Carl Shields, Gayle Stevens - Guille, Al Gibb, Rick Carter

L - R: Stephania Duffee, Barbara Bruce, Peggy Sloan

L - R: Bonnie Sniedze, Brenda Pisko

L - R: Karen Hollingsworth, Charles Couch, Gail Wald

L - R: Dr. Dan Lowe, Dr. Stanley Chan

L - R: Maureen Hussey, Scott Smith

AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV

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Alberta Health and Wellness – Billing and Negotiations By Peggy Sloan Many changes to several patient populations happened simultaneously this fall. Most were predicated on the new contract negotiated with Alberta Health and Wellness – as other government departments normally mirror fee increases set by AH&W. Members and staff have been keeping us busy with questions —and we welcome this activity. To some degree, we are all learning, when it relates to the new coverage for the 19 – 64 age group. Timing was an issue for the implementation of this program- and all of the billing bugs had not been worked out for the October 1 start up. We continue to work closely with Alberta Health and Wellness to iron out the wrinkles and ensure the governing rules are supportive of the ‘intent’ of the discussions during negotiations. As new situations are presented and resolved, the AAO will keep members updated via the website, bulletins, and this newsletter. Accessing the website at www.optometrists.ab.ca is your quickest reference! Earlier this month, the AAO Negotiating Team sat down again with the representatives from Alberta Health and Wellness to start the process all over again.Why? The current contract took a long time to negotiate because of the unstable political environment Alberta experienced for nearly two years, while Premier Klein stepped down and a new leader, Premier Stelmach, was chosen. Therefore the contract the members approved in August of 2007 actually expires in March 2008. This is why so many of the negotiated increases were retroactive – the previous contract expired in March 2006. The goal of this upcoming round is two fold: 1. To rewrite the Master Agreement. The current Agreement, signed in 1987, still refers to the Optometry Professions Act, which was repealed some years ago when optometry moved under the Health Professions Act. This means a revisiting of the founding principles which will guide future negotiations, and includes discussion on such issues as Arbitration…..Co-pay abilities…..opting out clauses…etc. 2. To negotiate a new contract which would be for 3 years, taking us to March 31, 2011. These talks will include discussions around harmonizing the programs, now separate and distinct, for children/seniors and the 19 – 64 adult group. We will be negotiating fee increases and working together to better clarify what is insured and what is uninsured. Council appointed the members to the AAO Negotiating Team at its December meeting, and they include Dr. Larry Gies, Dr. Steve Larsen, Dr. Aaron Patel, Dr. Alan Ulsifer, Mrs. Peggy Sloan and Ms. Barbara Bruce. On the Alberta Health and Wellness side of the table will sit Mr. Bruce Jones and Mr. Paul Victor – for starters. These two gentlemen, particularly Bruce Jones, have been involved in negotiations with the Association for approximately 5 years. Over this time we have had the opportunity to educate Bruce about optometry, familiarize him with what you do, what you are qualified to do, how

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and where you are educated, and most importantly the role you should play in eye health care delivery. While we don’t necessarily always agree on everything during the process – at least we know there is a greater degree of understanding and respect across the table. We welcome the opportunity to enter into this process again, and hope to be able to have something for the members to vote on sometime in February 2008. That is our goal! Billing Update Here are a couple of hints to help you in your billing challenges: ❖ Use 4.1 and 4.2 of the General Rules Governing Optometry document when deciding on your diagnostic code and need for text. All diagnostic codes listed under 4.1 require text when billing a 901 through 904 within 90 days of the initial visit (B900). ❖ The diagnostic codes under 4.2 do NOT require text ❖ One of the “government wishes” is for all providers to work together for the betterment of the patient. Therefore, for both 4.1 and 4.2 codes — when you are comanaging the patient — there are unlimited visits as long as the PRAC ID (practitioner identification) for the OMD is listed. ❖ The B900 codes are your Billing Codes; the codes under rule 4.1 and 4.2 are your diagnostic codes. Using the diagnostic codes help your Association and Alberta Health and Wellness to identify why the public seeks eye care from an optometrist. Diagnostic codes are mandatory for all the new codes, except B900. However, it is advisable to use a diagnostic code for the first visit as well.

Most unusual question…..goes to Dr. Gerry Leinweber, who is providing follow up care for a patient who went to Manitoba for her eye surgery. Dr. L wasn’t sure how, within this new contract, he could bill for the number of visits this patient requires, because the Manitoba physician does not have an Alberta Prac ID number. Here is the answer we received from Alberta Health and Wellness: Answer: The process for the Alberta Optometrist: Send claim to AH&W through regular channels. Complete the Person Data segment or submit text with the name and address of the Manitoba ophthalmologist.The claim will be presented to a staff member who would then create a PracID for the Manitoba ophthalmologist, insert the PracID on the claim and process same.

Rejected Claims: Included with the documents from Alberta Health and Wellness are Explanation Codes. When you have a claim rejected, there should also be an explanation code. While

AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV


Contined from Page 8 there were some “system problems” in the beginning; most have been resolved — and we are now finding that most rejected claims stem from:

Dr. Jim Asuchak Joins Council

❖ Lack of text ❖ Absence of diagnostic code ❖ Absence of Prac ID ❖ Inaccuracy of Prac ID ❖ Confusing the billing for 19 – 64 with the billing procedures for children and seniors. These are separate and distinct programs right now — and the TPAC and TPAFB codes used for children and seniors, are NOT applicable to the 19 – 64 age group. We encourage you to check the explanation code and review the claim to ensure it was submitted accurately. If everything is right from your end….then call me (Peggy Sloan) and we will help to resolve the situation. Diabetic Care continues to be the greyest area of the new contract. Discussions are already planned for the upcoming round, to try and clarify more definitively, how doctors should be billing for this patient population. Government understands that for many people, their diabetes is stable, and the reason they are seeing you is for their routine eye exam. They also want this program to encourage people with diabetes to have their eye health ‘monitored’ more regularly as a preventative measure. We hope to be able to provide clearer direction after this round of talks. AISH/SFI/WIDOWS/HEALTH CANADA programs were also affected by this new contract. Because Alberta Health and Wellness were unwilling, up until this round, to discuss funding for the 19 – 64 age group, the other provincial and federal departments had stepped up and expanded their insured services over the past few years. The other departments, whether provincial or federal, are “insurers of last resort” – in other words…..they try to provide coverage to their clients for services which are uninsured by Alberta Health and Wellness. Therefore two things happened as a result of the decision by AH&W: 1. The fee for the eye examination was increased by the other funders, to mirror the seniors fee provided by AH&W ($52.75); and 2. The need for the supplementary coverage (diabetic and glaucoma care) is no longer applicable. Therefore when you are treating First Nations, widows, those on AISH, SFI, etc – you should be billing Alberta Health and Wellness, under the new program, for their medically necessary eye care. We have been assured these patient groups should have AHCIP numbers. Let us know if you have problems billing Alberta Health and Wellness for these patient groups. Thank you to every member and your staff for your patience throughout the implementation of this new program. I wish you and yours a very safe and happy holiday season…..and a prosperous and healthy 2008! AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV

Dr. Asuchak was acclaimed as a member of AAO Council at the October AGM, and has agreed to assume responsibilities as Director of Conferences and Special Events. Providing quality CE for our members is an important goal of the Association, and Dr. Asuchak will bring a renewed enthusiasm and energy to this portfolio. Right off the mark, Jim is working with the BCAO to work out details for a joint AAO/BCAO conference in Banff in 2010. The BCAO was unable to find a suitable venue in BC because of the Olympics, and the AAO welcomed the opportunity to work with our colleagues on the other side of the mountain to plan a first class event bringing members of both organizations together. We asked Jim to share a little of his background with you, and he writes…. I grew up on a farm in Fort Macleod. After attending University of Lethbridge, I went to Waterloo. I graduated in 1999, knowing I definitely wanted to return to Alberta to practice.With TPA’s and a progressive outlook, it was an easy decision. I have been in solo practice for seven years now, recently moving my office and expanding my space. I met my wife Sandra in Waterloo, and have been married for four years now. Our home has changed significantly lately with the addition of our seven month son,Tyler. He has an endless supply of energy and provides an equal amount of enjoyment. I felt joining Council would be a great way to get involved in shaping the future of our profession. I look forward to serving the members of a profession that has provided me with so much opportunity. Welcome Jim…..we look forward to having you around for many years to come!

On-Guard Safety Frames As some of you are likely aware, this past October brought new ownership of our most utilized safety frame line, On-Guard. We have enjoyed a long standing relationship with the company and expect that partnership to continue in the future. However, as I’m sure you can understand, the turnover of a company this size to it’s new owners, Hilco, is a huge undertaking. Implementation of a variety of existing contracts across North America as well as shipping and supply demands bring many challenges. We are currently working very closely with them to help them better understand how our business works and I would like to request and thank you all for your cooperation and patience during this time. For those of you that do a large amount of safety business, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this time to remind you that for urgent, quicker turnaround jobs we do have other safety frames lines available for you to augment your selection and utilize, such as Titmus and Tek. For information regarding fitting kits for these suppliers, please contact me directly at the AAO’s office: Brian Furman, 1-800-272-8843.

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CPR Requirements for Canadian Certified Optometric Assistants (CCOA) As of December 31, 2009, every CCOA must submit proof of attendance at a valid CPR course (Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, etc.) during every three year renewal period.The course must include a practical, hands-on component, in other words, online CPR courses are not sufficient.The length of the course (in hours) must be included in the documentation and is counted towards the total of 18 hours for the renewal period. If the certificate of completion does not include the length of the course, a letter by the employing OD on practice stationary will suffice. If you have any further questions abut continuing education for CCOA’s, please contact Terry Theiss at the Canadian Association of Optometrists at terry@opto.ca.

Eye Health Month Recap By Tanya Lambden With the help of Fleishman-Hillard (FH), one of Canada’s largest public relations firm, eye health month 2007 was the most successful ever. One of the components of this years initiative was to do media training and media outreach leading up to October. As well, FH developed a survey that examined awareness among Canadians of serious eye disease and the role of optometrist in preventative eye care.The results of this survey and the impact of strong, optometry positive, patient stories captured the interest of national and local media to broaden this years outreach. According to FH, this years eye health month campaign reached over 33 million Canadians. Some of the top media involved were CTV, CBC, Readers Digest,Today’s Parent, Flare, Chatelaine, Breakfast TV, Shaw, the Herald and many more. This year’s Eye Dare You contest was won by BC for the second year in a row. I am looking forward to an even more successful Eye Health Month next year and perhaps a chance for Alberta to regain the title of the Eye Dare You challenge winner.

Volunteer Thanks! By Tanya Lambden Throughout the year there are many events that come up where various groups request an optometrist presence. Big or small, each of the events is an opportunity to increase public awareness and improve public opinion of optometry’s very important role in eye care. AAO attempts to attend as many of these events as possible, but there seem to be more events coming up every month. AAO is always looking for volunteers that are willing to give even an hour of their time for various causes. In a recent national survey, Albertans were the most likely Canadians to say they “don’t have time” for eye appointments and I think we can all identify with that statement. Over the past few months, there have been several optometrists that managed to find a few hours to help out and AAO is very grateful for their time. Dr. Sarah Cooper, Dr. Andrea Saetre, and Dr. Lori Jaffray helped out with kindergarten class visits, Dr. Jill Bridges opened her office to CBC for a media visit, Dr. Carolyn Fyffe appeared on Breakfast TV and did a fantastic job, Dr. Aaron Patel helped out with Diabetes Compass and finally Optos Canada donated man hours and their imaging equipment for Breakfast TV and a very successful Diabetes Fair in Calgary. Thank you again for all your help and please let me know if I left anyone out.

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AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV


BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP IN AAO (Non Members cannot purchase AAO products or services) The Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO) is your Professional Association.We offer a wide range of services to members, and want to make sure these services are useful and of value to you.Your Director of Members Benefits is Dr. Femida Visnani. Our goal is to serve you and meet your needs…..so we must know what those needs are. Please feel free to call the Association office for ANYTHING related to your practice….if we don’t know the answer, we will try and direct you to the appropriate source.

Professional Communication: AAO members receive a bi-monthly newsletter containing updates and pertinent information. In addition, the Association produces the Optomart, which is a classified ad publication, free to AAO members.The AAO staff are trained to answer member inquiries and provide support to individual members and/or regional societies. Both can be viewed online at www.optomtetrists.ab.ca

Recommended Schedule of Professional Fees: The AAO prepares a comprehensive guide recommending fees for all services performed for optometric patients, which is made available to you and third party vision care administrators. Public Information Materials and Aids: Information pamphlets, brochures, posters, tear sheets and stickers are produced by the AAO and made available to members. Some of this promotional material is made available for purchase, and some is distributed free of charge.AAO members have access to two display booths, which can be used at trade and career fairs. Provincial ad and media campaigns are orchestrated through the Association office to promote optometry and raise awareness throughout the province. Non-members cannot purchase AAO products.

AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV

Member Manuals are provided by the AAO to be used as a reference tool.They contain information on provincial and federal third party programs, members benefits, copies of our bylaws, plus the current recommended fee schedule. New Benefit: Power Point Presentations – covering subjects such as Glaucoma, Diabetes, Children’s Vision, etc. available online to members only!

Your AAO Membership includes: A Voice in Legislative Affairs: The AAO is the designated body representing optometry and meets with the provincial government on your behalf for a variety of reasons. The AAO is your voice when we meet with Alberta Health and Welfare to negotiate fees, and discuss optometric billing codes and procedures.The AAO continues to fight on your behalf for ‘adequate’ funding for coverage of clinical conditions.We monitor provincial legislation, attend workshops, and ensure that optometry’s needs and concerns are considered by government.The AAO orchestrates a Political Action Plan which involves members in the process and ensures our visibility at Premiers Dinners, MLA Banquets, Political Fund Raisers, Conferences etc.

AAO Vision Care Programs are available to members only. Our industrial safety eyewear program is the flag ship for Canada, and provides substantial non dues revenues. Participating doctors’ names are circulated to client companies, thus increasing their visibility within their practicing community.

Group Plans offering special rates, and negotiated by the AAO include disability and life insurance, credit card rates,Alberta Mobility, courier services, Quikcard, Telephone-On-Hold Messaging, and our newest addition “Maxopia.” Maxopia offers excellent discounts to AAO members for office supplies and equipment.AAO members don’t pay a sign up fee! The Association is constantly on the lookout for group benefit plans which would be of interest to the membership. Regional Meetings and Workshops are organized and facilitated by the Association annually.These offer continuing education credits and social interaction with fellow AAO members, and provide a forum for information exchange between the elected Council and the field practitioner.

Membership with the Canadian Association of Optometrists is only open to members of the provincial association. The CAO represents the national interests of optometrists in Canada, and works on your behalf with government, industry, vision care patients, the public and other health professionals. A significant benefit provided by the CAO has been the effective public awareness campaign, administered by NPEC. In addition CAO supplies your annual Optometrist’s Desk Reference.The last section of the ODR is an excellent policy reference and should be kept within easy reach in every optometric office!

The Association is always looking for ways to enhance our value to the membership, and our services are not limited to those mentioned above. In addition, we regularly

AAO Annual General Meeting, Continuing Education Conference and Optifair are organized each year and AAO members attend at a much reduced rate. Our Optifair is one of the most successful in Canada, attracting large numbers of suppliers and doctors.

gather information via surveys, which is then analyzed and shared with the membership.We act as a communications clearing house, and pride ourselves on being able and willing to assist the membership wherever possible.

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AAO News / 2007 / Issue IV


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