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CMS reaffirms optometry’s eligibility for additional PQRS incentive payment

July 16, 2012

Uncle Sam‘s current “additional” bonus payment may be relatively small – 0.5 percent – but its significance is huge to special interests in Washington, D.C., working to exclude optometry and gain control over how ODs practice. In fact, if anti-optometry groups had been allowed to have their way, ODs would not be eligible for any of the Medicare physician payment incentives that the AOA’s advocacy efforts in Washington have made a reality in recent years.

That’s why the June 14 announcement by U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officials that optometrists may continue to qualify for the 2012 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program Incentive represents another notable federal regulatory win for the profession and a key step toward parity at a time when the health care system continues to undergo rapid change.

According to the CMS, the American Board of Optometry (ABO) successfully completed the vetting process to ensure that the ABO MOC program meets its participation requirements again in 2012. The ABO was one of only seven entities that qualified during the launch of this program in 2011, allowing ABO Diplomates to be among an elite few health care professionals to participate in this incentive program.

For 2012, Medicare physicians – including ODs — will again have the opportunity to earn the PQRS incentive, as well as an additional incentive of 0.5 percent by participating in additional activities of a qualified MOC program, including a practice assessment module and patient experience of care survey.

For the latest from CMS on the PQRS MOC Program Incentive, visit https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/PQRS/Maintenance_of_Certification_Program_Incentive.html.

For the latest health care reform news and information, including background and updates on the PQRS program, visit the AOA’s health care reform Web page at www.aoa.org/reform.

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