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AOA to greatly expand member benefits to OD staffs with proposed change, no increase in member dues

June 10, 2013

All paraoptometrics/ optometric staff of AOA member ODs will become AOA associate members and have access to all current Paraoptometric Section (PS) member benefits and services, through a new Paraoptometric Resource Center, at no membership cost to the paraoptometric and no added membership cost to the AOA-member optometrist if the bylaws change is approved by the AOA House of Delegates in June.

Not only will this change accelerate the fulfillment of the current mission statement—to ensure that the education and training for ALL paraoptometrics is consistent with and reflects the growth of the paraoptometric profession— but it will help members and their paraoptometric staff prepare for the changes facing optometry with the implementation of the Accountable Care Act (ACA), said William Reynolds, O.D., AOA Board liaison trustee to the current Paraoptometric Section.

With this change, the doors to education and training can be opened to approximately 75,000 paraoptometrics/optometric staff across the country.

“I hope that every paraoptometric across the nation can have the passion and desire to move our profession to the next level,” said Beverly Roberts, CPOT, chair of the AOA Paraoptometric Section. “I will do all that I can to help them all understand that this change is what will bring our profession where we need to be. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the team that will change the future for paraoptometry.”

She noted current Paraoptometric Section benefits will continue to be available to all paraoptometric staff of AOA OD members through associate membership:

  • Access to current free member-only benefits such as online continuing education (CE) articles worth six hours of CE credits, access to member-only Web pages, access to the Paraoptometric Skill Builder® Beginner Level 1, and the billing and coding webinar series
  • Continued access to current AOA publications such as the electronic version of AOA News, First Look, the AOA blog, the section’s quarterly newsletter, and email updates
  • Discounted fees for paraoptometric education materials
  • Reduced registration fees for Optometry’s Meeting®
  • Continued robust programming at Optometry’s Meeting® including the Paraoptometric Awards Reception, social and networking opportunities, and education tracks designed to meet the ever-changing needs of the paraoptometric
  • A continued strong Web and social media presence
  • An ongoing recognition program for paraoptometrics, including awards for Paraoptometric of the Year and Community Service, and the Bridgeway Award for AOA affiliates
  • Continued coordination and collaboration with state paraoptometric programs, including hosting a State Paraoptometric Leaders Meeting at Optometry’s Meeting®.

The Paraoptometric Section Council petitioned the AOA Board of Trustees to present a request for the dissolution of the AOA Paraoptometric Section to the AOA House of Delegates in order to transition from the section to a new Paraoptometric Resource Center.

The changes, if approved by the AOA House of Delegates in June, would take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

All 2013 Paraoptometric Section membership dues must still be paid in order for PS members to continue to access current programs and services offered as part of their membership for the rest of 2013.

Paraoptometrics who do not renew their 2013 membership will lose their access to member benefits for the remainder of this year.

Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC) status will not be affected, and the CPC will continue to operate without any changes.

For more information, contact the AOA Paraoptometric Section at PS@aoa.org.

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