AOA committee seeks ODs for federal commissions

July 30, 2013

The AOA Federal Relations Committee (FRC) is seeking optometrists who are properly qualified and willing to serve on federal boards, advisory panels, and commissions.

“The federal government regularly calls on health care professionals to serve on committees, boards, panels, and councils that oversee or advise on various aspects of health care,” said AOA FRC Chair Roger Jordan, O.D. “They range from standing committees maintained by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services agencies, such as the Food & Drug Administration or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to special advisory boards convened by lawmakers or agency officials to study specific health care issues such as cost or quality.”

The federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 authorized creation of a number of new panels, boards, and councils – many of which may have a direct impact on the practice of optometry.

The AOA FRC maintains a roster of optometrists appropriately qualified and have a desire to serve on government boards to ensure the AOA can nominate optometrists to serve on such panels when openings occur.

“Over the past several years, the AOA has pulled from this pool of optometrists to submit nominations for various working groups,” Dr. Jordan said. “With greater optometric involvement, our voice can be heard to help the profession, the health care system and ultimately our patients.”

Requirements for service on the government’s many health care-related boards and commissions vary.

However, requirements typically include a minimum time commitment, willingness to travel for meetings, and a high level of expertise in a specific field.

“The area of expertise can be general – for example, contact lenses, economics, epidemiology, health care improvement, or workforce issues – or specific – for example, implementation of evidence-based recommendations in clinical practice at the patient, practice and health system levels or biostatistics related to ophthalmic clinical trials,” Dr. Jordan said.

AOA members interested in influencing panels and who are qualified to serve on federal boards may submit their curriculum vitae to the AOA Washington office, Attn Federal Relations Committee, 1505 Prince St. Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314 or email Kara Webb at kcwebb@aoa.org or Dr. Jordan at vetteyes@bresnan.net.

Selected federal health panels

Options for possible optometrist service include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration Ophthalmic Devices Panel
  • The U. S. Preventive Services Taskforce
  • The Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ) National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Other AHRQ workgroups focusing on topics such as prevention quality indicators (PQIs)
  • Various positions on the Office of the National Coordinator Health Information Technology’s federal advisory committees
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC)

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