23 November 2010

November 2010 - President's Message

During the weekend Nov. 6-7, the MOA Board and I welcomed our members and other optometric professionals to our annual conference at the North Bethesda Marriott Convention Center. The entire program was a resounding success as we offered a full schedule of continuing education, networking with the MOA partner members, and our awards luncheon where we honored some of our most prestigious members. Congratulations to Drs. Jennifer Kungle, Elliott H. Myrowitz, and Elliott Klonsky on their well-deserved awards and their continued service to our profession. Photos from the convention will be on the MOA website shortly. Be sure to stay tuned to www.marylandeyes.org.

In addition, we also welcomed our AOA Trustee Liaison, Dr. Ron Hopping, who provided an AOA report for the members in attendance. Dr. Hopping's presentation highlighted the value of our membership in the MOA and the AOA. He also encouraged every optometrist to get involved in the association so we have the strength in numbers to protect our access to patient care and to continue providing eye care at the highest level possible.

As I stated in my President's report during the convention, we are about to embark on a new era of health care. When President Obama signed the Health Care Reform Bill into law earlier this year, optometry celebrated a tremendous victory as the AOA worked to have key provisions included in the landmark legislation. These included the Harkin amendment - the first-ever federal standard of provider non-discrimination that will apply to all health plans - as well as some children's vision initiatives. While these are tremendous victories for our profession, you also need to know that there are groups currently organizing efforts to derail and dismantle what we have worked so hard to obtain. As a legislated profession, it is so important to watch and participate in every level of government - from local and county through to state and federal - for our profession and our patients.

Last week, we were witness to a historic event for optometry. Our very own five-time member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. John Boozman, an optometrist from Arkansas, was elected to the U.S. Senate. The AOA PAC and many of our own MOA members reached into their pockets to support Senator-elect Boozman in his successful bid. The impact on our profession here is tremendous and it is important to have people like the Senator-elect with their pro-Optometry voices in place to watch out for our future. It takes every one of us to continue to be diligent and see that the interests of our profession stay guarded in D.C., in Annapolis and in our own backyards.

Shifting gears, I want to bring everyone up to date with our MOA Strategic Planning, which continued during our annual convention. As you know, the MOA Board has committed to a formal planning process that will provide a road map for the MOA over the next several years. This will include, for example, specific plans for our membership, legislative and continuing education initiatives.

To date, we have had three meetings of our "Strategic Planning Steering Committee," comprised of the MOA Board, past presidents and other active MOA members. Our next meeting is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011 and we will be looking to our general membership to help us develop "action plans" to achieve the goals that we have set for the MOA over the next few years. Please help us to pave the road for the MOA's future success with this exciting project and sign up for our meeting in January. Please contact me through the association at moa@assnhqtrs.com and ask to be included in our strategic planning session this winter. We look forward to seeing you there.


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