10 April 2012

AOA Advocacy Meeting, Maryland embarrassed AGAIN!!


My weekend of Advocacy started at a fundraiser Saturday night for my neighbor Sid Saab who is running for local delegate. It  was a wonderful night of companionship and cards. I wish I could say I won the charity poker tournament, but I think I need some more practice.

Sunday and Monday I was joined by Dr. Tracie King and Jennifer Levy for the AOA Advocacy Meeting at the JW Marriott in Washington DC. This year the TPC (Third Party Committee) and SGRC (State Government Relations Committee) meetings were combined and I think it was a success. These two committees need to be aware of what each is doing and combine efforts going into the future.

The Congressional Advocacy Conference, which took place at the same time and location as the TPC and SGRC meetings, had over 700 people in attendance with a record 300 students. I was happy to see this as we do have a bright future. On Tuesday our Maryland contingent attacked the Hill with the great organizational skills of our new Legislative Director, Jennifer Levy.  I would like to thank the following OD’s, Dr. Rich Edlow, Dr. Lamont Bunyon, Dr. Kevin Johnson,  Dr. Kelechi Mezu, and Dr. Doug Keissling along with the following students, Lauren Wood, Whitney McConkey, Milly Chang, Jennifer Lee, Olayemi Swindell, and Norit Bor, for taking time out of their daily schedules to visit with legislators on the Hill on our behalf.  The visits were a smashing success.

During the AOA’s PAC report it was reported that The AOSA (students) have contributed $16K so far in 2012 to the AOA PAC.  AMAZING!!!  The bad news: Maryland DOCTORS have not come anywhere close to that.  We are one of 5 states that have not even contributed close to what the STUDENTS HAVE to AOA PAC so far in 2012.

I would ask that every OD reading this make a donation today  Please.  Maryland can't continue to permit the AOSA (STUDENTS) to out spend our Maryland (DOCTORS) contributions.
Here is the link:  You will need your AOA login username and password.
If you can't find your AOA login info:  please contact Tess Milliorn at TMilliorn@aoa.org .
1-800-365-2219 x1345 or 703-837-1345.

The AOA PAC has some real challenges in this and upcoming years with making sure we remain relevant in health care.  Funding our AOA PAC will help us to have a seat at the table. For those who do not feel they can contribute monetarily, we could use your time and effort by volunteering to work with your local legislators on campaigns or by becoming their Keyperson.
I really do not want to go to Optometry’s Meeting in June with our state still on that list.

AOA Keyperson

After three years as Maryland’s Keyperson Coordinator, Dr. Cerella Rainey is stepping down. She has done a wonderful job; however, we do need to fill this position and I ask anyone interested to please contact Jennifer Levy jenniferlevy@assnhqtrs.com at the MOA for information. This is a very important position and with health care reform changing almost daily we need to keep in constant contact with our elected officials.

Third Party Committee

The AOA has created a national database to help us deal with insurance issues. Whether it be inclusion or exclusion, parity, or coding we can search to see if other states have the same issue. Dr. Michael Sless is our chair and can help you if you need it.

I am still trying to leave Optometry in Maryland better than I found it. We have a lot of work to do now that the legislative session is over. Please keep an open mind when we call on you to ask for help.  I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful spring weather.

Until next month...



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