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Presenter Spotlight: Healthcare – The Big Picture

Posted By Lydia Dimmer, Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 of us realize that healthcare is changing rapidly, yet few of us have the broad perspective taken by the speakers of the lecture "Healthcare – The Big Picture” slated for the Annual Program in New Orleans.   

The changes taking place in Healthcare are driven by regulations bearing down on us, bringing with them timelines and procedural mandates which influence how we do our jobs now and in the future.   I’m thinking of the government incentive programs Meaningful Use and PQRS.  And let’s not forget about Obamacare…the Affordable Care Act - Implementation timeline - 2014.  I personally have no idea, nor do most others, how far reaching the changes will be or how our jobs will change as a result of these eminent programs.   The lecture aims to expose the fundamental goals of the government incentive programs as well as project an eye into the future.

As policy and compliance issues are being developed around these programs, each specialty/group advocates for its own interests.  As such, the "players” have far reaching effects on the global healthcare picture, yet their names and involvement are not well known in mainstream medicine.  As the leaders of the AAO Health Policy Committee, Dr. Topping and Cheri McNett expend  their efforts to influence government policy on behalf of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).  

And now, I would like to introduce you to the ‘players’ representing the interests of Ophthalmology:

Cheri McNett has been the Director of the AAO Health Policy Committee for the past 7 years. In that capacity she  is responsible for monitoring and influencing, on the federal level, all reimbursement and Medicare regulatory policy that affects ophthalmologists in the United States.  She develops and implements AAO strategy regarding regulatory and Medicare policy, code valuation, and other reimbursement issues.  

Prior to her current position, she was involved in managing federal regulatory issues for various medical societies.   She was the Director of Government Affairs for the American Urological Association.  Between 1999 and 2001 she represented the interests of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, where her efforts circled around coding, reimbursement,  and devices. 

Her career began in 1993 as State Affairs Manager for the American Society of  Anesthesiologists where she executed all functions relating to state governmental activities within 48 state chapters.   She was the principal contact with state medical and specialty societies and the liaison between chapters and federal agencies on state-related issues.

As you can see, she brings an important piece to the table to meet the set objective of influencing policies as they are being fermented. 

The physician speaker for the "Healthcare – The Golbal Picture” lecture is Trexler Topping, MD.  

Dr. Topping  graduated from Harvard and received his MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1970.  His early history includes a  2 year Residency at the NIH in the Laboratory of Comparative Physiology  in the NICHD working on cellular ultrastructure and electron cytochemistry.  After completion of his Wilmer residency, he did a 2-year fellowship at Bascom-Palmer with mentors including Don Gass, Ed Norton, John Clarkson, George Blankenship, John Flynn, and Robert Machemer.  He relocated to Boston in 1984.   There he went into private practice and joined the Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston, where he is currently President and Medical Director. 

In Boston he developed his interest in practice management and medical informatics.

He became active with the Academy of Ophthalmology and served on the Council from 1992-1998 as Retina Society representative and from 1998-2002 as alternate for the Vitreous Society.  

AAO committee work began as a member of the Diagnostic and Procedural Terminology Committee from 1992-1997, which eventually morphed into the Federal Health Policy Committee, which he now chairs.  Much of his work focused on code valuation and reimbursement.

In addition, his interest in quality improvement and risk management has been influenced as a committee member of OMIC, and now as a member of the Board of Directors.

It is not easy to address a topic as complex as the healthcare system, but you will need to start with a Birdseye view to get informed.   Meanwhile, the march into the electronic age is underway and despite the many mandates of Meaningful Use, we will quickly become used a new workflow and connectivity will be a given.  Soon we will look ahead with anticipation, or maybe with trepidation, to the next change.  I’m hoping to get a glimpse into the future, to see what else is on the horizon, and what better source for that information than the team I just introduced.

Friday – 10:45-11:45am

Healthcare – The Big Picture

Trexler Topping, MD,  Chair, AAO Health Policy Committee

Cherie McNett, Director, AAO Health Policy Committee

This lecture will focus on the global administrative changes taking place in Healthcare. As imagers or technicians performing ancillary testing services, we are affected by implementation of these policies and programs as they may change and shape our jobs in the future.  Topics such as Meaningful Use, the Healthcare for America Plan (Obamacare), and other regulatory issues being currently dealt with at the AAO Health Policy Committee will be discussed during this lecture.  

At the end of the lecture the student will be able to list and outline various incentive programs currently administered by CMS and discuss potential future changes pertaining to health care administration.


Lydia Dimmer, COT, CRA, OCT-C, FOPS

Member, Board of Education


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