March 3, 2022

AOA to CMS: Hold Medicare Advantage plans accountable

In a March 2 letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the AOA urged more action to support patient access to eye health and vision care under Medicare Advantage plans.

Read more.

February 14, 2022

COA COVID-19 Update: Guidance for Use of Masks

California is lifting its public mask mandate this week...

However, masks are still required for health care settings, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Please be aware that some counties have more strict requirements.

Read more on the COA COVID-19 Guide for ODs.

January 27, 2022

No Surprises Act Details -COA's updates:

A provision of the recently implemented No Surprises Act requires all health care practitioners, including doctors of optometry, to provide any uninsured/self-pay patient with a good faith estimate (estimate) upon request. 



Self-pay patients have a right to a good faith estimate of expected charges as of Jan 1, 2022

  • You must provide an estimate to uninsured or self-pay patients for items and services.

  • The estimate must itemize any out-of-pocket expenses. For example, exam, refraction, glasses, contact lenses, specialty services, etc. For each item, you may include a range.

  • The estimate must be within $400 of the actual cost or the patient may dispute the charges.

  • The estimate must be provided verbally at the time of scheduling and you must follow every verbal estimate with one in writing (paper or electronic) within 1-3 business days, depending on when the appointment is scheduled.

  • You must provide an estimate (verbal and writing) to someone who doesn't schedule an appointment if you or your staff have any discussion regarding the potential costs of items or services.

  • If you discover that additional items or services are needed during an exam, you can issue a new estimate (verbal and writing) before the products or services are provided.

  • The estimate template must include certain information and disclaimers.

  • You must prominently display a notice (example here) in your office and website.

  • AOA's webinar provides additional information and specific examples of how the new law will work.

See the No Surprises Act fact sheet from the AOA here.

January 24, 2022

#AskAOA: No Surprises Act Update

In fall 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new regulations implementing the No Surprises Act. The No Surprises Act is aimed at addressing situations in which patients receive surprise medical bills when they inadvertently or unknowingly receive care from an out of network provider. The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor have developed several regulations to implement the law.



January 20, 2022

APHA issues call for team approach to 'skyrocketing' diabetes cases

Recently published online, first-of-its-kind American Public Health Association public policy statement reflects the role that eye doctors, dentists, pharmacists and podiatrists can have in diabetes prevention and management.

Read the full article here.


January 13, 2022

Bipartisan bill to ban abusive policies of discount plans gets boost from policy expert report



January 1, 2022

New laws in effect for 2022 -per the COA's update:

  • All health care providers are required to send medication prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically as of January 1, 2022.

  • The maximum fine for violating the laws for out-of-state ophthalmic lens sellers increases next year from $2,500 to $35,000 (AB 1534). Click here to complain to the state about illegal contact lens sales. Also, share your story here.

  • An optometrist may not knowingly provide optometric services to any patient who scheduled their appointment through any individual, corporation, or firm engaged in the business of filling prescriptions that is not properly registered with the State Board of Optometry (AB 1534).

  • An optometrist may not knowingly lease space from any individual, corporation, or firm engaged in the business of filling prescriptions that is not properly registered with the State Board of Optometry (AB 1534).

  • An optometrist may not sell medication directly to patients [B&P 3041 (h)].

  • Optometrists must post a sign in the office letting patients know where to file a complaint.