Ophthalmologist Organization Investigates Integrated Care Model with Optometrists

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FAIRFAX, Va.—To explore synergies between ophthalmology and optometry, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) has formed the Integrated Ophthalmic-Managed Eyecare Delivery Task Force. The group’s goal is to investigate and recommend ways in which the organization and its membership can advance an eyecare delivery model based on a synergistic collaboration between optometry and ophthalmology.

Consisting of representatives from both ophthalmology and optometry, the task force is chaired by ASCRS governing board member, Stephen S. Lane, MD, clinical professor at the University of Minnesota and medical director of Associated Eyecare in St. Paul, Minn. “There are 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day for the next 17 years. The way the system is now set up, neither optometrists alone nor ophthalmologists alone can see all of those patients in an efficient manner given the workforce that we now have and will have in the foreseeable future,” Lane told Vision Monday. “I and many of my colleagues have worked in practices where MDs and ODs work side by side in a cooperative fashion and find it an efficient way of managing patient care.”

One of the task force members representing optometry, Marlane J. Brown, OD, FAAO, of Minnesota Eye Consultants in Minneapolis, told VMail that this is a continuation of a previous ASCRS initiative. “Several years ago Steve Lane and I were involved in a similar task force that taught several seminars on integrated eyecare, using examples of practices and cases that were already successful in the model,” she said.

Similarly, providing education through the ASCRS is the goal of this task force as well. “Essentially our goals are to define the integrated care model and to set up an educational system and programs in which optometrists can come to our meeting and be educated just as ophthalmologists currently are and perhaps set up some sort of sub society within ASCRS and under the ASCRS banner, in which optometrists would direct their own educational curriculum, in a vertically integrated eyecare model.” said Lane.

The remaining members of the task force are: Jeff Azus, OD, of Altos Eye Physicians in Los Altos, Calif., and Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco; Derek N. Cunningham, OD, FAAO, of Dell Laser Consultants in Austin, Texas; Richard C. Edlow, OD, of Katzen Eye Group in Lutherville, Md.; Howard Fine, MD, of Oregon Eye Associates in Eugene, Ore.; David I. Geffen, OD, FAAO, of Gordon Weiss Schanzlin Vision Institute in San Diego; David A. Karcher, executive director of ASCRS; and Douglas D. Koch, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The task force will meet for the first time in early August to discuss its goals.