By: Amanda Clemons, IECI Community Engagement Specialist

One of the goals of PECAA’s Integrated Eye Care Initiative (health care reform program) has been to transition how eye care providers think of their role in healthcare and, when it comes to diabetes, make the transition from simply detecting diabetic retinopathy to preventing its development.

The AOA recently released the second version of the Diabetes Clinical Guidelines which now reflect updated clinical best practice steps that have been emerging. With the release of these new clinical guidelines, and as more and more providers follow these guidelines, they will become the standard of care. Eventually, providers who do not transition into this type of care delivery will not be meeting the standard of care.

This is a critical change in eye care and the IECI program is here to support you through this process by:

1) Informing you on what you need to do to meet the new AOA clinical guidelines

2) Teaching you how you can get credit for using these activities by measuring outcomes to get the maximum benefit for your practice

For providers who approach these changes without beginning to track outcomes, they will be doing additional activities per the new AOA guidelines* without any possibility of capturing the impact those additional activities are having. Opportunities are being missed.

Alternatively, providers who transition to outcome-based care will be doing these same activities per the new AOA guidelines, but they will have outcome analytics to prove the impact these activities are having. The outcomes will be serving as the proof that these providers are positively impacting the health of patients. It will change the dialogue these practices are having with other providers and will enhance those referral relationships. In fact, providers who are already involved in similar efforts through the Integrated Eye Care Initiative are seeing increased referrals and even exclusive referral relationships. Furthermore, these practices will be positioning themselves to get increased reimbursements.

The question of whether you should participate in the IECI is no longer whether or not you want to transition to an increased role in diabetes management. The standards across optometry as a profession have evolved, are continuing to evolve, and the new question is… whether or not you want to utilize these changes to build your practice and position yourself for increased reimbursements.

We’re here to help you make these transitions in your practice. Contact Amanda Clemons, IECI Community Engagement Specialist, at if you’d like to get started implementing the best strategy for your practice considering the nuances of your community and practice goals.

*Note that the goal of the IECI program is to keep you informed of changes like these. We are not endorsing the approach, but simply educating you about how to utilize these changes to your advantage to build your practice.

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