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EyeCare America-a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology-is hoping to inspire young ophthalmologists (YO) to become volunteers with a new initiative.
With its ‘30 by 30 YO Challenge,’ the foundation wants to attract YO who are at least 30 years of age to enroll as volunteers between now and Jan. 1, 2015-before EyeCare America turns 30 years old.
Ophthalmologists who agree to volunteer through the initiative can do so for any or all of the following three services:
1. Provide a comprehensive, medical eye exam to an eligible senior and care for up to 1 year for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam.
a. You accept Medicare and/or other insurance reimbursement as payment in full, waiving co-payments and/or unmet deductibles as provided for by EyeCare America’s waiver. Patients without insurance receive care at no charge.
2. Provide a glaucoma eye exam and initiate treatment, if necessary, to referred patients of any age determined to have increased risk for glaucoma.
a. Patients with insurance will be billed and are responsible for any co-payments. Patients without insurance receive this care at no charge.
3. Provide retinal care for retina patients whose original EyeCare America doctor could not provide it.
a. Patient care works the same as the senior care described above. You accept Medicare and/or other insurance reimbursement as payment in full; uninsured patients receive care at no charge.
"As an EyeCare America volunteer, I found that I get much more than I ever give,” said Sebastian Heersink, MD, a cataract and laser refractive surgeon and cornea specialist, Eye Center South, Dothan, AL. “Best of all, it’s a seamless process: a few extra patients a year, and you don’t notice a difference in your day or your practice otherwise. (EyeCare America) makes it easy for you to be the hero!"
According to the foundation, their volunteers see about 15 patients per fiscal year for each of the three specified sections, while the average volunteer sees between 2 to 5 patients per year.
"All too often ophthalmologists see patients who have already lost some of their vision because they waited too long to schedule an appointment for an eye exam,” said C. Pat Wilkinson, MD, chairman of EyeCare America. “Many times the reason was limited insurance or they couldn't afford the co-pay. EyeCare America is here to help."â¨