ASCRS Small Mindedness, Pettiness Bad for Quality Patient Care
The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ACDS), an organization of ophthalmologists (OMD), continue to demonstrate their inability to recognize that optometrists (OD) are not their servants, but rather their equals. When you combine this with their fear that optometry is as competent as, if not better than OMDs at delivering medical eye care to our patients, they have created policies that show a level of small mindedness and pettiness that are unbecoming for any group of professionals. As a result of these policies, ACRS bans optometrists from attending their continuing education meetings. The ACRS leadership must be very frightened of the high level of knowledge already demonstrated by optometrists to be so afraid of us acquiring additional education.
ACRS has now formed an Integrated Ophthalmic-Managed Eyecare Delivery (IOMED) Task Force. This task force is supposed to suggest ways in which the ACRS and its members can advance an eye care delivery model that includes optometrists. This model, of course, is to be led by ophthalmology. This Integrated Eyecare Model runs contrary to all other models of delivery of health care in the United States and once again demonstrates the inability of the OMDs of this organization to work with as opposed to desire the domination of another profession.
All models of health care delivery have the primary care practitioner as the entry point into the health care arena. No models have the surgeon, (who is recognized as a secondary or tertiary level provider) defined as a provider of primary care. OMDs are surgeons who also appear to want to be primary eye care providers. They seem to be confused as to their role within the health care system. Perhaps this is not confusion, but rather a conscious plan to limit access to eye and vision care providers (optometrists) better suited to meet the needs of the majority of the population.
I urge ACRS and all ophthalmologic organizations to immediately cease any programs that clearly are designed to benefit themselves and not their patients. They should cease all polices that reflect poorly upon their organization. They should immediately work with and not against optometry. If they do this, we can then work together for the benefit of our patients.
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