Providing you with the education, information and resources you need to serve your patients remains our number one priority. The GOA is committed to providing you with vital information during this time of uncertainty.
AOA COVID-19 Webinar: What ODs Need to Know about new Sick Leave and FMLA Requirements and Financial Support Options for Practices

On Tuesday, March 31, the AOA hosted a COVID-19 webinar to provide doctors of optometry an update on new changes for Sick Leave and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requirements during this urgent crisis.

The webinar also reviewed financial support options for doctors to help practices through this challenging time. Federal rules and regulations are still being decided and the information shared in this webinar may have changed since its original publication.

A recording of the webinar will be posted to the AOA Coronavirus/COVID-19: Crisis Response page page later today.
DoL Poster/Disclosure Requirement – Deadline is TODAY

The expanded Emergency Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave provisions mandated in the “Families First Caronavirus Relief Act” (FFCRA) which was signed into law on March 18, 2020 includes a new poster/disclosure requirement from the U.S. Department of Labor due  TODAY, April 1, 2020 . Download poster  HERE .

Businesses should either print and post the attached poster and/or distribute it via email to their employees who are teleworking. If anyone has questions about the poster, a guide can be found at:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-poster-questions .

Though employers that have fewer than 50 employees may apply to the Department of Labor to be exempt from offering the extended benefits, all employers should disseminate the FFCRA information as required by the new law.
AOA and GOA Dues Update from GOA President Dr. Mehrdad E. Saadat

On Friday, March 27, 2020, GOA President sent a letter to the GOA membership regarding how the GOA and AOA are working for our members during these times. Please read the following excerpt from the letter on the GOA and AOA's policy for dues:

"The GOA executive board realizes that these are difficult and unique times and have met regularly. In regards to payment of dues, AOA has waived two months of their dues. This will be immediately applied to your AOA dues balance. If you have already paid your AOA dues, this will be applied to your 2021 dues invoice.

The GOA always has and will take the cost of our dues very seriously. We have not raised dues over the past five years and have agreed not to do so again in the next year. We are happy to work with you in regards to your GOA membership, so please notify the GOA office if you are having difficulty in making your GOA portion of payment."

If you would like to read Dr. Saadat's letter in full, please click here: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/GOA-COVID-19-Resources-and-Dues-Update.html?soid=1103080519846&aid=NA-DaRHYqIA

Please check the  GOA COVID-19 Resource Center  daily as we continue to post updates pertinent to your practice.
From the AOA: COVID-19 pandemic prompts CMS to postpone MIPS deadline, grant exclusions

Doctors of optometry participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) will get a reprieve from some Quality Payment Program (QPP) deadlines and requirements to help facilitate the health care system's response to the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

The  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced  March 22 that the 2019 MIPS data submission deadline will be extended 30 days to April 30, 2020. Doctors who already submitted MIPS data or those submitting before April 30 will be scored and receive a MIPS payment adjustment based on submitted data. Consequently, doctors wishing to submit data and be scored can take advantage of  AOA resources and guidance on MIPS participation

Additionally, any MIPS eligible clinicians who have not submitted any data by April 30, 2020, will qualify for the automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy and will not be penalized (doctors will receive a neutral payment adjustment) for the 2021 MIPS payment year.

This latest decision to extend MIPS deadlines and requirements comes after the AOA sought an extension from CMS on March 16. The CMS notes it continues to evaluate options for providing relief around participation and data submission for 2020.

*The above information is prepared by the GOA staff for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Individuals should consult the IRS or a tax advisor to address questions related to their individual circumstances.