June, 2015
Children's Vision Massachusetts is a coalition representing optometry, ophthalmology, nursing, pediatrics, public health and families. Its mission is to create a systematic approach to children's vision care to assure that all children develop and retain their best possible vision.

Massachusetts Essential Health Benefit Update  

 

 Thanks to all who provided testimony, oral and written, in support of including coverage for children's eyeglasses in the MA Essential Health benefit. Children's Vision Massachusetts Coalition members Eva Stahl, Community Catalyst; Merieka Torrico, ABCD Boston Head Start; Erin DiSanto, Parent; Sarah Wassnig, OD, Prevent Blindness Volunteer; Joan Lowbridge-Sisley, Partners for a Healthier Community; and Gary Chu, OD, New England College of Optometry provided remarks at the MA Division of Insurance public hearing on May 15, 2015 and 28 letters of support were submitted to the Commissioner. The extension requested by the advocates was granted and the Division of Insurance will announce a decision regarding the recommendation to supplement the existing plan on July 1, 2015.  

Legislative Update
  

The Coalition supported bill H1886 an Act requiring the Department of Public Health to issue a report on vision screening for children was heard before the Public Health Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature on May 5, 2015. The bill was filed by Rep. Barber of Somerville and directs the Department of Public Health to compile data and issue a report, by school, by community, on numbers of children entering school with documentation of a passed vision screening or completed eye examination. Coalition members Jonathan Modest, Boston Children's Hospital; Erin DiSanto, Parent; and Kathy Majzoub, Prevent Blindness provided oral testimony at the hearing and 18 letters of support were presented to the Committee members. The bill remains in Committee.

 

On June 3, 2015, Children's Vision MA provided support for H429 an Act relative to ensuring the well being of all children in the Commonwealth at a hearing of the Education Committee. Filed by Rep. Livingstone, the bill notes that the ability of children to thrive is predicated on a number of interconnected factors that contribute to child well-being including nutrition, housing, and health care. The report on health conditions, completed screenings, and completed referrals, by school and community, included in Section 8 of the bill, will provide data necessary to inform recommendations and target action on many health issues including vision health. Recognizing the critically important role of school nurses in providing periodic school based vision assessments to students, referring children in need of eye exams, monitoring vision treatment plans, and acting as case managers for a student's vision care when necessary, the coalition provided written testimony in support of H430 an Act authorizing the establishment of a commission to evaluate student health which calls for an investigation by a special commission (including members of the General Court) to evaluate student health in schools.

 

 

Awards

Gayathri Srinivasan, OD; New England College of Optometry; Children's Vision Massachusetts 

 

Prevent Blindness has announced that Gayathri Srinivasan, OD, MS, FAAO, and Assistant Professor, at the New England College of Optometry is the recipient of its 2015 Joanne Angle Investigator Award. The award has been presented for the study, "Approaches for Identifying Children, Birth to Three Years of Age, at Risk of Having Vision Problems - Novel Visual Development Assessment Tool; Behavioral Screening; Photoscreening - A Pilot Study." The goal of the project is to (1) study the validity of using a novel visual development questionnaire in early education settings to identify children from birth to three years of age at risk for having vision problems and requiring comprehensive eye exams and (2) evaluate the efficacy of photoscreening and behavioral vision screening when performed by non-eye care personnel in children from birth to three years of age in an early education setting compared to the gold standard of comprehensive eye exams.

  

Blair Wong, Optician, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology; Children's Vision Massachusetts

 

Blair C. Wong, Assistant Professor, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology and Assistant Professor of Optics at the New England College of Optometry was honored as the Blind Employee of the Year Award at the 2015 Carroll Awards.

  

 

 

  

Graduations and Matriculations
 

Quita Christison, Prevent Blindness; Katie Ulrich, Prevent Blindness Volunteer; graduates with the degree of Master's in Public Health from Boston University

Prevent Blindness Volunteer Erika Temelkoff, New England College of Optometry Class of 2019!


Children's Vision Massachusetts
kmajzoub@preventblindness.org

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