August 31, 2020
Sponsored by OMIC
Dear Colleagues,

Note that CMS has announced MIPS relief from 2020 MIPS due to COVID-19. Read more about it here. CMS will also be extending 2019 MIPS performance final score and targeted review process to October 5th. Read more about it here.

Please register for our next installment of MSEPS Presents: The Ophthalmology 2020 Webinar Series On September 9, 2020 6:30 PM. This CME program is titled Management of Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Improving Patient Outcomes. This activity is intended for ophthalmologists involved in the management of adults with nAMD and will help clinicians understand the latest nAMD advances and optimize patient outcomes. Register here!

Also, If you were not able to make it to the webinar we hosted on August 26, 2020 with Dextenza and BSM Consulting, here are the slides for the presentation: "Get the Lowdown on 2021 E&M Changes" We think you will find them useful and informative.

Please save the date for the 2020 virtual edition of the MSEPS Annual Business Meeting on October 8, 2020. MSEPS holds a business meeting every year to update our members on what we have been doing all year, and to provide information about national and local matters that affect ophthalmology today. We hope to "see" you at the meeting!

MSEPS will be offering a virtual version of AAO's Codequest to members, non-members, and administrators and staff. We know how important it is to train staff and to be on top of all the changes coming up in 2021. The program will be self paced and available to registrants to complete between September 19, 2020 and November 19, 2020. Registration and more information coming soon!

MSEPS wants to thank OMIC for their support of our newsletters. Please check out their link to show them our thanks.

Please check the AAO and MedChi websites for the most current COVID-19 information. For archived versions of these updates visit the MSEPS website.
Stay healthy!

Renee Bovelle, MD
MSEPS President
Submit Patients' Vision Results Electronically

The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) remains focused on the current COVID-19 public health crisis and protecting the health and the safety of customers and employees. You can help us continue to limit the number of customers who are required to visit branch offices in person and increase the convenience for your patients.

The Online Vision Certification Program allows authorized vision providers to submit their patients’ vision results directly to the MDOT MVA. Using this service eliminates having to complete the MDOT MVA’s paper vision forms and enables drivers to renew their licenses online if there vision exam was completed within the last 12 months. 

If you have not already enrolled, visit and click on “create user account.” If you are enrolled in the program already, please submit the test results for all of your patients each time you provide an exam, regardless of when their driver’s license may be expiring. 
From the AAO: Provider Relief Fund

As federal legislators wind down the August recess, negotiations for additional COVID-19 relief remain stalled. Last week, Senate Republicans floated a scaled-back version of their relief package, adding new funding for the U.S. Postal Service, but leaving out funding for some key physician priorities.
New Sept. 13 Deadline for Certain Providers to Apply for Relief Funds This week, the Department of Health and Human Services extended the deadline to Sept. 13 for certain eligible providers to apply for a Provider Relief Fund payment in the Phase 2 General Distribution. Eligible providers include:

  • Medicaid/CHIP Providers 
  • You can apply for a payment through the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Portal. This portal is only for physicians who have not received any Provider Relief Fund payment as part of the general distribution. See answers to questions about the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund.
  • Certain Medicare Providers 
  • HHS is allowing Medicare providers who did not receive full funding in the Phase 1 Medicare General Distribution application period to apply. Providers can receive financial relief equal to 2% of their annual patient revenues.
  • Providers Who Had a Change in Ownership 
  • Providers who experienced a change in ownership in 2020 may have missed out on Phase 1 payments as they were distributed to the 2019 owners. Prior owners are required to return the payments to HHS if they cannot provide proof of diagnoses, testing or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19 on or after Jan. 31, 2020. Providers who experienced change in ownership challenges may submit their revenue information along with documentation proving a change in ownership for consideration of payment.

Virtual Events
M. Ali Khan, MD
Retina Service, Wills Eye Hospital
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, PA
The Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons cordially invites you to attend a CME-certified live webinar entitled, Management of Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration (nAMD): Improving Patient Outcomes, held live online! This activity is intended for ophthalmologists involved in the management of adults with nAMD and will help clinicians understand the latest nAMD advances and optimize patient outcomes.
Date:             Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Time:            6:30 – 7:30 PM ET
Location:      Live Online!
For full accreditation information and to register, visit:

ACCREDITATION – This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Boston University School of Medicine and Rockpointe. Boston University School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
DESIGNATION STATEMENT – Boston University School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category I CreditTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

FEE AND RECEIVING CME CREDIT - There is no fee for this activity. To receive credit, participants must register, view the live CME activity in its entirety, and then complete the post-test, with a score of 66% or better, and evaluation. The estimated time for completion of this activity is 1 hour. Participants are allowed to take the post-test multiple times.
Disclosures will be made known to participants before the activity.
Jointly provided by Boston University School of Medicine and Rockpointe
Supported by an independent educational grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

MedChi Ethics Lecture: LESSONS LEARNED: Ethical Dilemmas Faced During the COVID-19 Pandemic
September 24, 2020 - Understand what are physicians’ ethical obligations to work in unsafe conditions.Describe physicians’ responsibility to report unsafe conditions in nursing homes.With respect to extremely sick individuals, describe when triage principles are ethical and when are they not. Determine which new resources will provide the needed support during a crisis such as COVID-19.  

Go here to register
Disclaimer: MSEPS does not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked websites or events, and we do not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer. 
Dear MedChi Members and Maryland Physicians:
Last week Governor Hogan held a press conference that focused on schools and local jurisdictions' plans to bring students back into the classroom.  He began the press conference with a review of current COVID-19 statistics, emphasizing that Maryland’s data was continuing to improve and that all of Maryland’s jurisdictions had positivity rates below 5%.  He also indicated that Maryland job growth was significant, with the unemployment rate decreasing to 7% amid this month seeing the lowest number of unemployment claims since the pandemic began. With the State’s economy steadily recovering and returning to normal, Governor Hogan asserted that it was time for the local school systems to find a pathway to get students back into the classroom. 
The State has provided $345 million in grant funding through the CARES Act for technology, expanded broad band access, and numerous innovative approaches to providing much-needed support and services to children and their families as they struggle to ensure that they are able to help their kids access necessary educational services virtually.   Despite these efforts, both MSDE and MDH agree that, due to the reduced health metrics attributable to COVID-19, all local jurisdictions are free to bring kids back to school and should pursue a pathway to accomplish that objective by the end of the first marking period. 
MSDE had previously requested all of the local jurisdictions provide their plans for operation for the balance of the year by August 17th.  Sixteen school districts submitted reopening plans that include plans for bringing kids back into the classroom, including special need kids.  Eight districts plans did not include any framework for bringing kids back into the classroom. The Governor said he did not believe that it was acceptable to not have plans for students to return, especially given the current COVID-19 health metrics. He is asking those districts that did not include plans for safe and responsible reopening to revisit their decisions based on the guidance and metrics that MSDE and MDH are releasing today.
Dr. Jinlene Chan, Deputy Secretary at MDH, presented the recommended guidance and metrics for schools to utilize in planning for bringing students back into the classroom. She said that MSDE and MDH, in developing their metrics and guidance for the reopening of schools, had relied upon CDC guidance as well as a comprehensive review of thresholds and metrics used by other states and other reputable sources.  The metrics and guidance are not prescriptive, and flexibility is given to schools to address the specific needs of schools, staff, and students. The metrics include a test positivity rate with a level of community spread adjusted for the population of the jurisdiction.  If the positivity rate is below 5% for a 7-day average adjusted for population size than a school can hold in-person instruction with the use of other COVID-19 mitigation measures. If the rate is higher than 5%, some form of hybrid is acceptable.  The guidance also includes recommendations for the use of standard COVID-19 precautions such as masks, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, and policies for staff and student to stay home if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. 
Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland School Superintendent, stated she is continuing to review local plans and how they are moving forward but believes the plans should ensure students are engaged 5 days a week, 6 hours a day with at least 3 ½ hours of direct instruction and engagement with a teacher.  While the state cannot require schools to bring students back to the classroom, MSDE and MDH both agree, as stated by the Governor, that local districts should work to bring children back to school buildings by the end of the first marking period and should not wait until January.  To reinforce the state’s strong belief that students should return to the classroom, the state will be providing $10 million in grant funding for schools able to bring students back by the end of the first marking period.
Dr. Salmon also recognized the increased need for child care services due to the closing of schools. She said it is a MSDE priority to facilitate licensure of new child care services in order to meet increased demand but she also said that child care services should not be a defacto replacement for returning to school classrooms. The Governor and Dr. Salmon will be visiting schools throughout the fall that have brought back students. 

We are your advocate and your resource, and we're here for anything you need. Please don't hesitate to reach out.
Thank you for all that you do as physicians, healers, and heroes.
Gene Ransom
MedChi CEO

Telemedicine During COVID-19:
Managing Medical Malpractice Risk

When an active physician-patient relationship has been established,1 telemedicine can help you meet your legal duty of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, management of patient expectations is critical in mitigating liability risk. It is also helpful to keep in mind the following tips.

Promote Yourself With MSEPS Social Media

@MSEPSMD is on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and we would love to showcase what ophthalmologists in Maryland are doing. Do you have an announcement? Want to promote a paper you have authored? Have a great picture of you caring for your patients? Send it to us and we will help boost the good work you are doing. Email your submissions to Also, be sure to follow us on all our platforms and join our facebook group.
Telehealth Resources

Backline from Dr. First is a Telehealth platform used by MedChi's CTO and can be used by any physician.

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