Five Questions with Phernell Walker, International Vision Expo Visionary

IMG_3522Earlier this year, Phernell Walker II, ABOM, Senior Product Manager for Eyefinity EHR, was selected by The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions as the International Vision Expo Visionary.

Like past Visionaries, Phernell, a renowned lecturer and peer-recognized master optician, has dedicated himself to advancing the field of ophthalmic optics. He is a Master in Ophthalmic Lenses, has a Bachelor of Science in Business, and holds an Associate Degree in Optics. Phernell’s career is focused on teaching and training opticians, ophthalmic technicians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists in the art of opticianry and ophthalmic care.

We caught up with Phernell to find out how he knew he wanted to be an optician at an early age, what the future holds for Eyefinity EHR, and to ask him a few questions.

What does being a Visionary mean to you?

I am honored to be a Visionary. It is a big responsibility. It means that I need to look into the future and anticipate the needs of our clients, patients and our profession in general.

What are you looking forward to at VEE?

I am excited to be in New York City. The city has so much to offer. I am planning to see the Book of Mormon and go to the Earth, Wind and Fire concert. But most importantly, I get to teach prism and ophthalmic optics to hundreds of people at the show.

Tell us about your book Pure Optics.

It is a textbook designed to help those wanting to become an optician understand ophthalmic optics. It goes over everything from geometric optics, lens design, prism and much more. I am proud that the book has been used by thousands of eye care professionals around the country.

You are a Master Optician. What does that entail?

There are fewer than 300 Master Opticians in the country. To become one, I had to take a series of exams, become ABO certified, and complete a thesis paper. It is about a six year process to complete the entire program.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I live in Portland, Oregon. In my free time, I sail and visit wineries around the city. I also like to try new restaurants.

 

Meaningful Use Registry Deadline: February 29

blog_stopwatchAn important meaningful use deadline is approaching. February 29 is the last day to register with a specialized registry and fulfill the public health objective for meaningful use in 2016. Eyefinity recommends the following registries:

You must register with a specialized registry by February 29 to demonstrate “active engagement” with a specialized registry in 2016. Your registration fulfills your specialized registry obligation for the year. Depending upon the scope of your practice, you may be required to register with a second registry.

Eyefinity is actively working with AOA to develop an integration between AOA MORE and ExamWRITER and Eyefinity EHR. Through this integration, you’ll be able to meet the public health objective, submit your clinical quality data, and electronically report your PQRS data. This integration will be available later this year. Continue reading

CMS Extends the Deadline for Reporting 2015 Meaningful Use

Last week, CMS pushed the deadline for attesting to meaningful use (MU) from February 29 to Friday, March 11. This extension applies only to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for the 2015 reporting period. Eligible providers who are participating in their state’s Medicaid EHR incentive program should check with their state to determine their attestation deadline.

This 12-day extension will come as welcome relief to many providers who haven’t yet attested to their 2015 meaningful use performance. A successful MU attestation is required to avoid a 3% negative Medicare payment adjustment in 2017.

MU Attestation Resources

To help you complete your MU attestation by March 11, we’ve compiled these helpful resources:

Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)

This MU extension does not affect the February 26 deadline for Medicare Part B claims-based PQRS reporting.

Set Your Game Plan with the OfficeMate Business Insights Dashboard, powered by The EDGE

GPN The EDGEBy Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director, GPN

Just as a football coach needs to prepare for the big game, an office needs a game plan for success. Imagine if the coach never looks at any stats other than his win-loss record. Do you think the team has a chance of making it to the big game? Coaches use advanced statistics to understand the actual effect of each player on their team. As a business owner or office manager, you too must understand more than whether you have a win. A business-savvy professional understands the reason why there is or isn’t money in the bank.

OfficeMate 12.0 users have access to a business insights dashboard, powered by The EDGE®. This exclusive Eyefinity dashboard provides a quick glance of specific crucial areas (KPIs) of the business. To access the business insights, simply click the Dashboard icon on the toolbar within OfficeMate. You can also view the information in the Reports window in OfficeMate.

The full version of The EDGE is interactive, allowing for a deeper dive into the analytics, including information filtering and the ability to quickly get to the details of each transaction. To learn more about The EDGE, click the Explore button in the upper-right-corner of the OfficeMate business insights dashboard, or contact Gateway Professional Network.

Meaningful Use Hardship Exception Requirements Announced

CMS has released the requirements for filing hardship exception applications for the 2015 reporting year. The good news is that CMS has reduced the amount of detailed information needed to complete the application. Additionally, CMS is allowing groups of providers to file a single hardship exception application. Hardship exception applications are due by March 15.

A hardship exception could exempt you from Medicare payment penalties in 2017 if you failed to achieve meaningful use in 2015 and you met one of the following circumstances:

  • Insufficient internet connectivity
  • Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances (a natural disaster, practice closure, bankruptcy, failure of your certified EHR)
  • Lack of certified EHR availability
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction or follow up

There’s no hardship exemption for not knowing about the Modified Stage 2 meaningful use changes that were published in October.

While this isn’t the blanket hardship exception that many had hoped, the application requires less information than in years past, which will make the application less burdensome. Additionally, the Modified Stage 2 requirements lowered the bar on many of the more onerous measures, which should make it easier for eligible providers (EPs) to attest to meaningful use rather than applying for a hardship exception.

If you’re able to successfully attest to meaningful use for 2015, you do not need to file a hardship exception. New EPs who began submitting Medicare claims in 2015, hospital-based EPs, and EPs in five specialties unrelated to eyecare automatically receive an exemption and don’t have to file an application.

For more information, refer to the following resources:

Patient Portals: How to Train Your Patients to Use Them

Robert BassAn EHR patient portal offers patients a secure way to view records, schedule appointments, and interact with your office. Along with elevating patient care, EHR patient portals enables you meet meaningful use requirements.

Check out how Robert Bass, OD, increased patient portal usage with his patients. Read the entire article: Patient Portals: How to Train Your Patients to Use Them

Copied with permission from Review of Optometric Business.

Eyefinity’s Phernell Walker Selected as International Vision Expo Visionary

IMG_3522Congratulations to Phernell Walker II, ABOM, Senior Product Manager for Eyefinity EHR, for being selected by The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions as the International Vision Expo Visionary!

Like past Visionaries, Phernell, a renowned lecturer and peer-recognized master optician, has dedicated himself to advancing the field of ophthalmic optics. He is a Master in Ophthalmic Lenses, has a Bachelor of Science in Business, and holds an Associate Degree in Optics. For his bestselling textbook, Pure Optics, Phernell also received the prestigious Beverly Meyers Achievement Award in Optics.

In response to this honor, Phernell states, “I am honored to be selected as the International Vision Expo Visionary. It’s thrilling to see how enabling technology allows us to realize our dreams to push the limits of eye care technology and education.”

Phernell envisions an impressive future for eye care technology. “There are endless possibilities for Electronic Health Records (EHR), telemedicine, the synergy of wavefront and ophthalmic optics, and more. These emerging technologies will touch every part of our lives and affect the way we practice. This is a great time to be an eye care professional!” says Phernell.

Congratulations again to Phernell for receiving such a prestigious honor!

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