To boost its advocacy efforts on behalf of patients and the profession, the American Optometric Association (AOA) has launched its new public policy think tank: The AOA Health Policy Institute (HPI).
The HPI is charged with the formation of evidence-based research, analysis and solutions in support of public policy as it relates to eye and vision health and optometry's essential place in the overall health care delivery system.
"It has become critical for us to provide our leadership and staff with improved tools and expertise to carry out our mission," new AOA President Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., said during his inaugural address at Optometry’s Meeting last week in Washington, D.C.
The think tank will bring experts from inside and outside of the profession to analyze information and evidence and then use that material to guide policy development and advance optometry and patient eye health and vision care.
AOA's HPI will be under the direction of Steven A. Loomis, O.D., past AOA president. It will be staffed by Rodney Peele, J.D., AOA's associate general counsel for public policy, and AOA experts on eye and vision care, statistics and communication.
The institute will produce tools and information for the public, but is designed specifically to address the needs of policymakers. HPI has generated excitement among AOA's advocacy team, the volunteer structure, state affiliates, and members who have expertise in a variety of policy areas.
"The HPI will prove to be very helpful in advancing our patient-centered advocacy efforts utilizing evidence-based research and analysis on optimum patient care," Dr. Loomis said.
The HPI is already off and running, gathering information about access to eye care for veterans, an explanation of the law and regulations that prohibit discrimination by Medicare Advantage plans, and a summary of AOA's complaint to the Food and Drug Administration about certain online self-testing of vision.