September 2022

SNAPP Into the Future

From the SNAPP Board

The annual SNAPP National Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, proved to be a high-energy and productive event. Professional crowd igniter Cameron Hughes jump-started things by prodding SNAPP board member Lisa Hamilton OD, to “crank up the music” and tossed t-shirts to the audience during the opening ceremony. Members said they enjoyed the rush Cameron provided.

After a very successful vendor exhibit event on night 1, night 2 included a journey to downtown Las Vegas to visit the world-famous Mob Museum. Members enjoyed a fabulous buffet and an open bar, which featured everything from fine wine to 100%-proof moonshine distilled right at the museum. Evening 3 featured the raunchy but hilarious adults-only showing of Absinthe just across the street at the Caesars Palace resort. And, as always, attendees had the opportunity to mix and mingle with colleagues and vendors to discuss all the pressing issues of the day.

And talk about education… Clinical and practice management topics kept doctors, Licensed Operators and managers engaged and motivated. Many attendees mentioned this meeting was particularly chock full of great tips and ideas to take home.

The SNAPP Board always wants attendees to know it’s the sponsors that support our programming throughout the year that make these meetings possible and to consider them when evaluating options for products and services. See our sponsors here.

For the next few weeks, the SNAPP Board will reflect on and work through your feedback and comments as we begin to plan for 2023. Just as we do in our Pearle Vision EyeCare Centers, we set our goal to improve offerings continuously and bring value to our members. As always, we’d love to hear about what you enjoyed about the meeting—or even why you chose not to come and how we might be able to make this program the very best it can be!

SNAPP National Meeting

Meeting Feedback

Expanding Her Network and Ideas

SNAPP members from across the country—first timers and many timers—shared their experiences, noting how much they enjoyed the opportunity to network and collaborate.

After having been to her first SNAPP National Meeting in 2021, Alisha Dosani, the practice manager at Pearle Vision in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, Georgia, was determined to return for the 2022 meeting. She’s been with the practice since right after COVID-19 began, so her opportunities to meet colleagues in person had been limited. She comes from an eye care-focused family, so while she did have a network in the field, it was only made wider by SNAPP.

“I love seeing familiar faces and meeting new people,” Dosani says. “Every SNAPP meeting is different.” She also enjoys collaborating with colleagues in order to “collect tips on how to ‘level up’” and improve the overall patient experience. In fact, she plans on integrating some things into the practice that she learned about myopia management through SNAPP.

“It’s obvious how much effort goes into preparing for such an amazing event every year,” Dosani says. “The speakers are always phenomenal, and all of the content is educational. Thank you so much for creating a space like this!”

Compliance Corner

Three Ways to Prevent Unintended HIPAA Violations

From the experts at Practice Compliance Solutions

When health care privacy breaches occur, they are not always malicious. In fact, a breach is often because of carelessness or a lack of understanding of HIPAA rules. To prevent HIPAA violations, health care organizations should ensure employees receive full training—sometimes in addition to getting recertified annually—and that they understand the allowable uses and disclosures of private health information (PHI).

Without proper training, it’s easy for employees to find themselves in an inappropriate conversation or compliance gray area because they don’t know better. Here are three steps to help steer clear of potential penalties.

1. Avoid gossiping and inadvertently sharing patient information. Eye care practice employees with access to a patient’s PHI must be careful about the information they share with others. If employees need to discuss a specific patient’s diagnosis and treatment plans, medications or other PHI, it’s critical those conversations occur in private. Carelessly discussing patient information can violate a patient’s privacy and result in financial consequences for your practice.

2. Don’t leave PHI visible on a computer screen. If you’re using a computer to store or access patient records, make sure to lock it or log off before walking away. Leaving your computer unattended for anyone to access PHI (on purpose or not) is a serious violation. This is true for in-person meetings and video conferences. You can also position computer screens so people passing by can’t read private information or set up sleep timers so that the screen turns off when not in use for a few minutes and requires a password to turn back on.

3. Use encrypted communications when sending sensitive information. If you’re transmitting sensitive personal data over the internet, it’s highly recommended you use an encrypted communication channel. Encrypting data is an added protection if a device containing PHI is lost or stolen. It ensures that the data can only be read by the person who is authorized to have access to it. If you choose not to encrypt data, the HIPAA Security Rule states you must implement an equivalent solution to meet the regulatory requirement.

Thorough training and retraining is the only way to be safe; sometimes, certification isn’t enough. PCS can help ensure that your staff is aware of what not to do and provides access to its extensive library of resources available at all times.

HR Corner from AmCheck

The Best Practices for Disciplining Employees

From the HR Pros at AmCheck

Discipline is an act on the part of the employer to address and correct inappropriate behavior or a policy violation by an employee. Discipline functions both as an incentive for employees to refrain from bad behavior in the first place and as a corrective if bad behavior occurs. Common forms of discipline include oral warnings, written warnings and termination.

Here are a few recommended practices.

• Discipline should reflect the severity of the behavior. Egregious sexual harassment might merit immediate termination, while forgetting to clock in one time almost certainly wouldn’t.

• Discipline should be applied consistently. For instance, if you jump straight to a final warning when a certain employee is an hour late to work, but let another employee come in late regularly without so much as an oral warning, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. Consider how you addressed certain behaviors in the past and the precedent you want to set for the future.

• In situations where minor policy violations are an ongoing issue, a progressive approach is often best. For a first offense, you might start with an oral warning, but then move to a written warning, final warning and, finally, termination if the issue persists.

• At each step, make your expectations clear and notify the employee of the consequences should they fail to improve. For example, the employee may be one step closer to termination. Document what actions you took.

• Warnings should stick to the facts, noting what infraction was observed, when it occurred and what policy or policies were violated. Opinions about the infraction should be left out, as these are easily disputed. For example, “Yesterday, you arrived 20 minutes late in violation of our attendance policy” simply states the facts, whereas “You’re always tardy and can’t be trusted to arrive on time” is likely to get pushback.

News of Interest

Fewer Than 2 Percent of Eligible People Have Gotten COVID‑19 Booster

Since the new bivalent COVID-19 boosters have been available, only about 5 million people have opted for one. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated on Sept. 22, 2022, that 4.4 million people have had the new booster, but that does not include data from Idaho or Texas.

The CDC recommends that everyone over age 12 receive an updated booster, as long as at least two months have passed since their last COVID‑19 shot or they have recovered from symptoms of a recent coronavirus infection. The CDC says people who became ill can consider delaying their boosters until three months after their symptoms started or since they first tested positive.

People can mix and match vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but Pfizer’s updated booster is available to people ages 12 and up while Moderna’s is limited to ages 18 and up. Read more here.

Nutrition and Myopia Webinar

The Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society will host a webinar, Nutritional Support for Myopia Control: A Holistic Approach, on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 8 pm. Eastern time.

Meeting organizers said, “Eye care practitioners tend to focus solely on the ocular structure but might forget that the eyes are a direct connection to the brain and central nervous system. Changes in the structure and function of the eye can be attributed to nutritional as well as lifestyle factors. This course will review some nutrition basics and review the science of how these nutrients can affect the onset and progression of myopia.” The webinar will be led by Jeffrey R. Anshel, OD, FAAO, and is currently pending COPE approval. It is supported by an unrestricted education grant from Unibar Corporation. For more information, including how to register, click here.

Identifying Autoregulatory Deficits in Development of Diabetic Retinopathy

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, have uncovered a key process that contributes to vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes.

The findings could lead to new treatments that can be used before any irreversible vision loss has occurred. Researchers were able to pinpoint the cause of early changes to the retina, finding that the loss of blood flow autoregulation during diabetes is caused by the disruption of a protein called TRPV2. Read the full study here.

Concussions Associated With 25 Percent Higher Likelihood of Poor Academic Performance, Study Suggests

Researchers at the University of Washington found that high school students who suffered a concussion in the previous 12 months were 25 percent likelier to be in poor academic standing compared to their peers who did not experience concussions.

Researchers acknowledged the study’s limitations, including its lack of data on “the change in academic standing before and after the reported concussions.” The study was published in the journal Injury Prevention.

Getty Images photo credits—diabetic retinopathy: PeopleImages; concussions: Westend61; and network: melitas

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