Spring 2020

Chris DeRose  •  MOA President 2019-2020

Winter is here but Spring is coming soon (according to the Groundhog). Year 2020 has kicked off and we’re excited for it to be the Year of the Eye Exam! #2020EyeExam

In January, we wrapped up this year’s successful Legislative Conference. Another round of wintry roads threatened to damper our expectations once again, but everything went smoothly. I thought it was the most effective Legislative Conference events in recent memory!

On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs added to the entertainment as we mixed committee meetings with a NFL watch party. The result was a little more enthusiasm and a lot more shouting than we usually witness in our committees. That may have had something to do with the Chief’s comeback of historical proportions as they rallied back from a 24-0 deficit to beat the Houston Texans.

On Sunday, we had three fantastic speakers. Dr. Raymond Brill gave a comprehensive lecture on dry eye, treatment, technology, and implementation into your practice. Representative Crystal Quade of Springfield was a very engaging speaker. She spoke about her experiences in the House and her views on Missouri healthcare. Thank you to Jay Hahn and keyperson Dr. Kory Sculawll for inviting her. And AOA Advocate Dana Reason also gave a great talk from a national viewpoint on optometry’s goals and challenges. She also reviewed the basics of forming a solid keyperson relationship with your legislator.

Along those lines, the year 2020 continues to be a year of “Readiness” for our association. We are using our time and resources to strengthen our grassroots fundamentals to improve our ability to achieve future legislative goals and to protect against threats to our scope of practice. Dr. Tom Cullinane and Jay Hahn published a keyperson training guide to remind our seasoned doctors and inform our newer docs on the necessary steps and imminent achievability of forming reliable bonds with state leadership positions. Dr. LeeAnn Barrett updated and distributed the MOA Political Action Handbook. This brochure is a nuts-to-bolts treasure trove of the general structure of the Missouri House and Senate and optometrists’ role in protecting our legislated profession.

Legislatively, we have three current bills of concern to Optometry. First, we have filed a bill on Optometric Jurisprudence. This bill would require all Missouri optometrists to take two hours of continuing education each renewal period on Jurisprudence. These two hours of CE will be developed by the MOA and will serve to unify our focus on our initiatives. If every optometrist in Missouri, MOA member or non-MOA member, is well-informed on our intentions, challenges and legislative efforts, it will make us a stronger profession. We know that many members may occasionally ask themselves “What is the MOA doing for me and my practice?”. This educational initiative will ensure that all OD’s know what the MOA is doing to protect their profession, safeguard their practice, and position us for future expansions. A well-informed profession is a more cohesive and effective profession.

Secondly, the Department of Revenue is again trying to pass legislation to eliminate the vision screening requirement from driver’s license renewals. The MOA has already defeated this misguided legislation once before and we are confident we will do so again this year.

Thirdly, organized medicine has put forth a bill that attempts to define “surgery”. The impetus behind this bill is a turf battle between MD’s vs nurse anesthetists and physician assistants. However, if passed, this bill would affect our current scope of practice for procedures such as foreign body removal as well as limit our ability to expand our scope in the future. The MOA leadership and its keyperson system is well-positioned to confront this bill.

The MOA continues to expand its implementation of the MOA Dental/Vision/Hearing insurance plan. And we have added the exciting new twist of group medical insurance for doctors and their staff. Dr. Wes Kemp (who now moonlights as a certified insurance agent) has been accompanying me on all my presidential society visits to give updates and details of these two incredible opportunities. He is able to give your practice a detailed assessment of the potential savings by joining the MOA group medical plan. If you have not done so already, contact the MOA office to set up a time to get your quote. This can be done with minimal time investment on your part.

I appreciate being given the opportunity to serve as your association’s president this year. I feel good about where the MOA is and where the MOA is headed. Again, I would stress that the better informed the membership is as a whole, the better we can achieve our goals. So don’t hesitate to contact me. I would enjoy the opportunity to discuss our great profession!

Chris DeRose, OD
MOA President 2019-2020
[email protected]
(573) 874-2030

Mid-Year 2019


Mindy Blackford
MOA President

I can’t believe fall is here. The past year has gone by so quickly.  I have enjoyed my time as your MOA president.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and this wonderful organization.  I have been on the MOA Board for twelve years.  That sounds like a long time but looking back the time has flown.

I have enjoyed getting to travel around the state and meet so many of you.  Thank you for your hospitality.  Missouri truly is a diverse and beautiful state.  But regardless of if we are in Kirksville or Joplin we are all united and want what is best for the patients in Missouri.

As some of you know, I changed jobs in February.  Nothing like adding a little more stress to an already busy year!  I want to thank my colleagues for their support and flexibility during my year as President.  They made my transition to a new practice almost seamless and were very understanding when I needed to be gone for MOA events.  Thank you all so much.

I am very proud of the work the MOA Board has done over the last year.  These individuals give up precious time with their families and practices to serve on the Board.  They truly act in the best interest of the members they serve, and they are all passionate about the MOA.  Thank you all for the work you’ve done this year, I have enjoyed serving with you.

I also thank the MOA committees; they do important work, but they don’t always get the recognition they deserve.  Their work helps direct the actions of the Board, and I appreciate each of the committee chairs for agreeing to serve over the last year and each of the members for their service to the profession.  If you want to get involved in the MOA but are not sure how, serving on a committee is a great way to get started.  I strongly encourage you all to consider serving on a committee as a way to give back to our profession.

This past year was not productive for the MOA in a legislative sense.  Our ever-changing political climate makes being a legislated profession a little more difficult at times.  I think that is something not all optometry students and new grads know.

I have worked with many pre-optometry students over the last 13 years, and one thing I stress to them is the importance of being involved in your state organization. Because we are a legislated profession, your state organization is the key to protecting the profession.  I encourage you all to answer the call if asked to be a keyperson.  Do not be afraid of the process.  We have a phenomenal staff that is always willing to help should you need assistance.

,While I’m on the topic of staff, I want to thank Sue and LeeAnn.  These two do an awesome job keeping the MOA running smoothly.  Our leadership changes yearly but these two are the constants that keep us all in line.  Thank you both for all you do.  I truly appreciate all your hard work.

The MOA Dental, Vision and Hearing plan is now being sold!  We started talking about this concept before my youngest child was born and it has been almost as intense a process as raising a child.  It has been a wild ride to get to this point, and thank you to all the individuals who have worked to make this plan a reality.  This plan will be a huge benefit for our patients and our members.

As my year comes to an end, I want to thank my family for supporting me over the last year.  I could not have done this without their help.  Thank you to my parents and in-laws for your help making sure the kids were taken care of.  My kids are used to mom being gone for a meeting because they were both born while I was on the board, so this is their normal.  I hope they realize it is possible to have a family and love them with all your being and also be an individual who wants to give back and make a difference in the world.  It is possible to balance the two.  Thank you to my husband, Shawn, whom many of you have never met because he is the one who picks up the slack at home when I need to be at a MOA event.  When I questioned my ability to take care of my family and serve the MOA, he is the one who told me to follow my heart and said he would make sure everything was taken care of at home.  Thank you.  I love you all.

I have enjoyed my years serving the MOA as a Board member and I hope to be able to serve the MOA in the future in whatever capacity is needed.  I can remember being a student at NSU and hoping I could someday serve my profession as a state leader.  Thank you all for the opportunity of a lifetime.  I am honored to have been your 2018-2019 MOA President.

I am excited about the future of optometry and the MOA.  We have a great group of leaders who will ensure that optometry in Missouri continues to be a strong and vibrant profession.  I wish you all the best as we finish out 2019 and look forward to 2020.

Mindy Blackford, OD



Mindy Blackford
MOA President

First of all, I want to thank you all for the opportunity and honor of serving as MOA president. From before my first day of optometry school, I was taught by my mentors how important it is to be involved in your state association. As a student I saw firsthand how important grass roots keypersons systems can be and will work on making our system better over the next year.

I may be approaching this position a bit differently than most of my predecessors. I am a female and an employed optometrist. When I interviewed for board secretary, one of the questions they asked me was “what do you hope to accomplish as an executive officer.” My response was to do my part to make the profession of optometry better in the state of Missouri and to serve as an example to other females or employed doctors who might be afraid to take the leap and become involved in the MOA. We have had other female presidents, but it has been awhile, and I know many employed doctors who think they are not a good fit for the MOA because they are not practice owners. These are both reservations I had in my early days on the board, but I have learned that in both cases I was wrong. We all have different situations and those perspectives are important to best represent our members.

As MOA members, we have so many things to be thankful for this year. After many years of work on the part of some of our very dedicated members, our MOA Vision Plan is ready to roll out. I am proud to have been a part of this project. I sincerely thank all those who put in the long hours to make this insurance plan happen.

The Legislative Conference was January 13-14 in Jefferson City. Committee meetings as well as the Legislative Reception were at the Millbottom again this year. Thank you to everyone who made time to attend. Being a committee member is a great way to get involved in the MOA. In addition to committee meetings and CE, received information on implementing the MOA Vision Plan. MOA is also introducing our patient protection bill again this year. We have a lot of new faces in the legislature and we need keypersons. Please contact your trustee or the central office if you have a personal relationship with any of our Senators or Representatives.

This year we are changing up the Leadership Retreat. Optometry’s Meeting is in St. Louis June 20-23. In order to increase efficiency for our volunteers we will be having our board and committee meetings on Sunday June 23 in St. Louis. I urge you all to attend both events.

I feel like my personal motto for this year is “change is a good thing,” coincidentally there are some changes coming for the MOA as well as we implement the new society structure. I know this is a big change for the MOA, but it is necessary for the continued health and growth of the association. This new structure will help us to ensure we have the most qualified and dedicated trustees serving you on the MOA board.

My presidential term is off to a great start, I have visited the St. Louis and Kansas City Optometric Societies. I enjoy getting to meet members and get a taste of how each society functions. I am so excited about the next year for the MOA, I hope it will be one of growth and success. I promise to do my best to serve the patients and optometrists in the state of Missouri. Again, I thank you for this opportunity. If you have any questions, please reach out to me.

Mindy Blackford, OD

Fall 2018


Tom Cullinane
MOA President

Summer is ended and we are getting ready for our Annual MOA Convention in Branson this year. It will be at the Hilton on the Landing in downtown Branson – October 11-14.

We had a great Leadership retreat at Tan-Tar-A this June. The former longtime executive director of the Illinois Optometric Association, Mike Horstman talked to the leadership about how the Illinois board of directors is set up with officers and trustees. This was very helpful for the MOA to help us come up with new society boundaries and trustee structure moving forward in 2019. We will be voting on an Articles of Agreement change at this year’s convention business meeting pertaining to new society boundaries and trustee allocation.

We also had a great speaker talking to us about a very difficult topic. Anne Chambers from the Missouri Bar Association discussed suicide and addiction issues and how we as an association can help our Members with these challenging issues. If you need more information about this, please contact our Executive director Dr. Lee Ann Barrett .

The AOA Optometry’s Meeting was held in Denver in late June. Missouri had a good showing of OD’s attending. Our proposal to change the dues structure from a five year escalating scale to a ten year one for graduating OD’s failed. Many states thought it would cost them too much money and felt it was unnecessary for them. We did have a few states that sided with us and I will continue to work with them to try to get a pilot program with five to ten states. Optometry’s meeting will be held in St. Louis next year. The MOA will be having our annual leadership retreat during this meeting. Please mark you calendars now for June 18-23. We will be announcing our leadership retreat schedule soon.
The “MOA” vision insurance plan is set to begin selling in October of 2018. This started back when the state employees were moved from VSP to NVA in 2014. Provider manuals should be out in the next few months. We are still working on getting our members to sign up as participating providers. It is imperative that we have a solid network in place so that we can sell this across the state. If you have not yet signed up, simply contact the MOA office and they will assist you. Once again thanks to Jason Lake, Doug Herriott, Kory Scullawl and Lee Ann Barrett who have worked countless hours on this ongoing project.
Disruptive technologies like Opternative and now 1-800 contacts trying to DE-regulate contact lenses are a topic we have been working on with our state legislators. We will once again file a bill with Senator Jeanie Riddle from district 10 in central Missouri as its sponsor. It’s called “The Patient Safety Act”.

We must get this important change passed to protect the citizens of Missouri from these companies that are only worried about their bottom line and not the health and well-being of patient’s eyes. Please be ready to help urge our legislators to support it when you are called upon by our central office. The 2019 Legislative Conference will be Sunday and Monday January 13th and 14th. Mark you calendars now and attend this important event.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to serve as your MOA President, and I am excited at the direction the MOA is heading.

If you need to contact me, please do not hesitate. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your president.

Spring 2018


Tom Cullinane
MOA President

Spring has sprung, and a lot has happened over the last three months.  I have visited SLOS, COS, KCOS, GOOS and NEOS.  I will finish up my tour of Missouri in Joplin and Poplar Bluff.

We had a great Legislative conference in January.  Dr. Chris Wroten from Louisiana was our speaker.   He did an excellent job speaking on emerging technologies and how Louisiana was able to pass an exclusive law in their state.  Most of our events were held at a new venue for us, the Millbottom.  The Millbottom is a block north of the Capitol and was well received by our members and legislative friends.  Our past president Dr. Lake showed off his true talents during our legislative reception as he was our bartender!!!

The AOA had their semi-annual presidents’ council meeting in Clearwater Florida in January.  Drs. Lee Ann Barrett, Mindy Blackford and I attended for Missouri.  At that meeting I proposed a resolution changing the AOA due’s structure.  This resolution replaces the current five year escalating structure for new graduates to a ten-year structure.  In Missouri we have struggled to retain our new members from years 3-5 out of school and hopefully the proposed resolution will help with retention.  We had a lot of valuable feedback from other states on our resolution and are encouraged it will pass in June in Denver at Optometry’s meeting.  If it passes, then it will be voted on in June of 2019 in St. Louis at optometry’s meeting as a permanent change.

Disruptive technologies like Opternative and now 1-800 contacts trying to DE-regulate contact lenses is a topic we have been working on with our state legislators to shore up our current state statute.  The bill has been filed in the Senate.  The bill sponsor is Senator Jeanie Riddle from district 10 in central Missouri.  It is SB1100, The Patient Safety Act.  We must get this important change in our statue passed to protect the citizens of Missouri from these companies that are only worried about their bottom line and not the health and well-being of the patient’s eyes.  Please be ready to help urge our legislators to support it when you are called upon by our central office.  It is currently in Committee and we will keep everyone updated when phone calls are needed to be made.

Please mark your calendars for our two remaining 2018 events:

  • We have our annual Leadership retreat this year on June 1-2 at the Lake of the Ozark’s.  It will be held at “Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Resort”, formally Tan-Tar-A resort.
  • In October we will be holding our Annual MOA Convention in Branson.  It has traditionally been at the Chateau on the Lake, but this year it will be at the Hilton at the Branson Convention Center, October 11th-14th.

I look forward to the rest of my presidency and excited in the direction the MOA is heading.

If you need to contact me, please do not hesitate.  Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president 2017-2018.

Tom Cullinane OD 
office – 314-579-0909
mobile – 314-402-6600
[email protected]