To the editors:
You’ve recently been told that NewView is not a qualified organization. The truth is that NewView has worked with the Department of Rehabilitation Visual Services for more than eight years and continues to be an approved vendor by providing services in both low vision and blind rehabilitation.
To be a vendor, NewView must use licensed and/or certified staff that have the same credentials held by DRS employees. The Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians on a statewide level and the American Optometric Association on a national level have endorsed NewView. In addition, NewView has received the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Choice award, the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians State Apollo award and the American Academy of Optometric Physicians National Apollo award.
Most states partner with qualified nonprofit agencies such as NewView to provide services. This is not new or unusual, and our approach improves the service-delivery model. Many states, including Florida, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania and California already follow this model of diverting funds for older individuals who are blind (OIB) to qualified organizations that can best serve the older blind. As a template, many other states have been able to contract with a nonprofit and leverage their dollars (and grant dollars) with federal and state dollars to provide higher-quality care and services to this segment of the population in a public/private partnership, and that serves more of those citizens currently due to budget constraints.
NewView receives less than 30 cents on the dollar from medical reimbursement to provide comprehensive services. It is the private citizens of Oklahoma who generously support our efforts, in turn allowing us to serve more people. Oklahomans who need low-vision evaluations must seek help from local nonprofits such as NewView that provide assessments and visual-rehabilitation services. However, these nonprofits currently do not receive any of the federal OIB money to help offset the costs. Between federal funds and the private donations received, local nonprofits such as NewView will be able to leverage a relatively small amount of money and use it to provide services to many older blind individuals in Oklahoma.
NewView Oklahoma has been providing services to blind and visually impaired Oklahomans since 1949, providing comprehensive vision-rehabilitation services that meet the current standard of care recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. NewView is also the largest employer of blind and visually impaired in the state of Oklahoma.
Comprehensive vision rehabilitation is the process of:
- identifying the remaining usable vision a person has and,
- maximizing that vision using devices and services including, but not limited to, travel instruction, assistive technology and skills necessary for one to remain safe and independent in their homes.
In 2016, NewView assisted 677 people over the age of 55 who have progressive eye diseases, with 237 of those being legally blind.
Please visit NewViewOklahoma.org to find out more how we have empowered Oklahomans with vision loss to achieve their maximum potential since 1949.
President & CEO, NewView Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, OK
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