Diplomate Spotlight – Emilio Balius, OD
Emilio Balius, OD was among the first group of optometrists to take and pass the board certification exam in 2011. Now beginning his eighth year in the maintenance of certification (MOC) program, Dr. Balius is an ardent supporter of board certification and has found both personal and professional value in being a Diplomate.
“I became board certified because I wanted to hold myself to a higher standard in our profession and be a leader in promoting something that I believe is important to the future of optometry,” said Dr. Balius. “While residency training and clinical experience are vital in creating a sharp clinician, I believe that board certification will be essential as optometry moves towards a model of expanding their scope of practice to work in a more medical type setting along with our MD counterparts.”
A graduate of the University of Houston Optometry School, Dr. Balius completed an ocular disease residency at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, after which he spent a year at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. He has been in his current practice, Aran Eye Associates, since 1993. Through various mergers and acquisitions, Dr. Balius became a partner in Aran Eye Associates, which is a tertiary care referral center with no optical or contact lens dispensing at any of their 10 locations. The practice also includes two ambulatory surgical centers and a TLC affiliate center. There are a total of 34 doctors on staff, including both MDs and ODs.
Dr. Balius strongly believes that in the long run board certification will be essential to optometry. “To be part of the medical community we must hold ourselves to the same rigorous standards,” he said. “In my area of the country, they are starting to include questions about board certification in the credentialing package for insurance panels. In addition, it is included on the CMS Physician Compare website along with participation in the Diabetic HEDIS measures. I believe that this trend towards quality of care measures will make board certification a must for our profession to be included in these plans.”
The current president of SECO International, Dr. Balius is also a member of the American Optometric Association and the Florida Optometric Association. He calls Broward County, Florida home, along with his wife Laura, also an optometrist, and their two young boys. He enjoys spending time with extended family who are nearby and appreciates the simple things like relaxing at home, swimming, dining out and watching his sons play soccer.
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