September 11, 2009 | POSTED BY | Articles, Healthcare
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At this very moment your states elected representatives in Washington D.C are contemplating the most widespread health care reform bill in American history. You probably thought about the possibility of universal health care affecting your career as an optometrist and perhaps the question was brought up in your interview. This bill has the potential to change your career forever, effecting your patients, your salary, your way of life and your dreams.

I bet you want to have a say in the way things unfold over the next few months…

Well now you can! OptometryStudents.com is here to tell you what YOU can do in order to make sure that the career of Optometry continues in a positive direction. We are here to relay a message that the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) told us optometry students this evening.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) has been active in Washington D.C. working hard to make sure that optometry-specific amendments are added to this new health care bill. The AOA and optometrists alike are working hard to make sure that one vital amendment is added to this new reform and it is as follows.

Ensuring that insurance companies cannot discriminate against optometrists and that patient choice is protected. This amendment is currently NOT included and the bill, and if it does not get put in then expect big changes that could be detrimental for the patients you love and for Optometry practices all over the USA.

Here is the amendment being voted on within the next few weeks that will change optometry forever.

Ross Amendment- This amendment seeks to protect patient choice and also state provider non-discrimination laws.

Thankfully, 2 pro-optometry supporters in congress have authored a letter called the Braley-Heinrich Letter. The number of Congressional co-signers on this letter will determine if the Ross Amendment gets passed or not.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO MAKE SURE IT GETS PASSED? All you need to do is call your member of congress!

Are you unsure who your member of Congress is?
Visit: https://writerep.house.gov

Or

Call your congressman through the U.S. Capitol switchboard – 202-225-3121

Below is a message from the AOSA with a well written script of exactly what to say to your congress member to ensure they hear you loud and clear.

A MESSAGE FROM THE AOSA:
Students: Take Action Now!

Student Specific Phone Talking Points

  1. Hello, Representative _____________. My name is ____________. I am an optometry student and an active member of the community in which you represent.
  2. I am calling today to urge you to protect patient choice and adopt provider non-discrimination safeguards as a key element of health care reform. Upon graduating, my colleagues and I will be frontline providers of over 70% of our nation’s eye and vision care in more than 3,500 communities, including ones in your district.
  3. It has taken the enactment of legislation in virtually every state to force health plans to stop restricting access to care for patients in need of the range of essential health care services, including the medical eye care I will provide after I graduate.
  4. In the past, Congress recognized that health plans harm patients when they discriminate on the basis of licensure and included a specific provider non-discrimination safeguard in Medicare Part C.
  5. I’m concerned that the House version of health care reform (HR 3200) will pre-empt our state patient choice / provider non-discrimination laws and will allow health insurers to once again restrict access to the care I will provide.
  6. The American Optometric Association and a coalition of other health care provider groups are supporting the Ross Amendment, which is aimed at ensuring that state patient access laws remain in force and are appropriately recognized as a building block for true reform of the health care system.
  7. Please help pass the Ross Amendment by adding your name to the Braley-Heinrich letter to ensure that our state’s patient choice / provider non-discrimination laws are not pre-empted by HR 3200. To do so, please speak with Rep. Braley or have your staff contact Mike Goodman, Legislative Director to Rep. Braley, at x5-2911.

Be sure to log the details of your calls and make sure you follow up with the right people at the right times.

Are you going to sit there and let other people pick up the slack for you?
You know that your career, your future and your patients are depending on you at this very moment and you worked WAY TOO HARD to get here; don’t give up now.

OptometryStudents.Com will be recording live phone calls with congress representatives to show you the progress that we are making. Please check back soon for more quality content on this breaking issue!