On Thursday February 24th 2011 the Kentucky Optometric Association achieved a massive victory for the state of Kentucky, its OD’s and patients and of course for the profession of Optometry.
Specifically, the KOA worked long and hard to get a new piece of legislation passed that would improve access to quality eye care. The bill is called the Better Access to Quality Eye Care Act (SB 110) and it has now been officially approved and signed by Governor Steve Beshear.
What does this new legislation bring? (information taken from the KOA website)
The Better Access to Quality Eye Care Bill has been proposed to expand the range of services your Doctor of Optometry can provide, greatly expanding eye health care options for all Kentuckians. Expanded services would include the follow 3 items.
1) Modern, cost-effective routes of drug administration
Current eye research is focused on new methods of drug administration that are more efficient and cost effective, such as contact lenses with medication embedded or periodic injections rather than daily medications. Other doctors are not restricted in any methods of administration. Doctors of optometry should be able to give their patients the highest standard of care.
2) Removal of “lumps and bumps” around the eye by the most effective means.
Consumers can buy over-the-counter products now to remove a skin tag themselves chemically, but it would be safer and cosmetically better to have it done by the doctor.
3) New technologies for simple, in-office procedures that treat conditions your Doctor of Optometry already manages.
These primary care, in-office procedures do not require general anesthesia. Doctors of optometry currently diagnose conditions such as a cloudy capsule following cataract surgery and must send patients out to have the procedures performed. It will save the patient time and additional costs to have it done on site. Optometrists will not be doing cataract extractions, retinal surgery or Lasik.
Governor Steve Beshear said… (click here for the governer’s full statement)
“Access to quality health care is a critical issue for families across the Commonwealth. After careful consideration, along with meetings with many interested parties, today I signed Senate Bill 110 to give Kentuckians greater access to necessary eye care…..And finally, in order to ensure the highest degree of oversight, I will be meeting with the Board of Optometric Examiners to make sure that providers of these services undergo extensive training. I believe this new law will mean more Kentuckians can get the eye care they need.”
President of the AOA Joe Ellis said… (click here for the presidents full statement)
“Patients – especially in Kentucky’s rural communities – will be able to depend on their hometown eye doctor to treat their eye health needs efficiently, effectively and safely,”…..”Senate Bill 110 will allow doctors of optometry to provide the latest and best technology in treating their patients. Patients would be able to receive treatment in the office rather than forcing them to travel to another doctor.”
A Word From OptometryStudents.com
“This is really a fantastic breakthrough for our profession and it really shows how if optometry students and optometrists stand together and support our profession, we can make great things happen. Optometry all over the U.S.A is slowly but surely expanding for the better, providing eye care to more patients and providing them with healthy vision. Unfortunately optometrists cannot practice to the extent of what they learn and what they are tested on for their National Boards, but this is all changing thanks to victories like the one above.”
“It just goes to show you how important it is to support your state optometric association and the AOA because they work REALLY hard to accomplish big things for us every single day. Perhaps your state is next to achieve a great victory like the one in Kentucky, but as a student you should take the time to support your state association and the AOSA / AOA. The way optometrists practice now is not a birthright and it can be taken away at any moment! Lets not let that happen; this is our profession and lets stand strong to make sure we continue to achieve great things just like the Kentucky Optometric Association.”
Please comment below and show your support for our profession and for optometry students!