August 23rd 2011 – A petition started by Osvaldo Negrón, O.D. on Change.org has gained support from over 430 supporters in the hopes of changing the way things work in Puerto Rico.
The U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is the last and only jurisdiction of the United States of America where licensed Doctors of Optometry are not allowed to use therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of ocular health conditions in their patients. Optometrists in Puerto Rico are educated with the same rigorous U.S. accredited didactic and clinical training as all the optometrists in the United States, and are required to complete and successfully pass all parts of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry examinations to be allowed to practice in the Island. The National Board is a requirement for a license to practice as an optometrist in all the 50 United States.
Doctors of Optometry trained in Puerto Rico are successfully engaged in practices with full therapeutic privileges at this moment in many states, as commissioned officers in the U.S. Armed Forces Medical Services, as well as the Veterans Administration, The U.S. Public Health Service and other federal and state medical departments. Organized optometry in Puerto Rico has unsuccessfully presented legislation in the past, leaving the more than 4 millions citizens of the Island with only about 100 ophthalmologists to care for their ocular health. This situation is not acceptable under the basic standard of care that the rest of the citizens of the United States enjoy in their particular jurisdictions by certified Doctors of Optometry. As a matter of fact many practicing optometrists in Puerto Rico hold also therapeutic licenses in states, to maintain and uphold their proficiency and clinical expertise’s at par with the regular practice of the profession in the United States.
The government of Puerto Rico, by not allowing this legislation to be successful, is systematically discriminating against their own citizens and purposely allowing a substandard of care.
View the petition here