Vision and Ophthalmology Interest Group

Advocacy

There are several topics that VOIG and ophthalmology professional groups are actively involved in legislation concerning:

  1. Scope of Practice for Optometrists:
    a) California Senate Bill 1406 Would Allow Optometrists to perform all eye surgery and glaucoma treatment as long as it does not require general anesthesia.
    b) This follows in line with a law H.B. 2321, recently passed in Oklahoma, which affirms O.D.s' ability to bill for surgical codes.
    c) SB 1406, a bill that would allow optometrists to perform surgery, is currently being held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the "suspense" file. SB 1406 (as amended 7/1/08) would authorize California optometrists to:
    i) Perform all eye surgery not requiring general anesthesia;
    ii) Order any diagnostic test;
    iii) Prescribe oral and injectable drugs, including intravitreal injection;
    iv) Treat glaucoma
  2. Avastin for Eye Disease:
    a) Genentech has recently decided to halt sales of Avastin® (bevacizumab) to compounding pharmacies thought to be using the drug in place of Lucentis for its anti-VEGF properties and treatment of patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other conditions with potentially blinding complications.
  3. Medicare Cuts Threatening Physician Payments:
    Congress recently approved legislation replacing a 10.1 percent cut in 2008 Medicare physician payments with a 0.5 percent increase. Unfortunately, it failed to make critical long-term improvements to the Medicare physician payment system that will help ensure that millions of Medicare beneficiaries maintain access to physicians by eliminating irrational fomula-driven payment cuts of up to 40% in coming years.
  4. "Eye Safety Awareness" Annually in May:
    More than one million people suffer eye injuries each year in the United States. Sports and chemical injuries are common mechanisms of eye damage.

Appropriate protective eyewear could prevent 90% of these injuries.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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