LEGISLATIVE ALERT: Elimination of Ohio Optical Dispensers Board
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Posted by: Mark Glasper
Elimination of Ohio Optical Dispensers Board
Write Your State Representative Today
You may remember during lame duck session late last year that two bills were introduced that proposed the elimination of the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board (OODB) by transferring regulation of opticians to a newly created super board called the State Vision and Hearing Professionals Board. While the legislation did not pass, the proposal to dismantle the OODB and other health licensing boards has once again been introduced.
Governor Kasich has released his proposed budget, House Bill 49, and within its 3,500 pages it contains a provision to eliminate and consolidate numerous health licensing boards, including the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board (OODB). Under HB 49, the OODB would be eliminated and the regulation of opticians would be transferred to a newly created State Vision and Hearing Professionals Board.
The following Boards will be eliminated and their licensees regulated by the new State Vision and Hearing Professionals Board: The Optical Dispensers Board, the State Board of Optometry, the Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and the Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters Licensing Board. The new State Vision and Hearing Professionals Board will be comprised of the following 9 members: 2 dispensing opticians, 2 optometrists, 2 speech-language pathologists, 1 audiologist, 1 hearing aid fitter and 1 public member.
The new State Vision and Hearing Professionals Board would assume regulatory responsibilities for its licensees on January 21, 2018.
We Need Your Help!
It is critical that legislators hear from you today to oppose elimination of the Optical Dispensers Board as the regulatory Board to license spectacle, contact lens and dual licensed opticians. Our key arguments against this proposal are as follows:
- No state dollars will be saved by eliminating the Optical Dispensers Board and merging its functions into a newly created Board. The Optical Dispensers Board is funded solely through licensure and registration fees and contributes each year to the state’s 4K9 fund.
- The Optical Dispensers Board demonstrates efficiency by utilizing a staff of only three persons to regulate more than 5,000 opticians and apprentices.
- Merging the Optical Dispensers Board into a newly created Board with multi-disciplinary professionals could jeopardize public safety as each lack the appropriate practice expertise to properly regulate the other professions. The public is not best protected with hearing licensees regulating vision licensees and vice-versa.
- The newly created State and Vision Board lacks sufficient optician representation to protect the public through approving continuing education programs for the three types of optician licensees: spectacle, contact lens and dual licensed opticians.
Please click on the link below to find your state legislators in the House and contact them by phone and e-mail to oppose eliminating the Optical Dispensers Board.
It is critical to make our voice heard in a professional and reasoned manner. House Bill 49 is currently being heard in the Ohio House of Representatives. Our profession depends on your involvement and action!
Please use this template letter when contacting your state representative.
E-mail a copy of all letters and responses to your letters to info@OAO.org. Please contact the OAO at 800-661-5367 with any questions.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this issue which affects ALL Ohio opticians!