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URGENT REQUEST: Optometrists Look to Control Opticians Future - Write Your Senator Today!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Glasper
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Immediate Action Required!
Optometrists Seek Majority Control Over Opticians!
Write Your State Senator Today!

Action Required or Risk Losing Our Professional Voice!

As we have shared with you, Substitute HB 49, the biennial budget bill, contains a provision to eliminate the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board and to place the regulation of opticians under a newly created State Vision Professionals Board.

The new State Vision Professionals Board will also regulate optometrists as the bill also proposes to eliminate the State Board of Optometry. Under the bill, the new Vision Board will be comprised of 4 optometrists, 2 opticians and 1 public member and will go into effect in January 2018.  The bill passed the House and is currently pending in the Senate.  With the regulation and licensing of opticians placed under a Vision Board with minority representation, opticians will essentially lose their voice in how to interpret, license and regulate their practice.  We have asked you to write your state Senator to oppose this provision in the budget and restore the Optical Dispensers Board and the matter is now even more urgent.

The Ohio Optometric Association (OOA) this week submitted a letter to the Senate Finance Health & Medicaid Subcommittee to reinforce the importance of optometrists maintaining control of a newly comprised Board.  The OOA further suggested renaming the State Vision Professionals Board to the State Board of Optometry, which would essentially result in folding opticians under the regulatory purview of the existing State Board of Optometry.

If the OOA succeeds in having opticians regulated by a State Board of Optometry or any new Board that is controlled by optometrists, opticians will lose their voice in their profession.

The Time to Act is NOW!  Use this TEMPLATE LETTER.

Please contact your state Senator today to oppose the creation of the State Vision Professionals Board and granting optometrists control over opticians. Please request that the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board be reinstated as the proper Board to regulate and license opticians and protect the public.

Our key arguments against a new Board are as follows:

·        Optometrists should not control the regulation and practice of opticians when opticians often work in competing practice environments from optometrists;

·        Opticians interpret and fill the eyewear prescriptions of optometrists and ophthalmologists creating unnecessary anti-competitive conflicts to grant optometrists control over opticianry practice;

·        There are twice as many opticians and apprentices in Ohio than optometrists yet opticians have a minimal presence on the Board; further, there is no ophthalmology voice on the Board;

·        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 already demonstrates efficiency by utilizing a small staff to regulate more than 5,000 opticians and apprentices.

·        The newly created State Vision Professionals 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 Senator and contact them by phone and e-mail to oppose eliminating the Optical Dispensers Board. https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/find-my-legislators

It is critical to make our voice heard in a professional and reasoned manner.  Our profession depends on your immediate involvement and action!

Please use the TEMPLATE LETTER when contacting your state Senator.
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 affecting ALL Ohio opticians!


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