2012 Legislative Session
The 2012 Legislative Session will start in just a few short weeks. The session is convening two months early on Tuesday, January 10, 2012, and will last for 60 days due to the Special Reapportionment Session that occurs every 10 years to redraw legislative and congressional district lines.
We are closely following the following House (HB) and Senate (SB) bills that are extremely important to patient safety: HB 261, SB 718, SB 788 and SB 1014. These bills were filed on behalf of optometry and include language that if passed, would authorize optometrists to prescribe oral pharmaceutical agents. The Florida Optometric Association (FOA) has raised over $350,000 this year, to purse their legislative effort to expand their scope of practice. We need support from our members, so please consider contributing to FOCUS, CCE, or joining the President’s Leadership Circle.
The FSO will continue to advocate on behalf of our members during the upcoming legislative session, for what is in the best interest of ophthalmology and the patients we serve; however, in order to be successful, we need our members support. Over the last several weeks we have emailed, faxed and mailed letters to you requesting your help. We have asked you to use our template letter to write to your legislators and urge them to vote against scope of practice expansion, to contribute to the FOCUS, CCE, to join the President’s Leadership Circle and to become a Key Contact, and to help reach out to your local legislators. The more legislators know about the practice of ophthalmology and the differences in education and training, the better. Your help is needed now more than ever, as ophthalmologists are again facing scope of practice challenges.
We have to be vigilant to provide the legislators and our patients with the information necessary to ensure the best possible care. During this past year’s legislative session in Kentucky, optometry legislation passed that essentially allows them to perform ophthalmic surgery at the discretion of the optometric board. Currently, 13 other states are under attack by optometrists who are trying to expand their privileges to also perform surgery. Florida is one of the last three states that has held the line and does not allow optometrists to practice beyond what they were trained to do. We need your help to keep it this way to protect the citizens of Florida.
With the 2012 Legislative Session beginning in January, we felt that it was important to update the FSO website to focus on our advocacy efforts. The redesigned FSO website (www.mdeye.org) now includes quick links for current legislation, resources, how to get involved, and other advocacy issues. Please take a minute to visit the FSO website where you can learn more about our legislative efforts, send your local legislator a letter and contribute to FOCUS, CCE. You can also stay updated by liking the FSO on Facebook and Twitter. We plan to keep these social media sites updated throughout the 2012 Legislative Session.