2017 Legislative Session Review-Patient Safety Prevails
May 8, 2017
Thank you for your time and your persistence to ensure our patients continue to receive the safe and high-quality eye care they deserve. Without your help and the help of your patients’ tireless efforts to contact legislators and educate them about the serious dangers presented in the optometric surgery bills, that ill-conceived legislation would have passed. Florida could have become the fourth state to allow optometrists to perform surgery and open the flood gates for 4,000 new prescribers of opiates in the midst of this state’s opioid addiction crisis. When we became medical doctors, we took the Hippocratic Oath and promised to do no harm. As president of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO), I want to personally thank you for embodying that oath and representing our great profession in an exemplary manner. The FSO also is incredibly thankful to all the legislators who approached the issue with common sense and rejected this dangerous legislation.
Patient safety prevailed this session—at least for now. Unfortunately, organized optometry appears to be mounting a national effort to equate optometry with the practice of medicine. We fully anticipate legislation will again be filed for the 2018 Session. Be assured that the FSO will continue to advocate on your behalf to protect Florida’s patients.
While this year’s legislative session may be over next year’s session starts in January, less than 8 months from now. Interim committee meetings will occur even sooner, beginning in September of this year. Needless to say, our work continues and we must remain vigilant if the safety of our patients is to be protected. We ask those ophthalmologists who are not members of the FSO to please become a member. There is strength in numbers. The FSO continues to represent all ophthalmologists, regardless of membership, but it cannot be done as effectively without every ophthalmologist’s support.
Finally, I encourage you to attend this year’s Masters in Ophthalmology 2017 meeting. New members who join before the meeting will receive complimentary registration. We plan to give a thorough update at the annual Leadership Luncheon on the 2017 Legislative Session. We have invited speakers from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Florida Medical Association to share their thoughts on this year’s session and discuss what may be in store for 2018. The program committee has put together an amazing scientific program, featuring a great panel of nationally-recognized faculty. The meeting has something for everyone in your practice including a coding and reimbursement course, a certified ophthalmic assistants program, an ophthalmic office administrator’s program, and a new seminar this year for the Young Ophthalmologist.
The FSO needs your support now, more than ever and I look forward to personally thanking as many of you as possible at our upcoming meeting in June. I hope to see you in Miami!
Adam Katz, MD