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Inside this issue
  Legislation update  
  SB 1386 by Senator McGuire related to the branch office rule has been amended to include placeholder language that can move through the legislative process while COA and the State Board of Optometry work on a compromise proposal. The language we are working on now would relax the branch office rule without eliminating it all together.

The State Board of Optometry is seeking a total repeal of the current law that requires optometrists to be in the office 50 percent of the time the office is open. We are debating the value of requiring an owner to be in the office for at least 10 percent of the time the office is open. COA believes it is important to require optometry owners to have involvement in the practice besides an investment interest.

We also want language to prevent any interference in the professional judgment of an optometrist. COA is concerned that more chain stores could pressure employed optometrists to perform refraction-only exams to maximize sales.

We want to hear your thoughts. Please participate in COA's survey by March 30, 2018.

AB 2444 by Assembly Member Burke, a bill to expand eye health opportunities for children, is set for its first hearing on April 11, 2018, in Assembly Education Committee. The bill creates an informational sheet in school enrollment packets for parents and teachers on the importance of good vision and eye health for children and how to access eye and vision care that is already covered by Medi-Cal and private insurance. The bill also instructs the Department of Education to create a standardized follow-up process to ensure children who are identified at school as having a vision problem are connected with needed care. Lastly, AB 2444 creates a pilot program aimed at early detection of eye and vision problems in an effort to improve educational outcomes. Click here to send a message in support of this important measure.

AB 1802 by Assembly Member Salas is the placeholder bill to expand the optometric scope of practice. COA is planning negotiations with medicine to see if there are additional areas of agreement. This bill is likely to be heard on April 24.

AB 2789 by Assembly Member Wood to require health care practitioners to issue prescriptions electronically will be amended to exempt prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses, thanks to COA's intervention.

SB 1241 by Assembly Member Nguyen would give a tax credit for a physician, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, or dentist who is a volunteer for a nonprofit licensed health clinic located in California. After COA spoke with the author's office, we received a commitment that the bill will be amended to make optometrists also eligible for the tax credit.

SB 1238 by Senator Roth would require a provider that plans to destroy patient records to notify the patient at least 60 days before a patient's records are destroyed. COA is concerned that this bill is an undue burden on optometrists and has joined other provider groups in questioning the need for this bill.


  FTC action needed  
  The FTC's outrageous plan to hurt our practices, our profession and our patients will take effect this year unless we fight back right now. Contact your lawmaker to insist that the FTC withdraw its unnecessary and burdensome contact lens paperwork proposal and immediately crack down on illegal contact lens sales that place the public at risk.

Use this link to directly contact your representatives in congress with a special priority request to take action to support optometry.

Please feel free to personalize the message to include information about how your practice would be hurt, or describe the tragic adverse patient outcomes you've seen resulting from illegal contact lens sales.


  Lawmaker learns about optometry training  
  COA thanks Marshall B. Ketchum University (MBKU) for arranging a college tour for an important lawmaker. Last week, Assembly Member Mike Gipson visited the Southern California College of Optometry at MBKU and learned about the education and clinical training optometrists undergo. Assembly Member Gibson is a member of the powerful Assembly Business and Professions Committee which presides over any scope of practice legislation.  


  Register with the State Board of Optometry for online services  
  If you have not done so already, COA encourages you to register for BreEZe and to renew all licenses online. BreEZe is the California Department of Consumer Affairs new licensing and enforcement system. It enables consumers to verify a professional license and file a consumer complaint. Licensees and applicants can submit license applications, renew a license and change their address among other services. Click here to get started.  


  What we're clicking on  
  Review of Optometric Business considers incorporating telemedicine into optometry practices.

Online refraction highlighted on talk radio

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