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Inside this issue
  Doctors of optometry convene in Sacramento for COA Leg Day  
  Last Wednesday, optometrists and optometric students from across the state came to Sacramento to advocate for the future of the profession. Attendees educated lawmakers about online vision testing, price fixing, scope of practice and the branch office law. A friendly contest between Northern and Southern California doctors and students yielded a tie, but optometry was the real winner that day. Thank you to everyone who traveled to Sacramento for this important event. COA also thanks VSP for hosting our legislative reception. Click here to view pictures taken by COA Legislation and Regulation Committee Member Dr. Brian Park.



  Legislation update  
  SB 1386 (McGuire) - This bill was recently amended to revise the branch office law that currently restricts most optometrists to owning no more than two offices. The bill now would allow an optometrist to own up to 12 offices. The bill would also establish reporting requirements for most optometrists, change the evidentiary standard for a violation and make it an unfair trade practice to interfere in the professional judgment of an optometrist. COA is opposed to this bill, unless it is amended to allow no more than five offices, eliminate the reporting requirements and maintain the current evidence standard. The bill author committed to working with COA on amendments and the bill passed Senate Business and Professions Committee on Monday. It next will be referred to Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 3087 (Kalra) - This bill would establish a fee schedule for health practitioner services for all payers in the commercial market and limit overall spending on health care. COA is opposed to this bill because it will harm the safety net and potentially drive reimbursements below the cost of care. AB 3087 is set for hearing in Assembly Health Committee today where it is expected to pass.

AB 1802 (Salas) - This bill makes a technical amendment to the optometric scope of practice. COA is continuing negotiating meetings with ophthalmology and expect to amend the bill later in the year. This bill unanimously passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee today. It will be referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee.


  State Board of Optometry meeting update  
  At its meeting last week, the State Board of Optometry (SBO) discussed several issues, including:

Branch office - COA board member Dr. Christopher R. Gee provided testimony about the branch office law and explained COA's concerns with the board's proposal.

Inspection authority - The SBO voted to perform inspections based on complaints rather than setting up a system for random inspections of optometric practices. COA strongly advocated for complaint-based audits because other licensing boards that performed random inspections found them to be very expensive and they did not uncover many violations. The SBO will notify the profession what will be reviewed during the inspection and the SBO is committed to studying the outcomes of the new inspection system over the coming year.

Infection Control - The SBO encourages optometrists to review the Infection Control Guidelines (CCR 1520) and double check their offices to make sure they're compliant. SBO members were concerned licensees may not know/remember these exist.

The next SBO meeting will be August 3 in San Diego. Optometrists can get free Continuing Education (CE) credits by attending SBO meetings. Every two hours of open session equates to one hour of credit, up to a maximum of four credit hours. Additionally, the SBO is recruiting licensed optometrists statewide to serve as Expert Witnesses for the Board's enforcement program.


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