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Inside this issue
  New laws  
  The 2017-2018 Legislative Session ended in August and the governor has signed two optometry-related bills:

Branch office - The State Board of Optometry (SBO)-sponsored SB 1386 by Senator Mike McGuire that allows optometrists to own up to 11 offices. Right now, optometrists can only have two offices. The new law takes effect January 1, 2019. Click here for COA's fact sheet for more information.

Background: In recent years, the SBO has come to the conclusion that the restriction on allowing optometrists to have multiple offices is overly burdensome with no direct benefit or protection for consumers. Other healing arts licensees possess the ability to own any number of offices under their license. Meanwhile, the existing branch office limit effectively ties the hands of optometrists who wish to open a number of locations under their license, and this can result in less access to care in rural areas where few optometrists are likely to locate their primary office. There has been concern from many in the optometric community, however, that completely eliminating the limit on how many offices an optometrist would be problematic. After months of negotiations and removal of several provisions that COA objected to, the solution reached in this bill is to replace the restrictive branch office license requirement with a less stringent allowance for an optometrist or several partnered optometrists to maintain multiple offices, with a cap placed at 11 total offices. The intent of the author is to modernize how optometrists may maintain multiple offices without creating optometric empires resembling retail chains.

Immunization training - SB 762 by Senator Ed Hernandez, OD, allows the immunization training program for optometrists to be endorsed by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. COA sponsored this bill to allow optometrists to take immunization training courses developed by the pharmacy profession. Successful completion of the coursework will allow optometrists to administer the flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines to adults. This new law takes effect immediately.
 

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  Ed Hernandez for Lieutenant Governor  
  The optometric profession has a great opportunity to elect a strong advocate for optometry at the statewide level. COA's former President Senator Ed Hernandez is running for Lieutenant Governor.

COA is co-hosting an upcoming fundraiser in support of Senator Ed Hernandez. Please join Dr. Robert Gordon and COA on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, in Upland, California. Click here for more information or to RSVP.

If you are not able to attend this fundraiser, please consider making a donation to Senator Hernandez's campaign. Even a small contribution adds to his total number of "supporters" and helps demonstrate his broad appeal to voters across California. Click here to donate now.
 

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  What we're clicking on  
  COA's new report: Medi-Cal plans improve diabetes care

There's hope for health care reform

Hospital consolidation in California linked to higher health prices

Interesting health care data

Union proposes 15% profit cap on most healthcare providers in Palo Alto, Livermore
 

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