Though advocacy efforts have long been a part of optometry, contact lens legislation, patients’ access to eyecare, and online eye examinations are some of the issues that have captured attention in recent years. In this month’s “Docs Speak Out,” we look at optometrists’ involvement with advocacy on behalf of patients and the profession.

If you had enough time to advocate for one specific issue or piece of legislation, what would it be and why?

“The abolition of vision-care plans, because they basically force ODs to accept low reimbursement rates and lead to lower quality of care and ‘up selling’ of eyewear.”

“Fixing healthcare—fees, access, EHRs. We can do better, but there isn’t enough time or money.”

“Integrating optometric physicians into the healthcare system. This will be necessary going forward to remain relevant in the future.”

“Illegal sales of online contact lenses without an Rx and failure to get an Rx by calling offices in the middle of the night for patients who have not been seen in as long as 11 years.”

“Concentrating on my state’s local scope-of-practice issues, which have lagged behind the rest of the country.”

“Open access to insurance panels. So many panels are closed to optometry. We need a federal mandate for ‘any willing provider.’”

“Optometry boards should be the group to determine scope of practice for optometrists, as is the case with other professions. Technology is advancing quickly, and it’s ridiculous that our ability to move at that speed is hindered by anti-patient groups who are only interested in their profit margin.”

“Continue direct advocacy to the FTC concerning the FCLCA.”

“Access issues/any willing provider. No matter what scope of practice we have, if we can’t get paid to see patients, we cannot use it.”

“Allow competition across state lines. Limit pay/salary to CEOs of health insurance carriers.”

“Against free eye exam advertising by anyone, unmonitored eye exams.”

“Scope of practice in our state, which is one of the worst states, by far, to practice optometry. And I do advocate for it.”

“Repeal and replace Obamacare. Too expensive for patients and little or no options for healthcare plans.”

“Illegal contact lens sales, since there is no concern for patient welfare by the seller.”

“Repeal of the (Un) Affordable Healthcare Act in equal effort with stopping the formation of any new optometry schools, as there is no need.”

“Against e-exams, online Rx of any sort.”


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