Louisiana Gov. Jindal signs expanded scope of practice bill
Optometry has scored another scope of practice win—this time in the state of Louisiana.
"We applaud our colleagues in Louisiana for working so hard to ensure that their patients get access to the high-quality eye care that patients in Oklahoma and Kentucky already enjoy."
On June 1, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signed a bill into law that adds certain eye care procedures to the list of minor surgeries doctors of optometry already provide in Louisiana. "Every one of these new procedures has been safely and effectively provided for decades to tens of thousands of patients by doctors of optometry in other states," according to the Optometry Association of Louisiana.
The new law permits doctors of optometry to perform limited laser and minor surgical procedures around the eye, such as the removal of a chalazion, once they receive additional training and certification. At the same time, it prohibits doctors of optometry from doing procedures such as those requiring general anesthesia, LASIK, or incisions or injections into the eye.
"We applaud our colleagues in Louisiana for working so hard to ensure that their patients get access to the high-quality eye care that patients in Oklahoma and Kentucky already enjoy," says Deanna Alexander, O.D., chair of the AOA's State Government Relations Committee.
The law's quick passage "not only shows that doctors of optometry have once again proved that we can safely provide these services, but it also shows once again that the negative attacks by organized ophthalmology have backfired, as they have since the 1970s," Dr. Alexander says.
Louisiana's win adds to a long string of state legislative victories in 2014. " Scope of practice victories in Arizona, Nebraska and Tennessee also will help doctors of optometry provide more advanced care for millions more patients," says AOA President Mitchell T. Munson, O.D.
After the Kansas Optometric Association and doctors of optometry there raised concerns, the Kansas Insurance Department says it will enforce the state Vision Care Services Act. Want to learn more about third party advocacy? Save the date for the AOA Payer Advocacy Summit, Nov. 15-16.
The Advancing Optometry: State Advocacy Summit 2021, Aug. 30-31, convened hundreds of state advocates and leaders to prepare for current and future statehouse challenges.
Coming off a pandemic-stricken year no less, states logged historic scope wins that helped to better realize optometry’s full prowess as primary eye care providers. An upcoming virtual summit offers state advocacy volunteers and leaders, and optometry’s advocates, an opportunity to collaborate on best practices.