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COA’s Legislative Day 2012 was a huge success. More than 180 optometrists from around the state rallied in Sacramento behind a single cause – providing Californians with the best possible eye and vision care. Photos from March 20, 2012.
Our collective voice was heard clearly in Sacramento, where decisions made this year will impact the practice of optometry for decades to come. Laws in 2012 will impact essential benefits and health care reform, optometric independent professional judgment protection, OD provider contracting non-discrimination, and optometric scope expansion. Members first gathered in Sacramento Sheraton Grand Hotel to hear presentations about these key issues before walking to the Capitol for personal visits with legislators.
Governor Jerry Brown gave an energetic presentation at the hotel, marking the first time in modern history that the governor attended Legislative Day. He spoke about the problems our state is experiencing and the need for voters to pass his ballot initiative that calls for additional resources to prevent further state government cuts, which include medical services.
Assembly Health Committee Chair Bill Monning spoke about the challenges facing the health care system and how optometry is poised to address some of those challenges. He also thanked COA for hosting the Castroville eye health fair in his district last fall. Senator Ed Hernandez, chair of Senate Health Committee, spoke about the essential benefits and moderated a panel of experts on health care reform.
- Essential Health Benefit: In December, the federal government announced it will likely allow each state to determine its “essential heath benefit” package and the California Legislature is expected to begin discussions about what services health plans will be required to offer in California.
- California’s Health Benefit Exchange: This Exchange has been established and is making rules for how health plans in the exchange will be required to operate in California, including a plan’s proper inclusion of essential benefits.
- AB 778: This bill, which was introduced by LensCrafters, is expected to be heard sometime before June and lawmakers need to hear from you why additional protections are needed in the bill to ensure optometrists in retail establishments can exercise independent professional judgment.
- SB 690: Landmark legislation - SB 690 by Senator Ed Hernandez - is being considered which would prohibit discrimination in provider contracting.
- AB 761: COA also needs to demonstrate optometry’s support for AB 761, COA- sponsored legislation to allow optometrists to independently perform CLIA-waived tests in their offices.
- Scope of Practice: COA is planning to introduce legislation to expand your scope of practice in the next few years. We need you to set the groundwork now by developing and strengthening relationships with lawmakers.