For Immediate Release
October 9, 2017
Contact: Mike Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916.444.7170
California Optometric Association Champions Bill
to Expand Optometric Practice in California
Governor Brown Signs AB 443 by Asm. Salas
Sacramento, CA – Over the weekend Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 443, a bill championed by the California Optometric Association (COA) to improve eye care access for Californians. The bill, authored by Assembly Member Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), enables doctors of optometry to safely expand the number of procedures they may offer to patients.
COA President Dr. Sage Hider said:
“The California Optometric Association is proud to have opened the door to health for more Californians through AB 443. This important legislation is a step forward for the optometric profession, empowering doctors of optometry to more fully utilize our extensive training, education and experience to help expand eye and health care access to Californians. Improving such access is especially crucial for communities with lower incomes and those that are urban or geographically remote and face low numbers of primary care providers. AB 443 also strengthens optometrists’ role in California’s fight against diabetes, offering optometrists more tools to detect diabetes early, prevent blindness, and save lives.”
Over the course of the past year, COA worked closely with health care stakeholders to enable doctors of optometry to expand the number of procedures they may perform under law, consistent with most other states. Effective January 1, 2018, AB 443 will do the following:
For the first time, the optometric scope of practice in California will automatically expand to include new non-invasive technologies as they are invented. It also gives the California State Board of Optometry the ability to approve new things under specified circumstances. Up until now, there was no mechanism for the board to approve anything not specially authorized by statute.
Dr. Hider concluded, “California optometrists worked diligently over five years to advocate for scope of practice changes that strengthen our profession and our ability to care for Californians’ eyes. COA is grateful to the many doctors who invested their time and energy into this important public health effort. Building on this important legislation, COA will continue to advance solutions to improve public access to care, protect vision, and save lives.”
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