Florida bill grants optometry board sole practice oversight
Recent legislation specifies that the Florida Board of Optometry would have the sole authority to determine what constitutes the practice of optometry and that a licensed optometrist may complete a board-approved course and examination to become a certified in ophthalmic surgery to perform laser and nonlaser procedures.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater, Fla.) filed Senate Bill 1168 in the Florida State Senate to expand the scope of practice for the state’s optometrists.
The bill’s language also deletes express prohibition against ophthalmic surgery procedures in the practice of optometry and restricts what a licensed practitioner may administer or prescribe if he or she does not complete a certain board-approved course and examination.
In a statement to Florida Optometric Association (FOA) members, FOA President April Jasper, OD, said, “Rest assured that the FOA is fully prepared to respond to any harsh or untrue comments that our opposition may offer in the months to come ... feel confident that it is my prime objective and purpose to pass this fair and worthy legislation in honor of the patients we all serve in Florida. I promise you that my resolve will be unwavering in support of our profession's ability to serve as the true primary eye care physicians in the great state of Florida.”
She also applauded fellow states Alaska, California, Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland for working in the same manner to put forth similar legislation.
The bill is filed for consideration during the state legislative session that commences March 7.