Welcome to the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Legislative Blog update. We are continuing to work with the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (NCSEPS) and other medical specialty groups to educate legislators about House Bill 36, “Amending the Scope of Practice of Optometry in Order to Enhance Access to Eye Care in North Carolina”. The North Carolina Medical Society opposes this bill due to patient safety concerns.
The primary sponsors of the bill are Rep. Justin Burr (R- Stanly) , Rep. Jeff Collins (R– Nash) , Rep. Josh Dobson (R – Avery) and Rep. Julia Howard (R- Davie). At this point the bill has been referred to the House Health Committee. If it is viewed favorably in that committee, it will then move to the House Insurance Committee, and if approved by that group will finally head to the House Appropriations Committee.
NCSEPS member ophthalmologists and their lobbying team have met with legislators at the North Carolina General Assembly this week to explain to legislators the importance of training and experience in performing surgery. They used this handout to visually show the pronounced differences in optometry and ophthalmology training. The information contained in the last graph reflects a study done in Oklahoma, which found that patients who had laser surgeries performed by an optometrist- have a 189 percent increased risk of requiring a repeat laser surgery.
What can you do to ensure that North Carolina patients are treated safely, and do not require repeat procedures?
Please check your email today for an NCMS Action Alert you can send to your North Carolina House of Representative member to voice your opposition to optometrists performing surgery.  If you have trouble finding the Action Alert in your regular inbox, please check your spam folder for an email from “Muster”. Muster is the company we are using to streamline your ability to reach your legislators on important issues.  If you have problems receiving the alert, or if you would like to share the Action Alert with other physicians in your community or practice, please email [email protected].