AOA to Fight New Legislation Limiting Doctor Designations
The American Optometric Association (AOA) has released a statement about Senate Bill 230, proposed Florida legislation that the AOA says will undermine the doctor-patient relationship and jeopardize patient outcomes if passed.
The AOA declares it vigorously opposes “any attempts to prevent Florida-licensed doctors of optometry from practicing at the highest levels allowed by state and federal law, including their ability to effectively communicate with their patients by introducing unnecessary confusion.”
The organization is working with the Florida Optometric Association (FOA) to have SB 230 vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the AOA states it will continue to “use all means necessary to identify and defend against unjust targeting of our FOA members and the optometric profession.
“If necessary, the AOA is prepared to take steps up to and including legal action against any effort to discriminate against the profession of optometry or infringe on optometry’s essential and expanding role in the Florida health care system,” the statement concludes.
OPTOMETRY IS A LEGISLATED PROFESSION, which means non-optometrists decide what we can and can not do, even though they have no background in it. We are held to very high continuing education standards. FLORIDA LEGISLATURE AND OTHER STATE LEGISLATURES ARE THREATENING THE PROFESSION and our ability to care for the public.
THE REALITY/FACTS: our population is aging
AND GETTING MORE ILLNESS (diabetes, Alzheimer’s, thyroid issues, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, etc.) which all affect the eye/our vision and ability to function.
Friends, there is a movement afoot in Florida to strip the title of “Doctor” from optometrists within the state and to ultimately reduce the scope of practice. The last step is the governor, who has the opportunity to veto by June 30.
THIS LEGISLATION, IF PASSED, WILL WORSEN A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS ALREADY BREWING! There are already not enough eye doctors for all the patients who need them (optometrists AND ophthalmologists)! If the lesisksyirs start reducing the legality of Doctors of Optometry to be able to do WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO DO, and HAVE DOING SUCCESSFULLY FOR YEARS, YOU or someone YOU LOVE may not be able to get needed CARE in time to save your vision. THINK ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT YOUR VISION IS TO YOU!
UPDATE: Florida Advances Bill SB 230 to Ban OD Use of Optometric Physician Title, Veto Needed From Governor Before June 30
Unbelievably, the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives have voted on 05/04/2023 that Optometrists can NOT and shall NOT call themselves Doctor or Optometric Physician via SB 230.
Here is the latest intel on what we know regarding SB 230:
Gov. DeSantis holds veto power against the bill – he has until June 30 to exercise a veto, otherwise the bill becomes law on July 1, 2023. The governor must VETO, if he does NOT sign, it will still pass.
The FOA PAC is working to get more information against the bill in Gov. DeSantis’s hands and organize momentum against the bill. THANK YOU TO EVERY SINGLE ODoF Member for the rallying call last Friday!
The FL house & senate are overwhelmingly a part of a single political party that shares commonality with Gov. DeSantis’s party. While DeSantis most likely will NOT want to go against his own party, his wife’s father is an optometrist – so anything is possible.
So What Are The Implications of SB 230 if it Passes?
Optometrists are allowed to refer to themselves as Dr. ___ to previous patients, however to new patients, after they introduce themselves as Dr. ___ they must then clarify that they are a doctor of optometry or certified optometrist. Additionally, Optometrists can still call themselves Dr. ___ as long as they have a clear name tag identifying themselves as a Doctor of Optometry.
Optometrists CAN NO LONGER call themselves “Optometric Physicians”
If “Optometric Physician” wordage is used in any context, signage or marketing; and will be classified as a class 3 felony if done so. All current signage must be changed.
Chiropractors, Dentists, and Podiatrists can use still use Physician but need to qualify the type of “physician”. We CAN NOT say Physician in our name at all.
Enable insurance carriers to LOWER our reimbursement on payouts, and possibly prevent from getting on certain medical insurance panels in future
If SB 230 passes, a “Phase 2” bill will come out in the next 1-2 years that will further target FL optometrists and their scope of practice (the minds behind this appear to be OMD relatives of the Senate president).
For more information please visit: www.aoa.org