Pennsylvania: Withdraw Optometric Surgery Bill
As the tenth state to consider expanding optometric scope of practice in 2019, Pennsylvania State Senator John Gordner reintroduced a measure that would allow optometrists to perform surgical procedures that fall squarely within the practice of medicine. Specifically, the bill removes language that currently prohibits optometrists from performing surgery and using lasers and instead only prohibits a limited list of surgical procedures. The bill would also allow optometrists to administer injections into the eyelid and near the eye.
While the bill has not been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, it is likely that the measure will be considered based on last year's progression of similar legislation. In 2018, ASPS and the Robert H. Ivy Pennsylvania Society of Plastic Surgeons successfully killed the bill prior to a vote before the full state Senate.
In an effort to thwart the bill's momentum this session, ASPS worked again with the Ivy Society to craft comments to the bill sponsor in May outlining our concerns with the proposal and requesting withdrawal of the measure. Unfortunately, the bill has not been withdrawn and currently awaits further consideration in its original committee of jurisdiction.