STATE | ASPS Battles Well-Funded Optometrist Scope Expansion Efforts
ASPS is working with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons (FSPS) and the North Carolina Society of Plastic Surgeons (NCSPS) to ensure that optometrists are prevented from becoming surgeons with the stroke of a governor's pen.
Currently, there are bills proposed in both the Florida and North Carolina legislatures that would grant optometrists the right to perform some surgeries. Additionally, the legislation in Florida would grant the Florida Board of Optometry with the ability to determine which surgeries optometrists can and cannot perform. This proposition is fundamentally flawed because optometrists have no surgical training and therefore should not have jurisdiction in determining surgical scope expansions. Additionally, the Florida legislation only requires optometrists to complete one additional course to perform surgery, while the North Carolina bill does not outline any educational requirements.
According to the AAO, the optometrists have already spent $2.5 million in Florida alone trying to pave the way for scope expansion. North Carolina and Florida will be among the most challenging optometrist scope battles this year, and ASPS is fully committed to protecting patients from being operated on by untrained providers. ASPS encourages physicians to help derail this dangerous anti-patient legislation by liking and following the social media campaigns in these states:
Share these links with peers, colleagues, former medical school classmates, friends, and family. Increased engagement on social media by ASPS members will broaden visibility on this important patient safety issue.