Demand Legislators Put Politics Aside & Pass Legislation to Improve Access to Eye Care for All Marylanders
The time is NOW to modernize the scope of practice of Maryland Optometry!
Petitionees: Maryland Governor Lawrence Joseph Hogan, Jr. & Members of the Maryland General Assembly
Petitioners: The Citizens of Maryland
Petition Summary: Unnecessarily restrictive State laws governing the scope of practice of optometry in Maryland have created cost and access issues for Maryland patients in need of medical eye care. By permitting Maryland doctors of optometry to care for their patients to the full extent of their training and education, Maryland citizens will benefit through reduced health care costs and improved patient outcomes.
Bill Summary: SB 447/HB 471 “Health Occupations – Requirements for the Practice of Optometry – Miscellaneous Revisions” seeks to modernize the State scope of practice of Optometry by removing existing restrictions to allow doctors of optometry to:
- Prescribe all FDA approved therapeutic agents for ocular diseases and conditions except controlled dangerous substances
- Independently treat patients with open-angle glaucoma
- Order/Perform diagnostic tests (blood, cultures and imaging only)
- Remove most foreign bodies from the eye (based on depth)
- Maryland laws governing the scope of practice of optometry are among the five most restrictive throughout the U.S. and its territories.
- Optometrists order diagnostic tests in 46 states.
- Maryland is the only State that requires permanent co-management of glaucoma patients and one of only 5 states that require an initial referral to an ophthalmologist without execption
- Optometrists are the ONLY primary eye care doctors in 6 rural Maryland jurisdictions, in which there are no ophthalmology practices.
- Most optometry practices have weekend and evening hours, making them more accessible to patients in need of emergent care.
- Maryland’s optometrists are trained and educated and able and willing to provide the level of eye care this bill would permit and are currently be underutilzing by the State at a cost to the eye health of its citizens.
Action Petitioned For: We the undersigned, as concerned citizens of Maryland, urge our representatives within State government to act now to pass the legislation summarized above (SB 447/HB 471) during the 2019 Session of the Maryland General Assembly. Please put the eye health of Maryland citizens above politics, and modernize the scope of practice of Maryland Optometry by voting yes to SB 447 and HB 471.