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Affiliates and Members to Amplify Optometry’s Essential and Expanding Role in Health Care During Optometry’s Meeting

Doctors and students will connect with legislators to urge support for the Dental and Optometric Care (DOC) Access Act.

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Affiliates and Members to Amplify Optometry’s Essential and Expanding Role in Health Care During Optometry’s Meeting

(PRESS RELEASE) WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, more than 650 doctors of optometry, students and paraoptometric professionals are attending more than 450 AOA on Capitol Hill meetings to advocate for optometry’s policy priorities and reinforce the profession’s essential and expanding role in health care. 

Doctors and students will connect with legislators to urge support for the Dental and Optometric Care (DOC) Access Act, key federal legislation to push back against anti-patient, anti-doctor policies implemented by health insurers and vision plans. Jointly championed by the AOA and the American Dental Association, the DOC Access Act would complement state laws to prohibit plans from limiting patients’ and doctors’ choice of labs; and price fixing for noncovered services and materials. The bill has more support than ever and is a critical solution for doctors of optometry and for patients. 

“Optometry’s voice has never been stronger in Washington, D.C. and on Capitol Hill than it is this week,” says AOA president Ronald L. Benner, O.D. “With more than 5,000 doctors, students and professionals coming together at Optometry’s Meeting and 650 of them conducting meetings with our nation’s leaders, our message is loud and clear: Doctors of optometry will take on those that challenge the progress we are leading in health care and will fight for what is best for our patients. As a nation, we need to prioritize essential eye health and vision care access and choice solutions, as well as fully remove any barriers to patient-doctor decision-making.”

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Optometry’s advocates will also connect with legislators on optometry’s top priorities, including: 

  • Medicare Advantage
    • Stability in Medicare reimbursements remains a crucial policy point as optometry’s advocates look to garner congressional support for legislation that would reform current payment policies.
  • Contact Lens Verification
    • Optometry’s advocates will also build support for the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act (H.R. 2748), federal legislation that would ban problematic robocalls and restore commonsense health and safety precautions.
  • Veterans’ Access to Care
    • In the same way not-a-doctor legislation seeks to muddle full recognition of doctors of optometry, efforts with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) face an uphill battle. The VA continues to concretize national standards of practice for doctors of optometry, which has elicited a strong response from optometry’s opponents who seek the most restrictive scope for VA optometrists. However, the AOA and Armed Forces and Federal Optometric Services (AFOS) are advocating for the most advanced scope.

House of Delegates 

Kicking off the House of Delegates, Immediate Past President Robert C. Layman, O.D., and Past President William T. Reynolds, O.D., updated delegates on optometry’s critical scope expansion wins and the seven strategies the AOA is pursuing regarding vision plan abuses. 

Over a dozen states currently have legislation focused on optometry-centered scope modernization and expanded patient access. Through its Future Practice Initiative, a campaign to directly support affiliate scope modernization efforts, the AOA will continue to mobilize across the country to make increased access to essential eye health and vision care a priority.

During the House of Delegates, AOA executive director Jon Hymes provided an update on association business as well as the health of the organization and profession at large. 

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Eye Care Square Grand Opening 

Optometry’s Meeting’s renowned exhibit hall experience, Eye Care Square, welcomed attendees, industry leaders, sponsors and vendors following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Attendees explored the exhibit hall to find the latest innovations, business and practice solutions, networking sessions and the Education Theater. 

New this year, EYETalks are available in Eye Care Square for AOA CE Hours. These 20-minute talks range from product demonstrations to contemporary optometric topics. 

AOSA Optometry Student Bowl TM XXXII powered by EssilorLuxottica

A fan-favorite event, the AOSA Optometry Student Bowl hosted college rivals for a high-speed, high-stakes test of optometric knowledge. 

Optometry’s Meeting takes place June 21-24 in downtown Washington, D.C., at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. For live updates, visit the Optometry’s Meeting news page and follow along on Facebook and Twitter

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