2014 Legislative Session - Watch this page for information over the fall and winter.
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2013 Legislative Issues: Patient Safety
The TNAO and the TMA defeated the OD scope bill this legislative session that would have allowed ODs to perform some surgeries. This bill posed a dangerous risk to patient safety and quality surgical care for Tennessee citizens.
- The injections proposed in the optometry bills are not as benign and routine as its sponsors suggest. Any time a needle is placed near the eye, there is a serious risk to the patient that requires adequate clinical experience and judgment. For example:
- Puncturing an eyeball caused by a surgical error of just a few millimeters can result in catastrophic vision.
- Injecting eyelid lesions, which have blood vessels connecting to the back of the eye, can cause immediate and permanent visual loss.
- Injecting a cancerous lesion that has not been properly diagnosed can result in the cancer’s spread.
- Expertise in managing these types of serious complications is achieved through years of medical school, surgical residency and clinical training. It cannot be obtained in the current optometric curricula or in an “add on” training course.
- We are pleased to report that this dangerous legislation was rejected by the Senate for concerns over patient safety.
2014 will probably bring another scope of practice bill from the optometrists, who wish to do surgical procedures without the benefit of medical school or surgical training. Please watch this page for information beginning in January 2014 and how you can help.
In the 2013 legislative session, we defeated Senate Bill 220 and House Bill 555, which was an effort from optometrists to do surgical procedures. We thank those legislators who share our concerns that legislation permitting nonmedical doctors to use injectable anesthesia and perform a vast range of eye surgeries is not in the best interest of Tennesseans. “Make no mistake, there are no ‘simple’ surgeries. The surgeries that would have been authorized in this legislation should be performed only by licensed medical doctors who possess the required level of medical and clinical training necessary for those procedures. “We appreciate the time that the members of the Senate and House Health Committees spent studying this issue, and we look forward to working with them in the future on policies that continue to protect patient safety and quality of surgical care. To see what ODs are trained to do, click their training manual. Optometrists Training Manual
Tennessee Federal Legislative Contacts