A pair of identical bills moving through the legislature in
The bills, House Bill 2978 and Senate Bill 570, would allow the West Virginia Board of Optometry to regulate the scope of optometric practice in the state. The Board of Optometry would be limited to procedures and treatments that are included in the curriculum of an accredited school of optometry.
The Executive Board and members of the West Virginia Optometric Association feel that optom- etrists should be allowed to practice according to the full extent of our education and training, says James S. Campbell, O.D., president of the West Virginia Optometric Association. This is the manner in which health-care professions are regulated in
Proponents of the bill also say that the legislation would help curb health-care costs and provide patients greater and more readily available access to care. The population in
The twin bill appears to be headed for an interim legislative study committee, which would include representatives from optometry and ophthalmology. The committee would then submit a report and recommendations to the legislature at the beginning of the 2010 session.
Opponents of the original bill tried to repeal the law, claiming it would result in malpractice suits that would bankrupt insurers and cause rampant blindness across the state, Dr. Campbell says. We proved the opponents of our 1976 bill wrong, and we will prove the opponents of our 2009 bill just as wrong, he says.