NYSOA 2021 Legislative Priorities

Orals Bill   S.1519 (Bailey)/A.1921 (Paulin)

Purpose:
  • The bill would authorize optometrists to prescribe a formulary of oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of eye diseases.
  • Optometrist have had the ability to use diagnostic topical drugs since the mid-1980s and therapeutic topical drugs since the mid-1990s; however, ODs remain unable to prescribe oral medications for the treatment of eye disease.

2021 Status:
Executive: PASSED Signed by Governor on October 25, 2021
Assembly: PASSED Assembly on June 9, 2021
Senate: PASSED SENATE on Mar 4, 2021

Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a longstanding bill that would authorize optometrists to prescribe and use certain oral medications in the treatment of their
patients.  The Governor’s approval, for which we are incredibly grateful, marks the final step in a two-decade effort by the NYSOA to enact this bill into law.  We are very thankful for our countless champions, in particular, our bill sponsors Assemblymember Amy Paulin and Senator Jamaal Bailey, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, their nearly 100 legislative colleagues who sponsored the bill this year, and the many more legislators who voted in favor of this bi-partisan legislation. 

We are especially appreciative of you - our Doctors of Optometry and your families - who have tirelessly advocated for this legislation – through in-person meetings, phone calls, letters, and emails - before hundreds of legislators and their staff over the last many years.  A special thanks to our Legislative Chair, Dr. Dawn Chivers, for her tireless commitment to seeing this bill through.  New York State’s optometrists will now be better able to help their patients and improve access to primary eye care and treatment.  This is an important milestone toward ensuring New Yorkers receive the care they deserve! 

The provisions of this new law will take effect in 2 years, with the intervening time being necessary for the New York State Education Department to adopt regulations and to undertake certain administrative tasks, including developing an orals curriculum and test and continuing education materials.  The NYSOA will be working with the State Education Department and other stakeholders to ensure as smooth a roll-out of the new law as possible and we will update you on our efforts throughout that process.

Partnership Bill   S.6872 (Savino)/A.3526 (Peoples-Stokes)

Purpose: Allow optometrists and other Title VIII professions to co-own professional practices with physicians.

2021 Status:
Senate: In Corporations, Authorities And Commissions Committee
Assembly: In Higher Education Committee


    Vision Plan Bill (in drafting)

    Purpose

    • Prohibit requiring the OD (or OMD) to contract for lab services, frames or materials with an entity affiliated with, selected by or otherwise financially related to the health or vision plan;
    • Prohibit discrimination in participation and reimbursement based on licensure;
    • Prohibit requiring ODs (or OMDs) from having to participate in another vision or medical plan as a condition to participate in a health plan; and,
    • Prohibit insurers from requiring discounts on products not covered by plans.

    Out-of-State Internship Bill   S.487 (Krueger)

    Purpose: Provide that students from accredited optometry schools located outside of New York State may engage in supervised clinical practice and shall be exempt from state licensure requirements.

    2021 Status: In Senate Higher Education Committee


    Offering Support, But Monitoring Only:

    Data Collection of Professions Bill   S.5093 (Stavisky)/A.7213 (Fahy)

    Purpose: Require that, with triennial registration, Title VIII professions provide the Education Department with information regarding location and type of setting and other professional information. The data is to be used to evaluate needed services in the state, and shall be presented publicly, de-identified and in aggregate.
    2020 Status: Passed Senate (5/4/20). Held in Assembly Higher Education Committee.


    Remote Refraction Bill (in drafting)

    Purpose:

    • Require personal examinations for any corrective lens or contact lens prescriptions.
    • Limit remote refraction to circumstances where there is an existing relationship between the patient and the remote professional.