AZOA has well over 400 members in Arizona, but we represent all the optometrists across the state. We take that role very seriously and are constantly on the watch for state or federal legislation that could impact our memberships’ profession. We’re the voice of Arizona’s optometry profession at the Arizona legislature and are continuously working with local and state government, business and political leaders to ensure the advancement and protection of our patients, members and the profession we’ve dedicated our lives to.
The work of the Legislation Committee is a primary function of the AZOA. The Legislation Committee works to protect the profession of Optometry on several fronts at all times in two major categories: scope of practice and access to patients.
We have made some comfortable gains in pharmaceutical scope over the past several years to now have Arizona ranked among those states that ODs are allowed to prescribe most oral anti-infectives, oral anti-inflammatories including steroids, narcotic controlled substances in class two and three, and oral glaucoma medications.
We have eliminated discrimination against ODs in medical plans at the State-level, as much is legislatively possible. ERISA plans and HMOs have federal regulations. We are working towards some “fixes” in the non-covered services aspects of vision plans.
Currently, we are actively involved in protecting the roots of Optometry scope; refractions and visual corrections. Advocates for the so-called disruptive technologies are trying to make our profession obsolete (their words, not ours). Online refractions that produce a written eyeglass and/or contact lens prescription without seeing an Eye Care Professional for additional binocular vision and ocular health evaluation aspects of an eye exam are becoming more aggressive in the marketplace and finding a foothold in our AZ Legislature. Online contact lens retailers are trying to eliminate certain specifications on our prescriptions that would allow for brand substitution and eliminate or greatly extend our expiration dates.
The AZOA represents all ODs in AZ and that is why all ODs in AZ need to be members of the AZOA. We are stronger and more effective together.