In June 2006, Congressman John Sullivan (R-OK), a consistent opponent of the concerns of optometrists and their patients, introduced and is attempting to build support for legislation aimed at usurping states’ licensing and policing authority for non-MD health care providers.
The Sullivan bill introduced as H.R. 5688, the “Health Care Truth and Transparency Act of 2006,” is apparently a component of the American Medical Association’s “Scope of Practice Study” and “Scope of Practice Partnership” designed to provide backing to AMA federation members who have scope of practice battles. According to the AMA, the members of the Partnership plan to pledge $25,000 annually “to fund research that helps refute the key arguments allied health professionals use to advance their measures in state legislatures.” Funding will also be used to “help medical associations fight expansions in non-medical scope of practice legislation in states where such bills appear likely to advance.” Currently the Partnership is comprised of six state medical associations and six specialty groups including the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The premise of H.R. 5688 is expressed in its “findings” that suggest the American public is confused about practice authority of health care practitioners (except for physicians and dentists). The findings also declare that there is ample evidence that non-physician provider groups are touting their practice authority inappropriately, thus further confusing the public. The Sullivan bill would bring in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate conduct of non-MD providers and enforce violations found under jurisdiction of the FTC.
The AOA urges our members to educate Members of Congress about the misguided effort to turn back the clock on patient safety and access to quality health care.
Check the AOA website for directions on how to contact Members of Congress via the AOA’s Legislative Action Center.
Doctors of Optometry are the nation’s largest eye care profession, serving patients in nearly 6,500 communities across the country, where in more than 3,500 of these communities, they are the only eye doctors.