VETO Senate Bill 230 Banning use of
Optometric Physician/Doctor Title
The Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives voted on 05/04/2023 that Optometrists can NOT and shall NOT call themselves Doctor or Optometric Physician via SB 230.
Governor DeSantis holds veto power against the bill - he has until June 30 to exercise a veto, otherwise the bill becomes law on July 1, 2023. The governor must VETO, if he does NOT sign, it will still pass.
The FOA PAC is working to get more information against the bill in Governor DeSantis's hands and organize momentum against the bill.
What Are The Implications of SB 230 if it Passes?
Optometrists CAN NO LONGER call themselves "Optometric Physicians"
If "Optometric Physician" wordage is used in any context, signage or marketing; and will be classified as a class 3 felony if done so. All current signage must be changed.
Insurance carriers may LOWER our reimbursement on payouts, and possibly prevent ODs from getting on certain medical insurance panels in future
ODs are allowed to refer to themselves as Dr. ___ to previous patients, however to new patients, after they introduce themselves as Dr. ___ they must then clarify that they are a doctor of optometry or certified optometrist. Additionally, ODs can still call themselves Dr. ___ as long as they have a clear name tag identifying themselves as a Doctor of Optometry.
If SB 230 passes, a "Phase 2" bill will come out in the next 1-2 years that will further target FL optometrists and their scope of practice.
This is NOT JUST a Florida problem, but will impact the financial well-being of our entire profession.
Other states with current “not a doctor” bills proposed:
California: AB 765 introduced Feb.13
Connecticut: SB 899 introduced Jan 25
Massachusetts: HD 1314 (H.3606) introduced March 9
Texas: HB 2324 introduced March 9
Wisconsin: SB 143 introduced March 23
North Carolina: HB 576 filed April 5
So what can we do? Make Our Voices Heard!
PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE!
Call Governor DeSantis's office: if it’s busy they offer a call back: 850-488-7146 or 850-717-9337.
Email Governor. DeSantis's office.
See template here
Ask friends, families, patients to email/call Governor DeSantis's office to show their support for ODs!
See template here
Tell your state lawmakers to increase Medi-Cal rates now!
The number of Medi-Cal patients is expected by grow by 8% this year.
COA has been advocating for an increase in reimbursement rates as part of the annual budget process.
Lawmakers and the governor are deciding right now how much they will pay for optometric services next year.
Please send a message to your lawmaker in support of this budget item.
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Amid historic gains for optometry, the AOA and seven state affiliates find themselves battling a spate of legislation that potentially seeks to block, limit or discourage doctors of optometry from being referenced as doctors and physicians in their respective states and threatens to undermine the profession’s progress.
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