Optometric scope expansion bill passes Legislature

COA is pleased to announce that AB 443, legislation to expand the scope of practice of optometry, passed the California Legislature today. The legislation now moves to governor, who has three choices: sign the bill into law, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto the bill. If signed into law, AB 443 would go into effect January 1, 2018. The governor has until October 15 to act on bills. Click here to send a message to the governor asking him to sign AB 443.

Here is a summary of what is included in the bill:
Allows TPA-certified doctors of optometry to use all non-controlled substance medications, noninvasive medical devices and technology that are FDA indicated for a condition optometrists can treat. New off-label use could be allowed by State Board of Optometry regulation (this provision is intended to allow the optometric profession to utilize new technology as it is developed and automatically authorize medical devices like LipiFlow and PROKERA).
Clarifies the list of drugs allowed under current law can be used "off label."
Allows TPA optometrists to prescribe Tramadol for up to three days (Tramadol was recently classified as a Schedule III controlled substance and therefore no longer authorized under the Optometric Practice Act).
Allows TPA optometrists to treat hypotrichosis (allowing optometrists to use LATISSE).
Clarifies TPA optometrists may treat blepharitis.
Allows TPA optometrists to give intravenous injection for the purpose of performing ocular angiography under a supervision protocol.
Allows TPA optometrists to collect blood by skin puncture for testing patients for diabetes.
Allows TPA optometrists to use a skin test limited to the superficial layer of the skin to diagnose ocular allergies.
Allows TPA optometrists to use a needle to remove foreign bodies.
Allows glaucoma-certified optometrists to treat steroid-induced glaucoma.
Eliminates many of the protocols in current law and consolidates the referral requirements.
Allows TPA optometrists to administer flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines after receiving training and certification.

If you have any questions, please contact Kristine Shultz at [email protected] or (916) 266-5027.