Let us thank Dr. Brandon Friedman, Dr. Brian Higa, Dr. Ida Chung, and Dr. Munish Sharma for attending COA Legislative Day on behalf of IEOS on March 27, 2024

This year's COA Legislative Day focused on three primary topics concerning Optometry:

1) Medi-Cal Reimburse Rates- The current Medi-Cal rates have not been increased in over two decades and rank near the bottom of all states despite California having one of the highest costs of living.  A budget proposal brought forward by the Governor's office would increase Medi-Cal rates for vision providers to 100% of Medicare rates!  This would be funded by the Managed Care Organization (MCO) Tax and is not part of the state's general fund.  Lawmakers were largely receptive to this request but acknowledged some concern given the increasing size of the budget deficit.  The budget is passed in June and it is critical that Optometry continues to be included in the rate increases.  If the budget passes as proposed the rate increases would go into effect in 2025.

2) Prison Industry Authority (PIA) Lab Choice SB340 (Senator Susan Eggman)- Turnaround times from PIA labs have resulted in significant delays in providing prescription eyewear to the Medi-Cal population.  This is especially impactful on pediatric patients who need vision correction while in school.  Presently vision providers are required to send Medi-Cal prescription eyewear orders to PIA fabricating labs.  SB340 would allow providers the choice of sending these jobs to private labs.  

3) Scope of Practice-  There is not currently a bill number assigned to the scope of practice bill.  But a bill is very likely to be presented in the next legislative session that would remove restrictions on certain services that doctors of Optometry are trained to provide.  

COA is asking that any IEOS members who may have personal relationships with their local lawmakers reach out to discuss these important topics.  COA's top priority is the Medi-Cal rate increase.