A Win For Arkansas. How about Texas?

A Win For Arkansas. How about Texas?

A Win For Arkansas. How about Texas?

Two years ago, the legislature for Arkansas passed Act 579, which expanded the scope for optometry in their state to include SLTs, YAG capsulotomies, lid lesion, and chalazion removal. It was quite a fantastic time for their optometrists and an incredible political win. This victory brought huge amounts of attention from the AMA, and they began pouring money into a political action called “Safe Surgery Arkansas,” which was a referendum to bring a public vote on Act 579.

Chairman’s CORNER
– Reid Robertson, OD

I can only imagine the smear campaign that would have ensued against all of optometry if this had happened. Luckily, Arkansas’s optometrists continued to raise money and fight against this referendum, and it ultimately did not pass.

I happily donated to help the optometrists of Arkansas fight against ophthalmology when they tried to hold back our colleagues from serving and treating their patients. It is incredible that they were able to win politically and expand their scope of practice. It is something that we have dreamed about for years in Texas.

I have several friends in optometry that have gotten a little frustrated and jaded with the lack of progress from the TOA in their efforts to expand our scope. My response is always to tell them to get out the checkbook and give money to the TOA. Progress takes extraordinary effort, time, consistency, relationships, and boatloads of money. Trying to move forward without any of those assets eliminates our ability to succeed. We have had setbacks and failures politically, as anyone will, but I am proud to see the achievement that Arkansas’s optometrists have been able to realize.

As a proud Texan, I am a little insulted to see the scope of all our neighboring states expand while we trail behind. We have had a recent victory as an incumbent Texas legislator who was also an ophthalmologist and who was instrumental in striking down many of our political actions was not re-elected. We need to make sure that we do our part to help. We have some amazingly active optometrists fighting for our cause, but we need to give some money.

Dr. Mario Contaldi, our current TOA president, recently stated that if each optometrist in Texas gave $50 a month, we would have more money for political activism than the entire AMA! I encourage all of our doctors to please give to the TOA PAC fund. It is the key to not only expand our scope of practice but also to preserve the privileges which we currently have.