TSO Network Update - September 2018

Vol. 7, Issue 9 September 2018 Texas has always been about “Bigger is Better”. When it comes to our scope of practice, that statement falls very short. Texas Optometry is ranked 47th for access to eye care. By contrast, our surrounding states have some of the best access and privileges with Louisiana being first, Oklahoma is third, New Mexico is sixth and Arkansas is seventh. The TOA is gearing up for a big push for increased scope for the next legislative session beginning January. TOA has formed Focus Texas, a group of doctors, patients and citizens who are concerned about the state of eye care in Texas. The U.S. Department of Health and Human services estimates by 2025, the need for advanced eye services will be increase by at least 20 percent, while the number of ophthalmologist is decreasing. “Texas patients are not being treated fairly by our state’s laws. Texas has serious challenges in the delivery of eye care and unreasonably limiting patient’s choices - particularly in rural areas - makes no sense,” said Dr. Jenny Terrell, Texas Optometric Association president, and Focus Chairman’s CORNER - Benny Peña, OD Texas Optometry Scope of Practice Texas board member. “What we want is Texas to catch up to the standards of our surrounding states and empower doctors of optometry to provide the services patients demand. As our population ages, the demand will only increase, and with the number of ophthalmologists decreasing nationally, now is the time to put eye care first and update our laws.” The doctors of TSO have been leaders in our state and for our profession. Our doctors have served on Texas Optometry Board, Texas Optometric Association Board, Past TOA presidents, Our next TOA President, and as City and State government board members. This is an opportunity for us to make a difference for the future of Texas Optometry. Tommy Lucas, OD, chair of the TOA Legislative Center has outlined how to help fix our states access to eyecare 1a) Be a TOA/AOA member. This money supports the TOA’s existence, but also funds our legislative committee apparatus and pays directly for our lobbyists. We will need a large lobby team as we build momentum during session. http:// texas.aoa.org/x7010.xml 1b) Auto-donate each month to TOPAC. This money goes only to legislators’ campaigns and candidate campaigns that we have built or are building relationships with. There is no contribution limit to political giving amounts in Texas. http://texas. aoa.org/x25516.xml 2) Give money as an individual to your local House and Senate legislators/ candidates, as you are getting to know them. Candidates do not have that many actual individual donors, so through the process of giving they will begin to know who you are, while you build a relationship/ friendship with them. This step may also be substituted with giving a check to the key contact OD of a legislator, who already has the well- established relationship, so that those local checks can be bundled and presented at one time. There is no limit to the amount you can give to a Texas political campaign. If you need to know who the key contact OD is for any legislator or candidate, email me at talucas@gmail.com . 3) Donate to Focus Texas, our new non-profit entity that funds our public relations effort to bring awareness to our scope of practice problem. https://www.focustexas.org/donate/ Lets show our state that the Doctors of TSO are committed to supporting this legislation to provide 21st century eyecare to all Texans.