Nebraska Advocacy

LB 528

Throughout the history of the profession in Nebraska, optometry-like all other licensed non-MD health professions-has had to pass legislation in order to allow ODs to expand their scope of practice.  Each time, the process of trying to pass such legislation is fought fiercely by organized medicine. As a result, it has traditionally taken 5-8 years to pass each bill, and it has cost tens of thousands of dollars each time related to these successful lobbying efforts.  We think there is a better way to keep up with the rapid evolution of healthcare and optometry.  

LB 528 will create a new process, enabling the Board of Optometry, along with the State Board of Health, to make many of the future decisions about what new procedures, treatments, or methods of delivery should be authorized for the state's licensed ODs.  This bill would put many of the decisions about what is beneficial and safe for the public, and what constitutes appropriate education and training for new authority, into the hands of professionals with expertise in optometry and other health care fields, rather than legislators who have little or no experience in this arena. It would expedite the process of getting decisions made about potential enhancements to the profession's scope of practice and could enable ODs to get more timely approvals for new authority commensurate with advancing standards of patient care.  The bill's goal is to enable ODs to practice to the highest possible level of their training and expertise.  

Talking points and details of the bill are available from the NOA office.    

Telehealth in Nebraska

Public policy in Nebraska related to telemedicine and remote delivery of various healthcare services has lots of implications for optometry.   

On one hand, ODs must be concerned about lack of regulations governing certain technologies that offer remote vision care if those technologies use misleading advertising or unregulated care.  Lack of regulation can put consumers at risk and put licensed ODs at a competitive disadvantage. Some of Optometry's efforts are being directed at establishing laws and regulations, and enforcement, that limit inappropriate use of telemedicine for eye care and vision care.  

At the same time, ODs must be assured of being able to utilize telehealth in the future, and be reimbursed for it.  Efforts by Optometry are also needed to assure that laws and regulations allow ODs and their patients access to telehealth services.