Dr. Hudson Endorse Sb 440 for Progressive Eye Care in New Hampshire

Dr. Hudson: Endorse Sb 440 for Progressive Eye Care in New Hampshire

When you require an eye care operation, you want it performed by a reputable eye specialist who has the necessary education and shown expertise. Does this mean you’ll require an ophthalmologist for any eye-related procedure?

Senate Bill 440 seeks to revise the New Hampshire statute to allow optometrists to practice to the full extent of their training and education, by national optometric standards. It will allow optometrists to perform more in-office operations in New Hampshire. Healthcare is not the same as it was 25 years ago, and regulations should reflect these long-standing changes.

Doctors who want to conduct these procedures must demonstrate proficiency through a process specified by the state regulatory board, as is typical across all healthcare boards in New Hampshire. No doctor will do such an operation without significant schooling, laboratory training, and hands-on, supervised experience.

Dr. Warren Goldblatt’s statement, published on March 31, is false and intended to instill fear and disparage optometry to maintain ophthalmology dominance over the scope of practice. Our healthcare system works best when all practitioners use their entire education and training.

Access to care is a challenge throughout New Hampshire, and it will only increase as our population ages. Technology advancements provide new treatment alternatives in all healthcare sectors, and our people would suffer if practitioners were not allowed to provide these updates. Health care cannot and should not stand still.

Every day, doctorate and non-doctoral level healthcare professionals in New Hampshire undertake a variety of small procedures. Doctors of optometry have been doing in-office surgical operations in New Hampshire and across the country for decades.

This effort’s extended operations include the excision of benign eyelid lesions (skin tags, for example), which is already done in 18 other states, and laser-aided procedures, which are now performed in 12 states. These precise treatments, which have been performed by optometrists in these states for over 25 years, have proven to be safe and successful.

Optometry schools have been teaching these techniques for decades, but in New Hampshire, practitioners are barred by outmoded legislation and must refer patients to ophthalmologists. This results in more appointments, duplicate care, higher costs, care delays, and wasted travel time and expenses. In some sections of New Hampshire, care waits might last months, with travel times of hours.

This is difficult if you’re asking a neighbor, friend, or family member to drive you. Some optometrists have come to New Hampshire after years of practice in other states, however, they are not allowed to conduct these treatments in New Hampshire.

SB 440 is rational and should pass the New Hampshire House the same way it passed the Senate, out of committee with a unanimous ought to pass recommendation. Our politicians spend a lot of time and effort researching and understanding tough topics to make decisions on our behalf. I am convinced that SB 440 will be passed on its merits.

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