Governor Bill Walker Signs HB 103 Into Law
The "Optometry and Optometrists" bill, HB 103, was signed into law on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
HB 103 will give the Alaska Board of Examiners in Optometry the authority to write regulations commensurate with what is taught at accredited schools and colleges of Optometry. It will eliminate the need for Optometry to go to the Alaska State Legislature for statute changes as Optometric education and technology advances. This type of Board authority is consistent with how other health care professions are regulated in Alaska.
The passage of HB 103 is a victory for Alaskans throughout the state. HB 103 will give the Alaska Board of Examiners in Optometry the authority to write regulations allowing Optometrists to practice to the highest level of their education; the current statute restricts Optometrists from performing procedures that they are educated to perform.
The bill, which was co-sponsored by Representative Ivy Spohnholz and Senator Cathy Giessel, will increase access to quality eye care for all Alaskans, and especially for rural Alaskans. Increased access to care will help reduce both direct and indirect costs to patients and to insurance providers.
At this time the current regulations governing the practice of Optometry are still in place and there are no changes in the scope of practice for Optometry. Until new regulations are written and enacted, Optometric practice in Alaska has not changed.
To read the bill and its history go to: akleg.gov