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West Virginia Scope of Practice Expansion Bills Under Study

May 2009

Optometric Management (

Although identical House (H.B. 2978) and Senate (S.B. 570) optometric scope-of-practice expansion bills before the West Virginia legislature didn’t pass during the state’s last legislative session, the Legislative Interim committee will study the subject, as per House Concurrent Resolution 46 (visit

The House and Senate bills were designed to lift practice restrictions on the state’s licensed O.D.s, while allowing the state Board of Optometry to regulate practice in West Virginia. (Visit to view the House bill, which again, is the same as the Senate Bill.)

“The current scope of practice law is antiquated, given the evolvement of medical technology, which has translated to new training at accredited optometry schools,” says Chad D. Robinson, executive director of the West Virginia Optometric Association (WVOA). “The bills seek to allow an optometrist licensed in West Virginia to practice what they have been taught in or properly trained in through an accredited school of optometry. In other words, if the optometrist is properly trained in a specific clinical practice, these bills say he should be able to perform that clinical practice in West Virginia.”

An example of a clinical practice in which several O.D.s have undergone training, though the current law doesn’t allow: Injectable drugs for age-related macular degeneration.

Mr. Robinson adds that West Virginia O.D.s believe that patients will receive better care and more access to eye care in the state with these restrictions lifted.

The Legislative Interim Committee, comprised of House and Senate members, meet monthly to study topics that have been decided at Session’s end.

If the committee can come up with a proposal, they’ll make these recommendations to the full body of the Legislature. This could be the agreed upon bill language. The 2010 legislative session begins in the second week of January.

“We will know more later this year,” says Mr. Robinson. “Our association is determined to work on this issue until it’s resolved.”

Dr. Larry Minardi was interviewed by Deborah Linz of WCHS/Fox News in Charleston on January 14, 2009. The three-minute interview was shown during the 10:00 p.m. Fox News and the 11:00 p.m. WCHS news on Wednesday, January 15--the first day of the legislative session. Greg Moore, OD was interviewed for the optometrists.
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This resolution was passed by the House Health and Human Resouces Committee on March 23 for an interim study on the issue.

You can view HCR 46 here.
March 22, 2009
Settlement resolves wrongful firing claim

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A settlement of nearly $100,000 has been paid to former West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board administrative law judge Tom Gillooly to resolve his wrongful firing claim.

Gillooly was fired without explanation by the board in August, one month after he had raised questions with the West Virginia State Bar about two other board ALJs, Brenda Gould and Denise Spatafore, having inactive status as lawyers.


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