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West Virginia Gazette

Section: Perspective

22 March 2009

By: Phil Kabler

March Madness: Some of the most contentious bills over the years have dealt with health-care professions protecting their turf when it comes to authority to perform various procedures. Most recently , there was a tug-of-war among dentists, dental hygienists and dentist assistants over what procedures the latter two could perform without a dentist present.

This year, the fight is between ophthalmologists and optometrists over proposed legislation to allow optometrists (who receive four years of vocational training) to perform certain surgical procedures (primarily, laser surgery) currently restricted to ophthalmologists (who are physicians).

Depending on who you talk to, the disagreement literally got physical last week, following a House Health and Human Resources subcommittee meeting on the legislation (HB2978).

Following the meeting, there was an altercation in the East Wing hallway between Charleston ophthalmologist Dr Lawrence Minardi and Nelson Robinson, who lobbies for the state Optometric Association.

According to those siding with the ophthalmologists, Robinson shoved Minardi.

State Journal

Section: Government

By Walt Williams

Charleston – Eye-care specialists are at odds over a proposed law that would give the state’s optometrists more authority to prescribe medications and perhaps perform some minor surgeries.

The proposal has pitted the West Virginia’s optometrists against nearly the rest of the state’s medical community, which has lined up in opposition to the legislation. However, optometrists said they are seeking what already is available to their counterparts in a majority of states. The legislation’s opponents are mischaracterizing the bill by claiming it would give them the authority to perform eye surgery.

“This bill is not about optometrists doing surgery,” Bill Radcliff, a Huntington optometrist, said. “It’s about changing an antiquated (law) that tries to specifically outline what medication may be provided only now but in the future.”

A bill working its way through the Legislature would give optometrists more authority to prescribe medication and perform minor surgeries, much to the chagrin of ophthalmologists.

Story by Walt Williams
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CHARLESTON  -- Eye-care specialists are at odds over a proposed law that would give the state’s optometrists more authority to prescribe medications and perhaps perform some minor surgeries.

The proposal has pitted the West Virginia’s optometrists against nearly the rest of the state’s medical community, which has lined up in opposition to the legislation. However, optometrists said they are seeking what already is available to their counterparts in a majority of states. The legislation’s opponents are mischaracterizing the bill by claiming it would give them the authority to perform eye surgery.

To evaluate the patient, disease, and tumor characteristics of the 3 morphologically distinct groups of vitreous seeds in retinoblastoma presenting for treatment with ophthalmic artery chemosurgery (OAC): dust (class 1), spheres (class 2), and clouds (class 3) in primary and recurrent vitreous seeds.

To determine the efficacy of topical 5-fluorouracil 1% (5-FU) as a primary treatment of ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN).

To compare the 6-month efficacy and safety profile of an individualized stabilization criteria–driven pro re nata (PRN) regimen of ranibizumab 0.5 mg with or without laser versus laser alone in patients with visual impairment due to macular edema secondary to branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO).

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