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Thread: Alaska Opticianry Licensing Law Hit Hard

  1. #1
    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Exclamation Alaska Opticianry Licensing Law Hit Hard

    I just got this e-mail from the executive secretary of our association (It came from Bev Harper in Alaska):

    Well it probably had to happen sometime. Unfortunatley it happened here and now. Our current licensure is being obliterated. We are
    going from having to be licensed and to have that licensee on the premisis whether it's an OD's office or Lenscrafters, or an independent
    optician, to a vaugue definition of supervision that can be interpreted to be a phone call away. Meaning we find out that as long as there
    is an Alaska license of some sort, (OD, MD, or Optician) one person can supervise as many locations and people as they want. The
    experience required goes from 6,000 hours to 1,800. The practical test has been taken away completely and the only test required is
    the ABO/NCLE. We are still unclear as of yet whether contact lens fitters such as myself will be accused of practicing Optometry
    without a license or not. Basically the only people that will have to be licensed are independent Opticians. There is a new definition
    called "Opticians assistant", that basically says any license can delegate any task to an "Opticians assistant" as long as the licensee takes
    reponsiblility for those peoples actions. IE voluntary licensing for everyone but a independent Optician.
    Comments?



    :cheers: Jerry
    The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground

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    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Exclamation Another e-mail came with this information:

    HCS CSSB 270(L&C)


    HOUSE CS FOR CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 270(L&C)


    IN THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA

    TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE - SECOND SESSION



    BY THE HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE

    Offered: 5/9/02
    Referred: Finance

    Sponsor(s): SENATE RULES COMMITTEE BY REQUEST OF THE LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND
    AUDIT COMMITTEE



    A BILL




    FOR AN ACT ENTITLED

    "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Dispensing Opticians;
    relating

    to the regulation of dispensing opticians; and providing for an effective
    date."




    BE IT ENACTED BY THE STATE OF ALASKA:
    * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding
    a new section
    to read:
    FINDINGS; INTENT. (a) The legislature finds that the Board of Dispensing
    Opticians has not collected sufficient fees in recent years to cover its
    costs and may not have
    been complying properly with AS 08.01.065 (c).
    (b) It is the intent of the legislature that, during the next review of the
    board under
    AS 44.66.050 , an analysis and determination be made about the extent to
    which the board is
    complying with AS 08.01.065 (c) and what factors, if any, hamper the board's
    ability to cover
    its costs with fee collections.
    * Sec. 2. AS 08.03.010 (c)(9) is amended to read:
    (9) Board of Dispensing Opticians (AS 08.71.010 ) -- June 30, 2004
    [2002];
    * Sec. 3. AS 08.71.055 is amended to read:
    Sec. 08.71.055. Powers and duties. The board shall have the following
    powers and duties:
    (1) to [EXAMINE AND] issue licenses to applicants;
    (2) to renew licenses;
    (3) to hold hearings and order disciplinary sanctions against a person
    who violates this chapter or the regulations of the board;
    (4) to supply forms for applications, licenses, and other needed
    documents;
    (5) to keep a record of all proceedings open to the public, including the
    name of each license applicant [FOR EXAMINATION] and each licensee;
    (6) to enforce the provisions of this chapter and adopt or amend
    regulations necessary to make these provisions effective.
    * Sec. 4. AS 08.71.080 is amended to read:
    Sec. 08.71.080. License required. A person may not act as a dispensing
    optician in the state unless the person is licensed under this chapter. [IN
    ORDER TO
    BE LICENSED UNDER THIS CHAPTER, A PERSON SHALL PASS AN
    EXAMINATION GIVEN BY THE BOARD UNLESS THE PERSON IS ELIGIBLE
    FOR LICENSING WITHOUT EXAMINATION UNDER AS 08.71.145 .] A license
    shall be issued for (1) the dispensing of contact lenses, or (2) the
    dispensing of other
    lenses, eyeglasses, spectacles, artificial eyes, and their appurtenances, or
    (3) both. The
    board shall by endorsement on the license designate for which aspect of
    dispensing
    opticianry the license is issued. [THE BOARD SHALL LICENSE SUCCESSFUL
    EXAMINEES.]
    * Sec. 5. AS 08.71.090 is repealed and reenacted to read:
    Sec. 08.71.090. Examination requirement. To be licensed to dispense
    contact lenses, a person, unless eligible for licensing under AS 08.71.145 ,
    shall
    document to the board that the person has passed the contact lens registry
    examination
    offered by the National Contact Lens Examiners with a score acceptable to
    the board.
    In order to be licensed to dispense other lenses, eyeglasses, spectacles,
    artificial eyes,
    and their appurtenances, a person, unless eligible for licensing under AS
    08.71.145 ,
    shall document to the board that the person has passed the national
    opticianry
    competency examination offered by the American Board of Opticianry with a
    score
    acceptable to the board. An applicant for licensure in both areas shall
    document
    having received a score acceptable to the board on both examinations. The
    board
    shall, by regulation, establish the scores that will be acceptable for the
    examinations
    described in this section.
    * Sec. 6. AS 08.71.110 is amended to read:
    Sec. 08.71.110. Qualifications for licensure [OF APPLICANTS FOR
    EXAMINATION]. (a) The board may issue a license to a [A] person [IS
    ENTITLED TO TAKE THE EXAMINATION] who
    (1) has had education equivalent to four years attendance at a high
    school;
    (2) has either
    (A) completed at least 1,800 [6,000] hours of training as an
    apprentice after registering with the department as an apprentice; or
    (B) been engaged for at least 1,800 [6,000] hours as a
    practicing optician in good standing in a state, territory, district, or
    possession
    of the United States; [AND]
    (3) has passed the applicable examination required under
    AS 08.71.090 with a score acceptable to the board;
    (4) has passed a course designated in the board's regulations as
    being acceptable; and
    (5) has paid the required license [EXAMINATION] fee.
    (b) Graduation from an associate degree program in a recognized school or
    college of opticianry may be substituted for [4,000 OF] the [6,000 HOURS OF]
    experience required by (a)(2) and (4) of this section.
    * Sec. 7. AS 08.71.120 is amended to read:
    Sec. 08.71.120. Fees. The department shall set fees under AS 08.01.065 for
    [EXAMINATION,] initial license [,] and license renewal.
    * Sec. 8. AS 08.71.130 (c) is amended to read:
    (c) If the license remains lapsed for more than one year, the board may
    require
    the applicant to retake and successfully pass again the applicable
    examination or
    examinations required [BE EXAMINED] under AS 08.71.090 .
    * Sec. 9. AS 08.71.145 is amended to read:
    Sec. 08.71.145. Licensure by credentials. A person with a valid license as a
    dispensing optician from another state, territory, district, or possession
    of the United
    States with licensing requirements substantially equivalent to or higher
    than those of
    this state shall be issued a license under this chapter [WITHOUT
    EXAMINATION]
    for those professional areas in which the person is licensed in the other
    jurisdiction
    upon payment of any fee and documentation that the board may require by
    regulation.
    * Sec. 10. AS 08.71.160 (a) is amended to read:
    (a) A person may be employed by or serve under a licensed physician,
    optometrist, or dispensing optician as an apprentice for dispensing optician
    tasks.
    An apprentice shall register with the department before beginning employment
    or
    service as an apprentice, shall be designated as such in the records of the
    board, and
    shall be in training [AND] under the [DIRECT] supervision of a licensed
    physician,
    optometrist, or dispensing optician. Notwithstanding AS 08.71.180 , a
    registered
    apprentice may perform dispensing optician tasks that are delegated by and
    performed under the supervision of the licensed physician, optometrist, or
    dispensing optician and may use the title "dispensing optician apprentice."
    [UNDER THIS SECTION A PERSON MAY NOT APPRENTICE FOR LONGER
    THAN SIX YEARS UNLESS THE BOARD DETERMINES THAT THE PERSON
    IS PREVENTED BY CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE PERSON'S CONTROL
    FROM OBTAINING A LICENSE AS A DISPENSING OPTICIAN WITHIN THAT
    TIME.]
    * Sec. 11. AS 08.71 is amended by adding new sections to article 2 to read:
    Sec. 08.71.163. Dispensing optician's assistant. Notwithstanding
    AS 08.71.180 , a person who is not a licensed dispensing optician or a
    registered
    apprentice under AS 08.71.160 may perform dispensing optician tasks that are
    delegated by and performed under the supervision of a licensed physician,
    optometrist,
    or dispensing optician. The hours spent as an assistant under this section
    may not be
    counted toward satisfaction of the training requirement in AS 08.71.110 (a),
    and the
    assistant may not use a title that includes the word "optician" or
    "opticianry."
    Sec. 08.71.165. Delegation authorized. A licensed physician, optometrist, or
    dispensing optician may delegate dispensing optician tasks to an apprentice
    or
    assistant. The licensee shall supervise the performance of the delegated
    tasks and
    retains responsibility for the proper performance of the delegated tasks.
    * Sec. 12. AS 08.71.100 is repealed.
    * Sec. 13. This Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070 (c).



    :shiner: Jerry
    The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground

  3. #3
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    Legislative Attack

    It is indeed a shame, but as Bev said, it was inevitable. She and Larry have done a great deal to upgrade Opticianry and now we need to do something for them! Bev, let me know if I can help. I feel as though we all must come together soon or it will be too late for us all as a profession. We have watered ourselves down so much that it had to happen. One of the main reasons Opticians were licensed in so many states was because of the potential for injury from the fitting of contact lenses. So many didn't want to fit them that it turned into a "second certification". In other words it became unnecessary for someone who called themself an Optician to fit contact lenses. Our primary evaluation of competence is an ABO exam that we taught a secretary to pass in 6 months in an experiment. The average pass rate for those taking the exam is only 66% (approximate numbers). Our main task is the selling of spectacles. Spectacles are perceived as something that will do no harm by the general populace. Why should that require a license. You and I know better, but it takes a concerted effort to prove our point. All is not lost, we can improve through efforts similar to Optometry's development years ago. We must educate and THEN legislate ourselves to a higher rung on the ladder. It is sad this has happened, and I for one want to improve things. I know all on this board agree. I am devastated for Alaska.

  4. #4
    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    Where are the National Orgs when you need them..

    I hate to start throwing stones again but the above question begs an answer.Someone's asleep at the switch again.I can forgive them for not being aware of this, but now its in the open, what stance are they taking and how are they countering this.

    If I were an optician in Alaska, I would organize a statewide strike of about a month's duration.No Optician works..................Period.I'm talking wholesale labs-I'm talking retail, I'm talking about everyone who has something to lose if this legislation passes.

    Let the everyone know why you are striking.Let the legislature hear from those who need glasses and can't get them.Let the legislature hear from the opticians in a way that they will remember.

    Jerry-this is why you must be careful when altering state law.....Who, or what do you think may be behind this??......Some retail companies perhaps?....Maybe its even one of the "other" 2 O's? Food for thought.

    hj
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    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Harry

    Your point is well taken. Dangers of loosing ground are too risky in revamping a bill unless the public demands the quality care they get from a licensed certified formally educated Optician. Warren says it well:

    Spectacles are perceived as
    something that will do no harm by the general populace. Why should
    that require a license. You and I know better, but it takes a
    concerted effort to prove our point. All is not lost, we can improve
    through efforts similar to Optometry's development years ago. We
    must educate and THEN legislate ourselves to a higher rung on the
    ladder. It is sad this has happened, and I for one want to improve
    things. I know all on this board agree. I am devastated for Alaska.
    I too am deeply sorry for this reversal of a good law. The legislature certainly was not looking out for the public's interest. Another example of money instead of values controlling law.

    If any one reading this forum has a feeling of outrage for what this could do to you as a consumer or a professional in the ophthalmic field you should get involved and contact your legislative representative and make sure your voice is heard.

    I want to live in a society where I know I am getting the highest quality heath care and it is not dictated by insurance companies, big chain merchants or professional groups trying to squash the indepentent practitioner.




    :cheers: Jerry
    The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground

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    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    I hate to keep using the term fait acompli....

    But I don't think this has passed through the legislature yet-I may be wrong but all I think you posted was the bill.In any event it probably isn't too late for the state society to act and certainly now, the " powers that be"Where is the Alaska society in all of this and what do they need for support from the lower 48?I know we have people from Alaska that have posted on this board.Where are they????
    hj
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    A few years ago I was at the Virginia General Assembly to defend Opticianry and I spent some time with the lobbyist for both the Md's and Od's, at that time they told me it would be only a matter of time before we lost our license in Virginia. I replied that I hoped it would be sooner rather then later. I asked them to please convince the General Assembly that spectacles were merely a commodity (like a toaster) because if the General Assembly bought it, I could and would start refracting the next day. The fact that we are better business people then they are would mean that they would have to come to us for referals! They have been very supportive of opticianary every since. They are not stupid they know if the end product (spectacles) doesn't matter then how you determine what that product should be (refraction), doesn't matter. How can a bad refraction be any worse then a poorly made pair of spectacles? I am not trying to deminish the concerns of all Licensed Opticians, but I think it's time for us to remind them how vulnerable their arrogance makes them.

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    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Jon

    Touche`








    :cheers: Jerry
    The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground

  9. #9
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    Jon

    I could not agree more with your insightful statements. I even wrote of the arrogance of licensed states being their downfall on an e-mail forum of OAA state leaders.

    Of course I got no response.

    If we could convince the FDA that eyeglass lenses no longer need a prescription because they have a long, documentable history of not harming the public even when misdispensed and/or transcription error occur, then we have created a whole new ballgame!

    If, however, the prescription writers then attmept to prove the need to maintain the prescription status of ophthalmic lenses, then they at the same time have proved the case for a national license for all ophthalmic lens dispensers.

    Let's push for deregulation and see what happens.

  10. #10
    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Big Smile What a turn

    I love the twist this could take. In another thread I made a remark about opening up the licensing law and was informed of the danger of loosing it. Maybe looking at the law in this manner would pull in allies from Optometry and Ophthalmology. Great ideas here!



    :cheers: Jerry
    The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground

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    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    Get over to General Discussion

    All interested Partys go to Gen Discussion and write the gov,

    http://www.optiboard.com/forums/show...&threadid=4668
    hj
    Last edited by hcjilson; 05-16-2002 at 02:31 PM.
    "Always laugh when you can. It is a cheap medicine"
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  12. #12
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    A response ....

    from and ABOM optician in Colorado where I shared this thread:

    I'm sorry, but I think the Alaska opticians need a little cheese with their whine. Let's have a little reality check here! Over half the states don't have any competency requirements at all, let alone Alaska's proposed 1800 hrs. Trade restrictive legislation is exactly what has given opticianry licensing a "black eye" across the country. Opticians need to worry about uniform education and competency rather than who works for whom. Commercial optometry was once thought taboo, but now is accepted equally in the AOA. Optometrists in retail settings [yes even in Walmart and LensCrafters] are performing the same procedures as private practice optometrists and competing in the marketplace. Alaska opticians that fit contact lenses should promote an additional NCLE requirement and embrace the ABOC for their licensing exam, rather than some arbitrary testing that may or may not be reflective of the state of the art, at least in the "lower 50" states. Sadly, you'll notice that the Alaska opticians were genuinely "put out" that anyone would suggest the ABOC as their minimum competency licensing requirement. This is the kind of attitude on the part of existing licensed states that will keep opticianry forever fractured! Rich K.

  13. #13
    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Question Why should we deny support

    for a state that embraces a higher standard in their licensing law? True their are many states that have no licensing at all but any attack on a law that creates a better quality of dispensers because it requires continuing education and it tests for competency is not in the interest of the consumer or the profession. Some states have practical exams as part of their requirement for licensing but because Ohio doesn't, I don't feel those states with practicals deserve to be knocked down to a lower level so that they meet my state's standards. I applaud their efforts of raising the standard and hope someday we in Ohio can also raise the standard. It hasn't been that long ago that Ohio was not using the ABO certification test for its licensing exam. Moving beyond our stately lines is important for unification and progress of our profession.


    Jerry
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  14. #14
    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    An unmoderatorlike post!

    The post below was written in haste, and in anger.It is less than charitable to a valued member of this Board.I didn't mean for him to take it personally.....I meant for the reader to take it personally....Homer just happened to be there.I'm letting it stand with that apology.

    Homer,

    If you truly believed all the pap you have been talking during the past few months-you would have written the governor of Alaska before making that self serving post.Easy to sit there throwing stones from your ABOM non licensed state.Big deal! you had a modicum of knowledge and the price to get the wallpaper.What have you guys in Colorado done lately to move up in the world.Are you trying to knock a state that at least has given it a shot? Where is all the fire you had a few months ago? A couple of months ago you were hell bent on organizing the country-now you let an assault on your profession, by at least one of the three O's slide..You would do better not to whine about the whiners and do something that is within your power to do.Write your feelings about why you think licensing should be protected if indeed you have them, and pass them along to Alaska.If,in fact, you really have no concern about that, do us a favor and shut up.

    I would remind you that Alaska embraced the ABO long before you did, and at least thought it necessary to HAVE Minimum competency standards.You can do something positive here, or you can sit back on your butt and complain the way most of your fellow opticians do.Take some Action Homer-Put up or shut up! No Guts No Glory!( an old Colorado expression) Write the governor, and put your eloquence to work!.

    From a disappointed harry j
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  15. #15
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    Whooh now.......

    let's take it a little easy here, Harry! Remember, I am just a messenger in this case. I put this thread out by e-mail to a variety of opticians in Colorado and so far I have two responses. One was a copy of a letter sent to the governor in support of Alaska's position. The other one, because of it's unique perspective, I copied here just to see what ya'll would say.

    I am putting together my letter to the governor tonight. Thanks for encouraging everyone to do so, Harry.

    Other, big-picture, subject will have to wait until this is over.

    later ......

  16. #16
    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    I owe Homer an aplogy!

    I have given it to him by PM.There is absolutely no excuse for my breach of manners in the above post. The inability to articulate when frustrated is one of my larger character defects.I am sorry to all who took justified offense at my remarks.

    On a more positive note....I did have a good night sleep and am encouraged by what Homer has written. I feel much better this morning.

    best from hj
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  17. #17
    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Homer

    I am glad to hear that you are forwarding this thread on to other opticians. We need better communication between us. It seems that in the past we have been to isolated. The internet has allowed us to have dialogue on issues like this one.



    :cheers: Jerry
    The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground

  18. #18
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    Certification in Alaska

    I worked in Alaska for about 2 years in the early 90's. At that time there were about 75 opticians (licensed, apprenticed or otherwise) in the state, and that may be a stretch.

    At the time, I was ABO certified, had been in the biz for +/-20 years. I, because of my relationship to my employer, investigated getting 'licensed' in Alaska to portend my assumed and worked for professionalism. The then head of licensure stated I would need to do the required apprenticeship under a licensed optician...at the time I believe that was 3000 hrs (or was that in Massachusetts), and I would have to take the ABO exam again. I begged to differ with him as the required 'other' standards (letters of employment from Dr's, MD and OD) had been met as well as the written testing. I rationalized taking the oral portion was enough; also, my licensed mentor had been grandfathered into the total of licensed optians, as had been the other holders of licenses in my shop. I never met anybody (remember Alaska is large, but most biz is conducted in Anchorage area and Fairbanks) who had taken/met the required apprenticeship at that time.

    I have friend who is in Alaska for the 2nd time and is having much the same experience as I experienced, and now has actually improved the knowledge, effectively trained/worked alongside these same people for most of the last decade.

    His and my response to the dilemma is ,"it's about time." Current law is restraint of trade AND employment. the reduction of hours necessary isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the bad /restrictive posture of the board has been and will continue to be bad until it recognizes the efforts of those who have put in the time and effort.

    Is the new procedure fraught with inequities? Yes...but those who haven't dedicated themselves to the job will be found out soon enough and their tenure will be short lived...just like any other profession.

  19. #19
    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Duane

    You have legitimate complaints. I think that rule changes in the law would be a better way to deal with situations you experienced instead of gutting a license that would allow even more incompetence in a profession that is struggling to be competent in the publics eye.




    :cheers: Jerry
    The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground

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