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Thread: Ohio push for removal of licensure standard?

  1. #1
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Ohio push for removal of licensure standard?

    Anyone know about this? My optician brought it to my attention this morning.

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    The first email I got about it:

    Dear Ohio Opticians

    If you are a licensed optician, you understand and appreciate the study, training, and dedication that it took to become licensed. Being licensed helps to assure that the eye healthcare and safety of Ohio consumers is a priority.

    Unfortunately, some organizations in our state do not see the protection of the consumers as importantly as we do.

    As president of the Opticians Association of Ohio (OAO), I need to bring to your attention a very real threat to the licensure of spectacle, contact lens, and dual licensed opticians in Ohio.

    On December 8th, the Buckeye Institute, an independent research and educational institution (a think-tank), will be proposing that all opticianry licenses in Ohio be eliminated. Not scaled back, not reconsidered, but ELIMINATED. We have been told the House State and Local Government Committee is supposed to accept the report "as is" on December 8th with the dropping of a bill by December 31, 2021.

    Here is a copy off the report:

    Read the entire report if you have time, but if you don’t at least, scroll down to pages 22 and 23 to see what the future holds. The elimination of our license is a very real possibility, but if we take action, and do it swiftly, we may be able to change the course.

    What can we do?

    There is a link below with the names and contacts (click on their photos) of the representatives who will be considering this report. I am asking that you:

    1. Write them a respectful letter, telling them how you feel being licensed helps to protect the public. Do NOT write how important your license is to you, as that will not help the cause. If you have a photo (used w/permission) of patients you have helped, especially due to you being trained/licensed, include those. Photos of damaged eyes, smiling children, special eyewear fitting. will have the greatest impact. We are trying to make a personal connection with the representatives.
    2. Call the representatives' offices and let them know the higher quality of care you deliver by bring licensed
    3. If you work for an optometrist or ophthalmologist, ask them to write these representatives and state of the importance of having trained and licensed optics on their staff
    4. Ask some of your patients to reach out to these representatives as well - especially if they have a connection to any of them.
    5. Follow these representatives on their social media and “like” their pages and recent posts. Get noticed, but keep it professional.


    Important Tip: In all conversations and correspondence, use the word “Healthcare” in the subject and when speaking. Eliminating a healthcare license does not make sense, and if we remind them that we are healthcare, we have a better chance of winning this battle.
    https://ohiohouse.gov/committees/state-and-local-government


    What will NOT help, and it may actually hurt our cause, is a barrage of emails and correspondence to this committee that do not address the safety and protection of the patient and consumer.

    The sole mission of the Opticians Association of Ohio is to advocate for the licensed opticians of Ohio. To do this we need funds and to be honest, our membership is down to a record low.

    JOIN: If you are not a member of the OAO, I implore you to join now. This will be an expensive fight, our membership is at an all-time low. Our legislators look to see how many opticians support this association as a gauge to determine how vested we are in our profession. If you cannot join, consider making a donation to help this cause. If you are already a member and would like to contribute specifically to this fight, your donations will help immensely.

    This is real, and financial resources have never been more needed than today: https://oao.site-ym.com/page/join

    If you read the report, you can see that this is not conjecture, rumblings from the Statehouse, or idle talk. This is real, and they mean to take our licenses. Call your colleagues, friends, and anyone who can help, and let them know what is about to happen. Again, we need to keep this professional, yet, WE NEED TO BE HEARD!
    Bob Alexander, OAO Vice President, Shirley Earley, OAO Executive Director, the entire Board of Directors and myself have been in meeting with the American Board of Opticianry (ABO/NCLE), the Opticians Association of America (OAA) and other state associations to gather information and assistance to aid us in this situation, and they all have pledged to help however they can. At this stage, the most positive outcome will be achieved from the immediate actions of Ohio licensed opticians like yourself.
    If you have any questions, feel free to email me at info@oao.org.
    Please Put "Elimination of Opticianry License" in the subject line.
    Most Sincerely,
    John M. Bruening
    President, Opticians Association of Ohio

    And the second:


    The Opticians Association of Ohio was just informed that the vote to accept the report as written will be tomorrow instead of Wednesday.
    It is imperative that you send (email) your letters and make your phone calls today. Let's keep this from getting into the Bill.
    We will keep you updated as this unfolds.
    OAO Board of Directors


    I have not heard anything about the vote yet






  3. #3
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    Final email: It did not pass. Licenses are still required.


    Fellow opticians, supporters, and advocates:
    The Opticians Association of Ohio is happy to report that the House Committee has voted to continue optician licensure for Ohio opticians.
    This outcome was a direct result of thousands of calls, letters, and emails to the committee that made them aware of the importance of opticianry, especially as it relates to the safety of the public.
    We would also like to especially thank the many optician associations from around the country who offered their support and lent their resources as we challenged this issue,
    Thanks to each and every one of you for helping us maintain the integrity of licensure for Ohio opticians.
    Happy Holidays!

  4. #4
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    AWESOME! Thank you!

  5. #5
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    And a BIG HAT TIP to John Bruening who helped maintain safe and professional eye care in the State of Ohio. No mean feat.

  6. #6
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    And a BIG HAT TIP to John Bruening who helped maintain safe and professional eye care in the State of Ohio. No mean feat.

    +100! John, excellent work! You gave EXCELLENT advice to the Opticians in your state. Having worked on state level licensure issues for many, many years myself, what a great, concise message.

    It takes participation by Opticians to let their legislators know the importance of some form of minimal requirements of dealing with medical devices in their state. And it’s counter productive to mention any personal importance. Make it personal where you can ( Hipaa),
    show “how” you protect the public. How you use your training to ensure the best visual outcomes possible because of your licensure requirements. The main thing is to be vigilant of what your law makers are contemplating, but the most important, and I mean the MOST important is to be vocal! Stand up and be counted! Don’t be apathetic! Apathy is the enemy! Stand together, and always shoot for excellence in your profession.

    Once again John, an excellent example of how to combat the devaluation of Opticianry..

    P.S I know there are some here that think little of licensure. That’s fine, you wanna argue that, do it in a new thread. If that’s your opinion here….Please just STFU…

  7. #7
    OptiBoard Professional OptiBoard Silver Supporter Optical Roy's Avatar
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    Roy W. Jackson, Sr. ABOC

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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    And a BIG HAT TIP to John Bruening who helped maintain safe and professional eye care in the State of Ohio. No mean feat.
    Congratulations to all of those that played a role in this process, but especially to John, who is always a strong leader for Opticianry! To my dear friends Shirley, Tom, and others I have communicated within recent days, you all got through another round together, which is evidence of your hard work and dedication for many years! It takes a solid organization to assure our voices are heard, and I could not be prouder of Ohio!

  9. #9
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    There were crickets from organized optometry, I think.

  10. #10
    Compulsive Truthteller OptiBoard Gold Supporter Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    I always like to follow the money when dealing with state governments.

    How many licensed opticians are there in Ohio paying how much a year and where do the funds go. General revenue?

    That said- I too extend a big congrats to Ohio licensees who worked and spoke up to keep the state licensed as doing nothing would quite possibly have resulted in a different outcome. Many large employers (Chains and Big Box) would love to see our professions licensing requirements eliminated.

  11. #11
    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Are all the internet glasses options also required to license to sell in Ohio?

  12. #12
    Ophthalmic Optician
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    Hey all, thanks for all the support! I don't get on here often, and the last few days were a bit hectic. To answer a few questions:

    -Had the Optical Dispensers Board not have been joined into the Vision Professional Board. (VPB), it is my opinion that we would not have had a snowballs chance in hell to get past this.

    -Optometry in Ohio helped immensely with some well-placed letters and calls from ODs on the VPB, as well as from chain and private practice ODs from across the country.

    -The OAO worked through the night to reach out to legislators we have been building relationships with , and this was another thing that saved our tail.

    -This was not retail nor ODs trying to kill us but politicians trying to score points:
    Republicans: Wanted to show how good they are at chopping out boards and departments to live up to their claim of wanting smaller government.
    Democrats: In a quest to be job creators, want the bar lowered to the point that anyone could trip over it. They claimed it is "too difficult" to become an optician. We said they are right, and we like it that way. They want the progression from Taco Bell to Dr. Belle's office to be much easier.

    -We have a very young OAO board of directors, and they really rose to the occasion, worked the phones, and got the word out. (One of our board of directors was licensed this year and could not wait to join the board.). It is the young folks who are the new movement helping to preserve licensure in Ohio.

    -Bob Alexander, VP of OAO, Shirley Earley, Executive Director of OAO, and especially Marlene Anielski (Executive Director of the PVB) were driving forces behind this effort, and we are all fortunate to have them involved.

    -The OAO board is made up of independent opticians, chain store employees, private practice opticians, and two sales reps (but opticians first).

    -Our license fees, combined with revenue from the OD fees, generate more than $700k for the state of Ohio, which goes into a fund that supports other professions, some of which generate no money at all.

    Hopefully, that answers some of your questions. Thanks again for your support!
    Ophthalmic Optician, Society to Advance Opticianry

  13. #13
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I'm glad optometry didn't ignore this.

    I'm glad combining the Optometry and Opticianry boards has paid dividends.

    What's a prescription for glasses when any numbnuts can "fill" it? Not a prescription at all.

    As has been mentioned, vision care is health care. It needs regulated.

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    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Still curious however, are all internet dispensers of glasses and contacts strictly illegal and banned outright in Ohio?

  15. #15
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post
    Still curious however, are all internet dispensers of glasses and contacts strictly illegal and banned outright in Ohio?
    Uille, I’m sure you know the answer to that and interstate commerce laws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johns View Post
    They claimed it is "too difficult" to become an optician. We said they are right, and we like it that way.
    +1

  17. #17
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Last time I checked (years ago) the bottom line was that dispensing glasses in Ohio to Ohioans required a license.

    If you were an Ohio optical without a license and sold to a person in a non-licensed state, it was none of Ohio's business.

    And if an Ohioan bought glasses from an unlicensed out-of-state supplier, then it wouldn't matter either, because the state regulates suppliers, not buyers.

    So, only "intrastate" supply would count.

    Therefore, I proposed, in order to enhance the coffers of the Vision Professional's Board, each time an unlicensed person in Ohio dispenses to an Ohioan, there should be a $10K fine levied. Win-Win-Win.

  18. #18
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    I will say that here in PA there is no licensing. Anyone off the street could be an "optician." That being said...even when willing to train, the local offices around here can't seem to get anyone to apply. We actually have offices around here that are cutting back on the Dr's schedules because they don't have enough staff to handle it. Crazy world.

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    OptiBoard Professional KrystleClear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mervinek View Post
    I will say that here in PA there is no licensing. Anyone off the street could be an "optician." That being said...even when willing to train, the local offices around here can't seem to get anyone to apply. We actually have offices around here that are cutting back on the Dr's schedules because they don't have enough staff to handle it. Crazy world.
    I was one of those random people off the street! Lol. I get it though. I only know what I know from seeking advice from more experienced veterans in the field and teaching myself all I can, as well as learning a LOT from failures and oopsies. I am studying for the ABO and hope to have a piece of paper within two to three years, even if I have to hire a math tutor. (I'm completely inept with math and I don't feel confident I will be able to memorize all the formulas and then also be able to apply them during the exam.)
    Last edited by KrystleClear; 12-16-2021 at 03:30 PM. Reason: dang typos
    Krystle

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    OptiBoard Professional OptiBoard Silver Supporter Optical Roy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrystleClear View Post
    I was one of those random people off the street! Lol. I get it though. I only know what I know from seeking advice from more experienced veterans in the field and teaching myself all I can, as well as learning a LOT from failures and oopsies. I am studying for the ABO and hope to have a piece of paper within two to three years, even if I have to hire a math tutor. (I'm completely inept with math and I don't feel confident I will be able to memorize all the formulas and then also be able to apply them during the exam.)
    If I can do it, you can, currently studying for my Advanced ABO.
    Roy W. Jackson, Sr. ABOC

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