(By Delegates Perdue, Hatfield, Perry, Rodighiero, Staggers, Moye, Phillips, Lawrence, Eldridge, Border, Rowan, Andes, C. Miller and J. Miller)

[Originating in the Committee on Health and Human Resources; reported March 23, 2009.]

Requesting the Committee on Government and Finance to conduct a study on expanding the scope of practice for optometrists.

HEREAS , Access to quality eye and vision care are essential services necessary to all West Virginia citizens; and
HEREAS , Expansion of primary eye care in West Virginia would improve access for citizens to obtain these services; and
Whereas, There is a demonstrated need to examine the possible expansion of the optometry scope of practice; and
HEREAS , Curriculum in all accredited schools of optometry currently includes (but is not limited to); the dispensing of optical and plino lenses, the prescribing of certain pharmaceuticals and other forms of optical practices and procedures; and
Whereas, There are some statutory restrictions that are perceived to be limiting to the practice of Optometry and preventing optometrists from offering some services that they are trained to provide; and
Whereas, The interim study would include a review of other state laws, a comparison of curriculums and various training components available to optometrists, a study of the need for optometrists to order diagnostic and therapeutic laboratory tests; and a discussion of the safety of expanding the scope of practice of optometrists;
HEREAS , It is the intent of the Legislature to obtain input from professional optometric organizations, the West Virginia Board of Optometry, physician entities, including the Board of Medicine and the West Virginia Academy of Opthalmology and other entities that it is determined would be beneficial to the discussions to study the feasibility of the expansion of the optometric scope of practice, any parameters that need to be established to ensure that any expansion of the scope of practice of optometrists would improve the services available and ensure the safety of patients in West Virginia; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study the expansion of the scope of practice for optometrists; and, be it
Further Resolved,
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2010, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.