Scope of Practice Issues
Written by Legislative Consultant, Bruce Hironimus

POMA Past President and current POMPAC Chairman Dr. George Vermeire, in concert with Legislative Counsel Bruce Hironimus, participated in ongoing lobbying efforts against the expansion of licensure privileges for certified registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Direct communication with more than a dozen key House members were conducted at a recent event supported by POMPAC.

Our direct lobbying efforts will continue during the coming months and be enhanced with a companion public affairs initiative focusing on media outreach efforts. Please continue to express your opposition on these initiatives to elected officials.


Upcoming Legislative Actions

On 6/11/2018, the Senate is expected to amend and have a floor vote on SB 780 which authorizes the practice of telemedicine and provides for insurance coverage. House Health Committee Chairman Kathy Rapp has scheduled HB 2211 for consideration on 6/12/2018 along with Rep. Doyle Heffley's companion bill. The Consumer Prescription Drug Pricing Disclosure Act HB 2211, provides for consumer
prescription drug pricing disclosure by stating a pharmacy or pharmacist shall have the right to provide a covered individual with all available information concerning the cost of a prescription drug, including, but not limited to, the individual's cost share.

Legislative Actions

The House Professional Licensure Committee moved HB 1805 from committee on 6/6/2018. The committee previously held a public hearing on this bill. The Surgical Technologist Regulation Act regulates the practice of surgical technology and surgical technologists and provides for the practice of surgical technologists in healthcare facilities in the Commonwealth. Further provides for requirements for healthcare facilities and for continuing education. This also provides that the Department of Health shall enforce the provisions of the act. The bill was reported as committed with a request to re-refer to the Health Committee.

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee moved SB 668 and was reported as amended by a vote of 10-4. The bill amends the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act amending the definition of "practice of optometry" to include health care services related to the eye and vision care services including the supply and preparation of eyeglasses. It further provides the practice of
optometry includes the administration and prescription of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of diseases and conditions of the eye. It also allows an optometrist to order an imaging test appropriate for diagnosis and treatment of a disease or condition of the human visual system. The bill clarifies that optometrists may not perform surgery and that any insurance procedure and billing code may not be used to define surgery. Further consideration of the bill remains uncertain.

Budget Update 

An agreement on the state General Appropriations budget has been reached by the Senate, House and Governor. It is conceivable adoption could occur as early as the third week in June.  Negotiations are ongoing on the accompanying Administrative, Fiscal and Human Services Code bills.  We will continue to monitor these negotiations on relevant issues.