The American Optician

Summer 2017

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1 3 I n a legislative move that has many opticians and industry observers bewildered, the Ohio State legislature voted to consolidate the Ohio State Board of Optometry and the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board. If there is no change to this situation by the end of the year, the two boards will be combined January 1, 2018. Most states that license opticians did so in the 1950s and early '60s. Over the last 30 or so years, no additional states have licensed them. In addition, the climate for licensing and regulating professions has become much more stringent, and in recent years, there have been strong efforts to reduce or eliminate professional regulation. A quick search on the internet brings a host of recent documents extolling the evils of professional and occupational regulation. Here are four: • Right to Make a Living • Unnecessary Licenses are Killing Jobs • Unnecessary Licensing • White House: Reducing Unnecessary Occupational Licenses Read more about deregulation activities occurring around the country here . Tom Barracato, a current Ohio Optical Dispensers Board member, explained, "There is a misconception that licensing boards have been established to protect current license holders and make it hard for new people to enter. The mission of a regulatory board is to protect the consumer's health, safety and welfare, not protectionism for the profession. The board's responsibilities are to ensure qualified applicants are entering the profession and licensees are providing quality care. The board does this through creating and enforcing regulations." He added, "In 2016, 20 boards were identified for elimination/consolidation. A bill was also introduced to combine four boards: optometry, opticianry, audiology and speech pathology. That bill died for lack of support. Early this year, a proposal for combining the opticianry and optometry boards was contained in the governor's budget bill, which the C O L L A B O R AT I O N Ohio Unites Opticianry and Optometry Boards -10.00D TO -0.50D +0.50D TO +6.00D NOW AVAILABLE: PLUS POWERS! DAILIES TOTAL1 ® CONTACT LENSES PERFORMANCE DRIVEN BY SCIENCE ª NOW IN PLUS POWERS NOW IN PLUS POWERS NOW IN PLUS POWERS NOW IN PLUS POWERS NOW IN PLUS POWERS NOW IN PLUS POWERS See product instructions for complete wear, care and safety information. © 2015 Novartis 08/15 DAL15097JAD legislature passed, even over numerous opinions that these optical competitors should not be combined. No other Ohio boards were altered. Barracato revealed, "At this point, the new combined board will have four optometrists, two opticians and one public member. Unless this mix changes before January 1, the opticians on this board will be a voting minority." Stay tuned for further developments. Chris Allen is executive director of the Opticians Association of America.

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