• Federal Scope of Practice

    What We Told You in February

    Optometry has an agenda in several federal institutions, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the Indian Health Service, where it could seek to change standards of care.

    What’s Happening Today

    April Ma, MD, VA presentation
    April Y. Maa, MD, a Veterans Affairs ophthalmologist, showcases the groundbreaking Technology-based Eye Care Services (TECS) platform. The VA is deploying TECS in Atlanta and other facilities across the nation, expanding critical access to veterans' vision screening services.

    On the surface, this has been a quiet issue. But behind the scenes, it’s anything but that. Optometry, during its federal advocacy day in Washington, D.C., focused on veterans’ eye care issues and once again raised concerns about the VA’s innovative Technology-based Eye Care Services (TECS) program. The TECS program, which was developed by VA ophthalmologists, is expanding access to basic eye care services for rural veterans, with more veterans’ health facilities across the country adopting this groundbreaking tool.

    Optometry also continues to bring up federal scope-of-practice restrictions in its conversations with lawmakers. Among them is a VA directive that states that only ophthalmologists will perform laser surgery in VA facilities. The Academy expects that optometry will seek to block the directive’s renewal when it comes up in 2020. So while this issue may not be on our advocacy front burner yet, it’s very much in play. And the Academy is watching closely.