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AOA House calls for defense of “physician status” in federal law

June 30, 2012

Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians President Lee Carr, O.D. announces the defeat of Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla), author of legislation that, if passed, would have required ODs to declare to patients they are not medical doctors. Dr. Carr made the announcement of the surprise election result at the AOA Presidents’ Council. Read more on the ‘Sullivan bill at http://newsfromaoa.org/2012/01/16/another-dc-based-think-tank-blasts-anti-optometry-sullivan-bill/

The AOA House of Delegates on June 29 passed two resolutions reaffirming the AOA’s commitment to defend the status of optometrists as physicians in federal law. Both resolutions were approved on a roll call vote with every vote cast in favor. The first calls for the AOA Board “to reaffirm and defend the physician status of optometrists by any and all available means.”

The second resolution calls upon the American Optometric Society (AOS) to join the AOA in petitioning a federal judge to correct his June 12, 2012, order stating optometrists “are not physicians.”

That statement was included in a summary judgment ruling issued by U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz in a lawsuit filed by the AOS against the American Board of Optometry.

AOA President Dori Carlson, O.D., said the two unanimous votes, representing every optometrist in the House of Delegates, show the profession is united in its concern about the consequences of the lawsuit and the lawsuit’s potential to set back decades of successful advocacy by the AOA to advance the profession.

“While most of the American Optometric Society lawsuit against the American Board of Optometry has been defeated even before going to trial, the lone remaining claim will damage the profession and disrupt AOA advocacy,” said Dr. Carlson. “The AOS lawsuit is no longer about board certification, rather it is about AOS legal tactics threatening our core identity and our future standing in all aspects of health care. Thus, no matter your personal opinion about board certification, the line has been crossed by the AOS, either by design or failure to consider the dangerous consequences of placing our status as physicians in jeopardy.”

For more coverage, see the AOA News at http://newsfromaoa.org/2012/06/21/aos-court-case-threatens-our-physician-status.

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