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Florida Medical Association

Speaker moves ‘Eyeball Wars’ closer to House floor; docs say optometrist testimony ‘patently false’

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Florida’s “Eyeball Wars” between ophthalmologists and optometrists could soon be spilling onto the House floor. On Monday, Speaker Richard Corcoran removed HB 1037 — a controversial bill to allow optometrists to perform surgery, among other things — off the agenda of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee. A representative for Corcoran told POLITICO Florida that the measure, which seeks to expand optometry further into the practice of surgery, was one of 12 bills removed from Appropriations under Rule 7.18(c) because…

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Ophthalmologists ‘disheartened’ by House advancing bill for optometrists to practice surgery

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Optometrists enjoyed a narrow victory Wednesday in Florida’s renewed Eyeball Wars when a House committee advanced a bill to allow optometrists to perform certain types of eye surgery. After a two-hour hearing, the House Health Quality Subcommittee approved HB 1037, sponsored by Rep. Manny Diaz and opposed by both the Florida Society of Ophthalmology and the American College of Surgeons. Diaz, a Republican from Hialeah, argued the bill gives patients in rural areas better access to eye surgery, as well…

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American Surgeons warn House against latest salvo in Florida’s resurgent Eyeball Wars

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Tallahassee has once again found itself in the thick of a renewed Eyeball Wars between optometrists and ophthalmologists. And no less than patient safety in Florida is on the line. After a four-year truce, optometrists have gone back on their word, drafting legislation to allow them to perform surgery; it is a proposal that ophthalmologists, the American College of Surgeons and recent scientific research suggest would be devastating to the long-term eye health for thousands of Floridians. A bill now making…

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Eyeball Wars: It’s all about knowing who takes care of your eyes

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Do you know who is taking care of your eyes? That question is at the heart of “Joanne’s Story” a video about a Vero Beach woman who nearly lost her eyesight after an ophthalmologist caught a rare diagnosis which was missed by her optometrist. Joanne was previously under the care of an optometrist who diagnosed her with a “small cataract.” A retinal surgeon removed the cataract, and Joanne returned to the optometrist for the remainder of her care. After several…

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We told you so; Eyeball Wars set to begin anew

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Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Nearly four years have passed since the truce was called in the decades-long “eyeballs war” between Florida optometrists and ophthalmologists. But with the Legislative Session approaching, that fragile peace seems all but finished. Optometrists are seemingly going back on their word, working behind the scenes to file legislation to allow them to perform surgery, a proposal that scientific research suggests may not be a good idea. Several signs indicate optometrists had become progressively uneasy since…

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FMA agenda: Florida’s doctors want insurance companies to get out of their way

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The Florida Medical Association released its legislative priorities for 2017; removing interference by insurance companies in doctor’s decisions about patient care is prominent on the list. “The FMA believes in promoting the highest standards of medical care, maintaining choice for patients in a free-market health care system, and preserving the sacred relationship between patients and their physicians,” the document says. “The best way to achieve these objectives is by advocating for public policy that establishes fair and transparent insurance markets, reduces…

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Chekhov’s Gun in the Eyeball Wars? Optometrists are lobbied up for 2017

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As Anton Chekhov once said: If it’s not essential, don’t include it in the story. What would the great Russian novelist and playwright make of recent movements in Florida’s seemingly never-neverending Eyeball Wars between ophthalmologists and optometrists? “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off,” Chekhov wrote in 1911. “If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”…

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