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Up-to-date info on MOA legislative advocacy efforts and issues impacting Maryland Optometry.

 

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The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - Politics as Usual

Posted By Linda Cohen, Tuesday, December 4, 2018

             Click HERE to sign up for our ODs Storm Annapolis Days!

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The 7 Vision Plan Sins

Posted By Linda Cohen, Tuesday, November 27, 2018

 

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Tuesday Talk - Thanksgiving Edition

Posted By Linda Cohen, Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanksgiving Week Tuesday Talk
Op-Ed by President-Elect Dr. Dean Gogerdchi


Colleagues and friends the time has come, the week is finally here. Colder temperatures, piles of leaves strewn across the yard, sunsets at 4:00pm, and pumpkin spiced everything…. ah yes, it must be Thanksgiving week.

Thanksgiving - everyone’s favorite holiday. A time for us to pause and give thanks for everything we normally take for granted, acknowledge those who have helped us get to where we are today, and take time to help those who may be less fortunate. 

Many families gather around a dinner table loaded with the traditional dishes: turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, and pie. Of course, every family has their own twist on the usual fare (oyster stuffing people, you know who you are). For this week’s Tuesday Talk, I’d like to “set the table” for Maryland ODs as we approach the upcoming Legislative Session. 

The Big Turkeys - Speaker of the House Mike Busch & Senate President Mike Miller
Speaker Busch and President Miller are two of the most influential legislators in Annapolis. President Miller is the longest serving Senate President in Maryland history. They call the shots at the highest levels and we need their support if we hope to be successful in getting our scope bill out of the General Assembly. If you live or work in Annapolis, Speaker Busch is your Delegate. If you live or work in Prince George’s County, President Miller is your Senator. 

The Gravy - MOA PAC Funds
Everything on the holiday table tastes better with gravy on it. Some may not know, but legislators in Annapolis avoid scope battles like the kids' table at Thanksgiving avoids broccoli. It’s sad to say, but our representatives pay attention to money. PAC Funds are the gravy that makes our cause more palatable - there’s no such thing as too much. Click HERE to donate now!

Sweet Potatoes - Our Opposition
No one really knows how this dish ended up at the table and yet there it is year after year, unapologetic in its orange glow. Usually grandma brings it, and it’s starting to get old. Both sweet potatoes and the argument of our opposition need a heavy dose of sugary marshmallow fluff before you can swallow them. And even then, you gag in your mouth a little with every extra scoop they slop on to your plate. Yuck!

In all seriousness, with the holiday season already at our doorstep, the Legislative Session is fast approaching. Fundraisers are kicking back up again and we need to support of our Key OD network. We will be calling on you in the coming weeks to donate, attend fundraisers, and meet with legislators - all in an effort to advance the cause of Optometry in Maryland. We hope you will answer that call!

Thanks!


Dean

 

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Help Us Get Our Message to Legislators!

Read Ophthalmology's Message Below and Sign Up For OD Advocacy Days in Annapolis by Clicking HERE!

 

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General Election Results = Opportunity!

Posted By Linda Cohen, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wow, with the highest national midterm voter turnout in 50 years, voters are engaged!!!

 

The turnover in the Maryland General Assembly this election cycle is pretty unbelievable; 30% in the House of Delegates and 36% in the State Senate! The change is significant and provides a VERY positive outlook for Optometry during the 2019 Session. Most exciting is that the new leadership of the Senate Health, Education & Environmental Affairs Committee, Senator Paul Pinsky, our scope bill sponsor, has been named the Committee's new Chairman.

 

MOA PAC dollars were spent wisely and we did a great job as an organization backing winning candidates. This said, organized Medicine (MedChi) and Ophthalmology (MSEPS) continue to fight us every step of the way, and make no mistake they are a force. Two weeks ago, by request of the House and Senate committee chairs, I met with MSEPS's president, Dr. David Barañano. The meeting was quite cordial, but unsurprisingly, it did not yield any workable compromise, which simply means that the fight must go on. The ONLY way to WIN this battle and bring Maryland Optometry into the 21st century is vis-a-vis connections with EACH and EVERY Maryland Legislator. To this end, I ask of you the following:

 

1.     Sign up here for 1 of 4 ODs in Annapolis legislative days this Jan/Feb. Ophthalmology walks the halls of House and Senate in Annapolis every year in their "white coats" explaining why we are undereducated and undertrained to have the additional authority we ask, authority that our colleagues in virtually every other state enjoy. We need an in-person presence this year more than ever to educate the many new members of the General Assembly about integral role of the ECP in overall health.

2.     Click here to donate to the MOA PAC. Money talks! Perhaps sad, but true - and make no mistake, our opposition has deep pockets. We need to support legislators that support us and we cannot do so without your contribution to the MOA PAC. We ask that every practitioner donate at least $1 a day ($365 a year) and that practice owners consider a contribution of $500-$1000. We need the money NOW, before the 2019 Session begins so we can attend as many pre-Session fundraisers as possible. If you prefer to donate over the phone, contact MOA Director of Operations, Linda Cohen, at (410) 486-9662.

3.    Contact your State Senator and Delegate(s) to ask for their support NOW LATER during the 2019 Session. Find out who represents you in the General assembly by visiting www.mdelect.net. Click here for messaging. (*member login required). 

 You can read MOA's 2019 Scope Expansion bill one-pager here.

 

We are in a better position than ever before and the time to act is NOW! Please do your part and together we will modernize Maryland Optometry's ANTIQUATED scope of practice.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Kevin Johnson, O.D. 

MOA President

 

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Special Election Day Issue of Tuesday Talk

Posted By Linda Cohen, Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Why this voter is an "OPITCRAT"

Op-Ed By: Jennifer Cohen, Executive Director

 

Over the years, I have come to appreciate the validity of the statement that "optometry is a legislated profession."

 

The political history of Maryland Optometry is almost unbelievable. My personal favorite is Governor William Donald Schaefer's veto of the 1988 bill to allow Maryland optometrists (AS THE 50th STATE) to dilate their patients' eyes during an exam. The veto was overridden by the General Assembly the following year...but really? A reasonable person cannot help but ask why.

 

As I went to the polls today to vote, I remembered my favorite article about the political war of the Maryland O's entitled, "Batters Up! Those pesky eye professionals are at it already." It was written in 2004, during Maryland Optometry's battle for TPA authority. Ophthalmology's lobbyist then (and now), Mr. Bruce Bereano, said the following, "the optometrists should stop crying publicly because they can't get the votes and always lose." In the same article, Mr. Joseph Schwartz, who also represented the ophthalmologists at the time, told his clients to "run, do not walk to your checkbook, and send a check to the [Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons' political action committee]."

 

As I filled out my ballot I remembered this article and thought about the countless hours and money I've spent trying to modernize the still incredibly antiquated scope of practice of Maryland optometry. I voted not as a Democrat, a Republican or Independent, but as an OPTICRAT! I voted for those legislators that have the common sense to support legislation that will improve not only the Maryland Optometry Practice Act, but access to eye care for all Maryland patients. I personally, and honestly believe that those legislators who support the modernization of Maryland Optometry, will best serve the citizens of our State.

 

More to come on our scope expansion efforts next week. Don't forget to vote!!!

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BOE Proposed Regulations Could Drastically Change CE Licensure Requirements

Posted By Linda Cohen, Monday, November 5, 2018

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