BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2683
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 5, 2010

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                  AB 2683 (Hernandez) - As Amended:  April 13, 2010 

          Policy Committee:                              Business &  
          Professions  Vote:                            11-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              No

           SUMMARY  

          This bill provides definitions and standards for optometrists  
          practicing in long term care settings such as skilled nursing  
          facilities (nursing homes), psychiatric hospitals, and  
          intermediate care facilities.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Absorbable fee-supported special fund costs to the California  
          Board of Optometry to increase oversight of a small group of  
          professionals addressed by this bill. 

           COMMENTS  

           1)Rationale  . This bill is sponsored by the California Board of  
            Optometry to authorize optometrists to practice in  
            non-traditional settings such as nursing homes and  
            intermediate care facilities. This bill clarifies licensure  
            provisions and increases regulatory oversight of these  
            professionals by addressing issues such as the storage of  
            medical records and the provision of prescription information  
            to patients. 

           2)Background  . AB 986 (Eng), Chapter 276, Statutes of 2007 allows  
            optometrists to practice at temporary locations in a similar  
            fashion to statutes that authorize dentists to work at  
            temporary practice locations, such as nursing homes, schools,  
            and other public institutions.
          However, according to the author and sponsor, current law  
            provides inadequate regulatory safeguards for optometrists who  
            practice in long term care facilities. This bill increases  








                                                                  AB 2683
                                                                  Page  2

            those safeguards. The author indicates the number of  
            professionals practicing in these patient settings will  
            increase as the proportion of elderly Californians continues  
            to increase. 
           
          3)Optometrists  diagnose and treat vision problems and eye  
            diseases and write prescriptions for eyeglasses, contact  
            lenses, and medications.  Optometrists are required to  
            complete at least three years of study at an accredited  
            college or university before beginning specialized optometry  
            training. The specialized training is four years in duration  
            and the optometry student must then pass written and clinical  
            state board examinations prior to licensure. Currently more  
            than 6,500 optometrists practice in California. 


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Mary Ader / APPR. / (916) 319-2081