The nation’s largest association of physicians is the latest group to come out against a bill at the center of Florida’s so-called “Eyeball Wars” between ophthalmologists and optometrists.
On Thursday, American Medical Association President and CEO James Madara sent a letter to House Health & Human Services Committee chair Travis Cummings, in which he called on lawmakers to reject HB 1037, a measure that seeks give optometrists expanded practice to perform a certain type of laser surgeries in Florida.
The two-page letter expresses several concerns with the bill, including the relative lack of education and experience of optometrists compared to ophthalmologists — who “possess the comprehensive medical knowledge necessary to safely perform surgical procedures on patients.”
“Patient safety and quality of care demand that patients be assured that individuals who perform invasive procedures have appropriate medical education and training,” Madara wrote. ” Quite simply, safe use of lasers and scalpels requires extensive medical education and training. Surgery on or around the human eye is not something to be taken lightly.
“The AMA strongly opposes HB 1037 because there is no way to safely perform surgical procedures without the comprehensive education and clinical training received in medical or osteopathic school,” Madara added. “The lack of specific additional education and training proposed by HB 1037 comes nowhere near this standard.”