Thursday, September 15, 2011

Foes of law letting optometrists use lasers may sue, alleging violation of Open Meetings Act

Although ophthalmologists and the Kentucky Medical Association strongly objected, a legislative committee appoved regulations Tuesday that will allow optometrists to perform some eye surgeries using lasers.

In answer, opponents say "they might file legal action against theKentucky Board of Optometric Examiners, which drafted the regulations, for failing to comply with the state's Open Meetings Act," reports Beth Musgrave of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The regulations, passed under Senate Bill 110 of this year's General Assembly, now go to another legislative panel. If they pass, optometrists may be allowed to perform the surgeries by year's end. The bill has been cause for controversy, in large part because it passed through the legislature in a swift 12 days. Oklahoma is the only other state that gives similar operating privileges to optometrists.

Ophtalmologists said Tuesday the optometric board "used a task force appointed by the state optometric association, a trade group, to develop the regulations, and those meetings were held in secret with no public input," Musgrave reports. Legislators and optometrists disagreed, saying public comment was allowed at an open meeting in July, and the regulations were altered after task force members took the comments into consideration. (Read more)

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