Dear Ohio Opticians,
If you are a licensed optician, you understand and appreciate the study, training, and dedication that it took to become licensed. Being licensed helps to assure that the eye healthcare and safety of Ohio consumers is a priority.
Unfortunately, some organizations in our state do not see the protection of the consumers as importantly as we do.
As president of the Opticians Association of Ohio (OAO), I need to bring to your attention a very real threat to the licensure of spectacle, contact lens, and dual licensed opticians in Ohio.
On December 8th, the Buckeye Institute, an independent research and educational institution (a think-tank), will be proposing that all opticianry licenses in Ohio be eliminated. Not scaled back, not reconsidered, but ELIMINATED. We have been told the House State and Local Government Committee is supposed to accept the report "as is" on December 8th with the dropping of a bill by December 31, 2021.
Read the entire report if you have time, but if you don’t at least, scroll down to pages 22 and 23 to see what the future holds. The elimination of our license is a very real possibility, but if we take action, and do it swiftly, we may be able to change the course.
What can we do?
There is a link below with the names and contacts (click on their photos) of the representatives who will be considering this report. I am asking that you:
- Write them a respectful letter, telling them how you feel being licensed helps to protect the public.
- Do NOT write how important your license is to you, as that will not help the cause.
- If you have a photo (used w/permission) of patients you have helped, especially due to you being trained/licensed, include those. Photos of damaged eyes, smiling children, special eyewear fitting. will have the greatest impact. We are trying to make a personal connection with the representatives.
- Call the representatives' offices and let them know the higher quality of care you deliver by bring licensed
- If you work for an optometrist or ophthalmologist, ask them to write these representatives and state of the importance of having trained and licensed optics on their staff
- Ask some of your patients to reach out to these representatives as well - especially if they have a connection to any of them.
- Follow these representatives on their social media and “like” their pages and recent posts. Get noticed, but keep it professional.
Important Tip: In all conversations and correspondence, use the word “Healthcare” in the subject and when speaking. Eliminating a healthcare license does not make sense, and if we remind them that we are healthcare, we have a better chance of winning this battle. https://ohiohouse.gov/committees/state-and-local-government
What will NOT help, and it may actually hurt our cause, is a barrage of emails and correspondence to this committee that do not address the safety and protection of the patient and consumer.
The sole mission of the Opticians Association of Ohio is to advocate for the licensed opticians of Ohio. To do this we need funds and to be honest, our membership is down to a record low.
JOIN: If you are not a member of the OAO, I implore you to join now. This will be an expensive fight, our membership is at an all-time low. Our legislators look to see how many opticians support this association as a gauge to determine how vested we are in our profession. If you cannot join, consider making a donation to help this cause. If you are already a member and would like to contribute specifically to this fight, your donations will help immensely.
This is real, and financial resources have never been more needed than today:
If you read the report, you can see that this is not conjecture, rumblings from the Statehouse or idle talk. This is real, and they mean to take our licenses. Call your colleagues, friends, and anyone who can help, and let them know what is about to happen. Again, we need to keep this professional, yet, WE NEED TO BE HEARD!
Bob Alexander, OAO Vice President, Shirley Earley, OAO Executive Director, the entire Board of Directors and myself have been in meeting with the American Board of Opticianry (ABO/NCLE), the Opticians Association of America (OAA) and other state associations to gather information and assistance to aid us in this situation, and they all have pledged to help however they can. At this stage, the most positive outcome will be achieved from the immediate actions of Ohio licensed opticians like yourself.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Please Put "Elimination of Opticianry License" in the subject line.
John M. Bruening
President, Opticians Association of Ohio