AZ, NE, TN see legislative changes

April 28, 2014

Three states-Arizona, Nebraska, and Tennessee-recently experienced changes in their scope-of-practice legislation.

Three states-Arizona, Nebraska, and Tennessee-recently experienced changes in their scope-of-practice legislation.

Arizona HB 2380 was approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Jan Brewer (R). The bill allows ODs to prescribe oral anti-infectives, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, and steroids to patients over age 6. HB 2380 was sponsored by Rep. Justin Olson (R) and, as originally written, addressed tax liens.

Nebraska LB 526 was signed by Governor Dave Heineman (R) on the last day of the legislative session. It removed exclusions for steroids and immunosuppressive agents. In addition, it was amended to state that epinephrine autoinjector for treatment of anaphylaxis, and oral steroid, oral glaucoma agent, or oral immunisuppressive agent are considered to be pharmaceutical agents for therapeutic purposes.

This bill, introduced in January 2013 by nonpartisan state senator Sara Howard, was opposed by 60 Plus Association, a conservative senior advocate association.

“It’s so disappointing to see Nebraska lawmakers actually considering to legislate a new type of eye surgeon, one that doesn’t have to go through medical school or residency but rather to the state legislature instead,” said Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association, in a statement.

Tennessee SB 220/HB 0555 was recently passed into law by the Tennessee legislature. (See “Tennessee bill on hold until 2014” in the April 2013 issue.) This law authorizes qualified ODs to utilize local anesthesia by injection in performing the following procedures:

• Needle drainage of an eyelid abscess, hematoma, bulla, and seroma

• Excision of a single epidermal lesion without characteristics of malignancy, no larger than 5 mm in size and no deeper than the dermal layer of the skin

• Incision and curettage of a nonrecurrent chalazion

• Simple repair of an eyelid laceration no larger than 2.5 cm and no deeper than the orbicularis muscle and not involving the eyelid margin or lacrimal drainage structures

• Removal of foreign bodies in the eyelid not involving lid margin or lacrimal drainage structures and extending no deeper than the orbicularis muscle.

ODs who perform these procedures must have current CPR certification (or a person present with current CPR certification) and maintain an automated external defibrillator (AED) in their offices.ODT