LPOC Position Statement: AB 2236 (Low) OPPOSE
August 31, 2022 No Comments Legislation, Release LPOC Organization

The frontline physician and surgeon members of Latinx Physicians of California (LPOC)
must oppose AB 2236 (Low). AB 2236 authorizes non-physician and surgeon
optometrists to perform surgical procedures on a patient’s eye after meeting minimal
specified education and training requirements.

The extent of experience outlined in this measure is substantially below the clinical
education requirements of Ophthalmology residency programs. Physicians and surgeons
are put through rigorous residency programs to develop clinical competency and the
professional skillset need to accurately identify, avoid, or manage complications during
surgery to prevent permanent damage to patients’ eyes and irreplaceable eyesight.

AB 2236 stops short of promoting, let alone requiring, continued surgical proficiency once
an optometrist has been certified to perform the surgical procedure. The bill permits a
practitioner to attain an initial certification in seven (7) surgical ophthalmologic procedures
but does not require the practitioner to maintain proficiency in the procedures. Maintaining
one’s surgical and medical competency and proficiency after an initial training is
paramount to ensuring that an eyecare surgeon retains the critically necessary skills to
perform the procedures they may have received an earlier certification to perform.

AB 2236 will not properly protect patients, nor will it establish an adequate training
framework for non-physician optometrists to acquire, or maintain, clinical skills or
experience-based competency to be permitted to perform surgical procedures on
patients’ eyes.

LPOC does not agree that measures such as AB 2236 address the core challenge the
state faces in producing more skilled ophthalmologic surgeons, particularly in the
communities we serve with the greatest, current, unmet need for adequate healthcare.

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