Optometrists doing eye surgery? Radical bill vetoed on safety grounds

California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week vetoed a radical measure that would have allowed optometrists without the necessary training and education to perform complex procedures such as laser eye surgery and administering needle injections to the eye.

“I am not convinced that the education and training required is sufficient to prepare optometrists to perform the surgical procedures identified,” Newsom wrote in his veto message. “This bill would allow optometrists to perform advanced surgical procedures with less than one year of training. In comparison, physicians who perform these procedures must complete at least a three-year residency program. For this reason, I cannot sign this bill.”

My latest for the AMA. Read the whole shebang.

Telehealth is fundamental to care. The Senate must act like it.

The AMA and more than 300 other physician, health care and patient organizations are calling on the U.S. Senate to follow the example set by a bipartisan 416–12 vote in the House of Representatives and continue regulatory and payment telehealth flexibilities for at least two years.

Access through telehealth “has been transformational—patients now expect and often prefer telehealth as a key component of our health care system,” says the letter, which notes that doctors and other health care organizations “have been able to reach many patients that previously had access barriers through virtual care.”

My latest for the AMA. Read the whole shebang.

Another question for patients: Are you registered to vote?

With voter-registration deadlines for the November elections fast approaching, physicians and medical students now have a new way to engage patients in quick, productive and nonpartisan discussions about how to take part in the electoral process.

The House of Delegates in June updated AMA policy to acknowledge that “voting is a social determinant of health and significantly contributes to the analyses of other social determinants of health as a key metric.”

Emory University MD-PhD student Jasmin Eatman was part of the effort to update that policy, and she appeared this week on “AMA Moving Medicine” with Aliya Bhatia, who is executive director of Vot-ER. About 25,000 doctors and other health professionals have worked with Vot-ER, and anyone in such a role can order a free Vot-ER badge, which includes a QR code that patients with smartphones can scan to complete the voter-registration process on their own time.

My latest for the AMA. The whole shebang.