President’s Message

The San Diego County Optometric Society is one of the largest and most active societies in the state of California, although we’ve had to keep our activity mostly virtual this year. Our activities include supporting the political interests of optometrists at the state and local level, providing quality continuing education to our doctors, and giving back to our community with fundraisers, vision screenings, and volunteer eye services at several locations including the Lion’s Optometric Vision Clinic and the VSP Mobile Clinic.

We are able to successfully run these programs largely due to the support of our generous sponsors. We are one of the few local optometric societies to have a healthy network of sponsors who not only provide financial support to our society, but also extend discounts to members for using their products and provide resources to help with building practices and optometric careers. Our sponsors are also instrumental in funding our public awareness projects, advocacy efforts, our website, social media, and other SDCOS social events.

We are lucky to have an extensive variety of sponsors and I would like to take a moment to recognize them. Our highest level of sponsorship is the platinum level. The amazing companies who have committed to this level of sponsorship include Empire Optical, Inc. and Essilor Labs, California Retina Associates, Eyecarepro, and NVISION Eye Centers. Our wonderful sustaining sponsors include ABB Optical Group, Bausch & Lomb, Healthy Eyes Advantage, CooperVision, La Jolla LASIK, Alcon, Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute, Nordic Naturals, NuSight Medical, Shamir, Vistakon, Sun Ophthalmics, VSP Global, Wells Fargo, Optovue, Visionary, and Westpac Wealth Partners.

I want to offer a warm thank you to all of our sponsors! I encourage our members to show their appreciation as well by taking the time to hear their ideas of how to work even better with our society and discuss with them ways in which they can personally assist you. It is important to support the sponsors who are so passionate about helping our society and our profession. The SDCOS board and I are committed to seeing the relationships between our sponsors and members continue to grow and thrive in the future. Thanks to their generous support, SDCOS has become one of the strongest optometric societies in the state and will continue to be a positive force in the lives of our doctors and the lives of the public we serve.

President’s Message

It’s hard to believe that we’re more than half-way through the year, in the heat of summer, and many of us are still learning to cope with our “new normal” in response to this global pandemic. As we struggle with uncertainty about the future, it is important to stay positive and focus on the constants we can depend on.

August is National Eye Exam Month, and back to school season. While back to school may look a bit different this year, the value of good eyesight cannot be underestimated, whether it be for in-person or virtual classes.

It is important to remind parents that while vision screenings are an invaluable service, there is no substitute for a comprehensive eye exam by an Optometrist. Many parents are unaware that a child who can see 20/20 can still have difficulty with their vision in other ways. While the most common problem is refractive error, we know that there are many more potential issues such as amblyopia, strabismus, and binocular or accommodative deficiencies.

Many difficulties in school can stem from an undiagnosed learning-related vision problem. In fact, experts estimate that 80% of what a child learns in school is presented visually, and visual problems are often erroneously diagnosed as laziness, learning disabilities, behavioral issues, or even severe attention deficits.

It is our job as Optometrists to provide these children with the clear and comfortable vision they need to learn effectively and do our best to educate our patients on the importance of an annual comprehensive eye exam.

President’s Message

As the weather heats up and summer approaches, reality sets in that life isn’t quite the same as it was this time last year. We live in a new world. More and more things are going digital and the comfortable routine we once had has become uncomfortable, scary, unknown, but also beautiful.  We live in an unprecedented time of transformation, forced to step out of our comfort zones, and challenge ourselves to bring about positive change.

That being said, I want to congratulate the 2020 Optometric graduates!  Your dedication, hard work, and resilience during this historical time has not gone unnoticed.  The first few months after graduation can be difficult for new graduates for various reasons, but it is safe to say that the transition into optometric practice in 2020 will look very different than it did in the past.  After completing a rigorous four-year program, passing Boards and licensure exams, and practicing as an intern, the next steps may seem like an assortment of unknowns. Some graduates will continue on to one of the many Residency programs around the country, and others will begin their search for a place to practice Optometry in our community.

If you’re a new OD, the California Optometric Association (COA) and San Diego County Optometric Society (SDCOS) are here to help make your transition a little easier.  The COA provides Resource Guides to help with obtaining state licensing, DEA and NPI numbers, as well as getting credentialed with the various insurance panels and vision plans in our state.  Career resources are also available such as job search tools and optometric business and career webinars.  COA membership is free as a student, but also free for the first year after graduation and discounted over the next five years.  If you are a new or recent graduate, make sure to take advantage of these benefits.

At the local level, SDCOS offers new grads a variety of resources and opportunities to find their career path. Dr. John Fitzpatrick maintains our society’s classifieds and job connection list, which is a great tool if you are looking for a job, looking to hire someone, or looking to buy or sell a practice.  Please reach out to him at jpfod@aol.com with any inquiries.  The society newsletter and website also provide great information for new graduates or doctors new to San Diego. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our Board members about what resources are available to you as a new OD.  The AOA, COA, and SDCOS are here to help.

I also encourage Optometrists in our community to reach out to new graduates and new doctors in the area to help them during their transition, especially during this unprecedented time.  By showing them the benefits that COA and SDCOS have to offer, it can be extremely impactful and helpful to them while at the same time growing our membership and strength as a society.

President’s Message

After weeks of shutdown, the nation is beginning to slowly and cautiously re-emerge.  Like the decisions to shut down and shelter in place, the plans to reopen have come state by state or region by region. California is now in Phase I of the White House’s “Opening Up America Again” plan, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement on April 27, 2020 providing guidelines for resuming health care for non-emergent and non-COVID-19 health care. Their guidance is intended to set a plan for California, while understanding there may be circumstances that require different timelines for different locations or regions.

Based on these new guidelines, Doctors of Optometry in California are encouraged to gradually resume full scope of services when possible and safe to do so.  Businesses are advised to continue to encourage telework, whenever possible, to protect patients and healthcare workers.  The physical layout and flow of patient care may also change in order to maintain physical distancing in patient movement and waiting areas.

Optometric services fall under the CDPH’s “Outpatient Visit Guidelines.”  These guidelines prioritize scheduling for patients that cannot be treated by telehealth in the following order:

  1. Patients with acute illnesses
  2. Patients with chronic illness that have not been seen due to Stay-at-Home rules and need an in-person visit
  3. Preventative services, including vaccinations
  4. List of previously cancelled or postponed patients
  5. Other patients needing in-person visit to monitor status or assess illness, etc

Although San Diego County has not officially released guidance or a timeline of when the current restrictions will be lifted, optometrists are advised to use their judgment to determine when it is appropriate to provide non-urgent care.  The use of telemedicine is still recommended, whenever possible.

The AOA and COA websites are great resources for updated information during this constantly evolving situation. There you will find helpful resources, guidelines, webinars, and checklists to help with practice reopening and activation as well as practice relief, information about personal protective equipment (PPE), and other safety and financial considerations.

I also want to thank everyone who virtually attended our informational Q&A webinar this week.  If you missed it, the presentation and Q&A have been posted on our website for your convenience.  Please check our website frequently for updates to the Continuing Education schedule as well.

The SDCOS board and I are doing our best to stay up to date on the latest developments of the coronavirus response in the Optometry community and provide useful information to our members as we face this pandemic together.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to our board with any questions or comments.  We are in this together and SDCOS is here to support you.

President’s Message

As I write to you today, we are all in the midst of a rapidly evolving situation and historic public health emergency. On March 11, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic, and, on March 13, the President of the United States declared a national emergency.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus.  The virus was first detected in China, and has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including the United States. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild or no symptoms to severe, including illness resulting in death. Those more at risk of severe illness include older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions. At present, there is no vaccine available to protect us against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it other than palliative care.

The CDC predicts widespread transmission of the virus in the United States will occur and in the coming months, most of the U.S. population will be exposed. This could translate into an overwhelmed healthcare system and devastating effects to our economy.

At present, global efforts are focused on lessening the spread of the virus and reducing the impact of this disease. California Governor, Gavin Newsom, declared a State of Emergency to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway, and help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19.  Newsom also issued a “stay at home” order for all California residents.

As health care professionals, it is our duty to follow public health guidelines to help limit the spread of disease and help “flatten the curve”.  Under governor Newsom’s guidelines, comprehensive eye examinations are considered non-essential services.  The COA has strongly recommended that optometrists practicing in California voluntarily suspend nonessential or nonurgent optometry care temporarily. Optometrists should reschedule routine eye exams and be available for urgent, non-routine care.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an immediate and devastating impact on the practice of our profession, and this is a challenging time for many of us.  In response to these challenges, the Governor, AOA, COA, and SDCOS has responded in the following ways:

  • Governor Newsom has announced that the Department of Consumer Affairs has the authority to waive CE requirements for health professions for the next 60 days.
  • Over 10 hours of Free CE for COA members (Emergen-CE on the COA website)
  • Free practice support webinar offered on the COA website
  • Expanded telehealth options
  • Free Legal Advice: COA members are eligible for 30 minutes of attorney services for free each month.
  • All dues/assessments will be waived for two months for all members. If you are not a current member, I encourage you join today to take advantage of all the resources AOA, COA and SDCOS are offering during this time. New member dues will be waived until June 1, 2020.

Due to guidelines regarding social distancing, Legislative Day has been cancelled. The California Legislature is in emergency recess now with lawmakers practicing social distancing. When they resume, legislators may be asked to prioritize their bills, or drop any bills unrelated to the crisis. The main focus of the Legislature will be passing a budget.

Due to deteriorating economic conditions tied to the spread of the virus, COA’s request for increasing Medi-Cal reimbursement rates is no longer possible this year and eyeglasses coverage for adults under Medi-Cal is in jeopardy. We will not know for sure until the governor releases his revised budget proposal on May 15. Considering the current situation, COA has prioritized advocacy of the following issues:

  • Online CE – COA has been advocating that the State Board of Optometry allow all hours as online CE during this crisis. The State Board of Optometry does not have the authority to do this without an order by the Governor. COA has been pushing for such an order.
  • Small business relief – COA will be advocating for financial relief for optometric offices when the Legislature returns. COA also continues to advocate for an exemption from AB 5, legislation passed last year to increase restrictions on independent contracting. This crisis has put enormous pressure on optometry offices and AB 5 limits an optometrist’s ability to recover because it prevents most optometrists from being independent contractors.
  • Financial assistance for optometry schools – COA will also be advocating for emergency funding for the optometric schools and colleges that have effectively been shut down by the crisis.
  • Telehealth – COA will continue to advocate for new rules that make it easier for doctors to provide services via telehealth. Newsom has already directed that commercial and Medi-Cal managed care plans must allow members to obtain health care via telehealth when medically appropriate to do so. Providers will be reimbursed at the same rate, whether a service is provided in-person or through telehealth.

We have a tough road ahead of us, but please don’t forget that we are all in this together.  We will be sending out updates as new developments arise, but you can always visit the SDCOS and COA websites for updated information.  It is important to stay positive during this time, as we do our part to protect one another and overcome these difficult times.  “Difficult roads often lead to the most beautiful destinations.” -Zig Ziglar.

President’s Message

On February 21st and 22nd, the 2020 COA House of Delegates met for its annual meeting in Los Angeles, California and our society showed strong representation.  I am proud to announce that our society won the award for 2019 “Society of The Year”!  We must thank our past president, Dr. Robert Grazian, and the 2019 SDCOS board for their dedication, leadership, and creativity in helping to set our society apart from the rest.

Our society is also very well represented on the COA board this year, and THREE of our members were sworn in as COA executive board members.  Our new COA President, Dr. Jason Tu, a long-time member and past-president of SDCOS, was officially installed and gave a wonderful address to the House.  We know he will do a great job!  Dr. Amanda Dexter, our current SDCOS board member and past-president of SDCOS, was also elected as Secretary/Treasurer and we are so proud of her!  A contested election of Trustees resulted in our very own Dr. Erin Swift being re-elected as COA Trustee for a second term. Congratulations Dr. Swift!

Another topic discussed at House of Delegates was AOA’s national public awareness campaign, “Think About Your Eyes”, or “TAYE”.  This campaign was designed to educate the general public on the benefits of vision health and promote the importance of annual comprehensive eye exams.  California delegates voted to continue to actively participate in this campaign, and with our help and added resources, we will continue to propel this campaign to even greater heights in 2020.

This month is “National Save Your Vision Month”, and the AOA is promoting awareness around digital eyestrain and the importance of receiving regular comprehensive eye exams from a doctor of Optometry.  The campaign is focused primarily on blue light’s impact on overall health.  According to 2016 AOA Eye-Q survey data, the average American spends seven hours per day using digital devices. This overexposure to blue light from digital devices over extended periods of time can lead to vision damage, disrupted sleep cycle, and more.  As Optometrists, it is our duty to educate our patients about the signs and symptoms of digital eyestrain.  These include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck/shoulder pain.  The AOA recommends five tips that can be easily implemented in office spaces.

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20 second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
  • Keep a distance: The AOA recommends sitting a comfortable distance from the computer where you can easily read all text with your head and torso in an upright posture and your back supported by your chair. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 28 inches from the eye to the front surface of the screen.
  • View from a different angle: Ideally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees, or about 4 to 5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen.
  • Decrease glare: While there is no way to completely minimize glare from light sources, consider using a glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
  • Blink often: Minimize your chances of developing dry eyes when using a computer by making an effort to blink frequently.

I would encourage our society’s optometrists to educate themselves about these national campaigns to reinforce the OD’s distinction as primary eye care physicians. You can capitalize on the growing conversation in consumer media by factoring these campaigns into your practice’s marketing strategy. Materials such as customizable articles, press releases, and social media content are available on AOA’s website.

The next COA event will be Legislative Day in Sacramento on April 22nd. I encourage everyone to join us on this trip to the capitol. There are important discussions that need to take place with our legislators regarding bills that could potentially threaten our profession, as well as bills that could allow the expansion of our scope of practice. Please let me know if you are interested in participating. The more representation we have, the stronger our voice will be!

President’s Message

As the new SDCOS president, I am committed to making sure our society continues to be a strong presence at the local, state, and national levels.  I strongly encourage all of our members to get the most out of their membership and be as active as possible.  Our association with AOA, COA, and SDCOS allows us to be heard, create change, achieve goals, and ensure the future of our profession.  Making a conscious effort to highlight the benefits of SDCOS/COA membership to our colleagues as well is important to help our organization continue to grow and thrive.  Our organization is strengthened by our membership, and the more support we have, the stronger voice we have.

With that being said, I wanted to give you all a brief outline of some of the membership benefits you may not be aware of:

  • Think About Your Eyes is an exclusive public information marketing campaign offered by the AOA and available to COA members at a reduced fee
  • COA offers a free, continually-growing library of in-depth fact sheets addressing a wide variety of scope of practice and practice operation topics
  • The Member Media Center (MMC) through the COA website offers content for members to use in their newsletters and social media sites to help inform the public about important eye issues
  • COA has a Member Resource Center in which there are dedicated COA staff members who are available to answer common practice-related questions- from the steps to take to get on a health plan’s medical panel, to employment and workers’ compensation issues
  • Eyelearn is an online learning resource exclusively offered to AOA members that includes COPE approved continuing education webinars, journal articles, and practice management resources
  • Business and Career Success webinars are offered by AOA with topics including medical records and coding, HIPAA updates, PQRS, malpractice, etc.
  • COA provides constant updates on various topics with Government Affairs Weekly emails, California Optometry (the official publication of the COA), COA Member News monthly newsletter, AOA’s daily First Look and weekly AOA Focus e-newsletters, and the monthly AOA Focus magazine.
  • Discounts on continuing education events including Monterey Symposium, OptoWest, and AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting
  • Opportunities for free continuing education through articles in California Optometry as well as further CE online through CE@HomeOnline
  • Great deals as COA members from Vision West buying group. Insurance programs and exclusive discounts for members on professional liability, workers’ comp, cyber liability, etc
  • To ensure state and federal compliance with labor laws, COA provides discounted subscriptions for mandatory posters
  • As a COA member, there is an opportunity to enroll staff as AOA and COA Paraoptometric Members at no charge to aid in enhancing the skills and productivity of your staff
  • AOAExcel’s Medical Record and Coding Services AskTheCodingExperts@ExcelOD.com allows you to consult a billing expert for questions on anything from procedure and diagnosis codes, changes in Medicare coding policies, ICD-10 and more
  • As an AOA and COA member you are listed on each website under the Find An Eye Doc search portals to assist the public in finding you
  • Optometry’s Career Center through AOA provides services to find a practice to join, or to start and grow a practice
  • The Legal Service Resources Program provides members up to one-half hour (30 minutes) of telephone and research work per month with an attorney at no cost

President’s Message

Welcome to our year! 2020 is the year of Optometry, so get ready for an exciting year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and spent some quality time with the special people in their lives.  As an active member of the San Diego Optometry Society for the past few years, I have gained a tremendous amount professionally and personally in the form of friendships, networking, knowledge, and experience.  As a transplant from across the country in Florida, the society has been a life saver for me and I am honored to be given the opportunity to give back and serve as your president for the year 2020. We have an excellent group of doctors on the board this year, and I am looking forward to seeing what we will accomplish together.

I would like to thank Dr. Grazian for his leadership as president this past year.  His direction, organization, and methodical nature really helped to allow for a smoothly run year.  I am grateful to receive the “Young Optometrist of the Year” award and would also like to congratulate Dr. Bob Meisel, our 2019 “Optometrist of the Year”. Dr. Meisel has dedicated countless hours to volunteering his time and providing eye care to those in need at Monarch School in San Diego, a K-12 comprehensive school designed to educate homeless youth and also helps to raise money for The Lions Optometric Vision Clinic by organizing and running the annual Golf Tournament. We are lucky to have such amazing doctors and leaders in our community!

I am absolutely committed to maintaining our legacy as one of the best optometric societies in the country, especially during this exciting year!  In addition to being one of the largest societies in California, we are also one of the most active. We provide top notch continuing education opportunities to our members, including six 2-hour and three 5-hour CE meetings, making it easy and convenient to keep up with your continuing education locally. We also have many volunteer outreach programs which allow for our members to be active and give back to the community. Some of these include our Lions Optometric Vision Clinic and Monarch School Screenings.  You can also join us for our annual Legislative Day in Sacramento when we come together to encourage our state senators and congress members to support our profession. I would encourage our members to take advantage of these programs. It not only makes for an incredibly rewarding experience, but also helps to show our dedication and presence in San Diego!

As your SDCOS president, I promise to work hard to provide you with another great year of education, resources to enrich yourself and your practice, and opportunities to network with other doctors and vendors. I will make myself available for any questions, comments, and ideas so our society can continue to grow and thrive. I am confident that together we will have an amazing year!

President’s Message

For my final President’s message, I’ll take a moment to reflect on the year. I’ve greatly enjoyed being your Society president and I’m pleased and proud of all we’ve accomplished together. We’ve had a truly fun and eventful 2019, with so many continuing education meetings and other Society functions. I feel emotionally indebted to the many individuals who have committed themselves to making SDCOS California’s finest optometry society. We are a team of volunteers who create a better professional life for our members through continuing education, service to our community, and optometric leadership. We’ve made a real difference through our positive accomplishments, from giving eye examinations to our community’s homeless veterans to meeting with lawmakers in Sacramento to hosting nine great CE events in our own city for our own OD’s.

I feel very fortunate to have worked with so many good people this year. Our Board of Directors has volunteered much personal time, energy, enthusiasm, and creative commitment. With them, we’ve continued a treasured optometric Society of immeasurable importance to us. Without them, the job of president would be meaningless and our optometric society would cease to exist. I want to sincerely thank each and every Director and Trustee on the 2019 Board of Directors.  Warm ‘thank you’ to Dr. Michelle Biaggi, Dr. Wendy Gross, Dr. Alexandra Scovill, Dr. Michael Morgan, Dr. Amanda Dexter, Dr. Andrew Fasciani, Dr. Anita Koo, Dr. Byron Newman, Dr. David Ardakani, Dr. David Sherman, Dr. David Wong, Dr. Jennifer Chinn, Dr. John Fitzpatrick, Dr. Kathryn Ordonez, Dr. Lucia Millet, Dr. Marcelline Ciuffreda, Dr. Nickolet Boermans, Dr. Paul Lavin, Dr. Richard Skay, Dr. Robert Meisel, Dr. Simona Grosu, and Dr. Stephanie Le.

Our Administrative Director, Nancy-Jo Sinkiewicz, has been a dream to work with—she truly is the conductor of our SDCOS business orchestra. A big ‘thank you’ to Nancy-Jo for all her dedication and talent that made the year a success for all. Her cheerfulness and helpfulness is invaluable to the Board every day of the year.

Our vendor sponsors allow our society to function on the highest level with their financial support and enthusiasm for assisting our members’ success with their products and services. Thank you to all those companies who recognize optometry’s importance. I strongly encourage our members to support those who choose to support us!

Even though 2019 has two months remaining, it’s time to think about our final SDCOS events before the end of the year ramps up with holidays, vacations, and quality time with friends and family. To end the year in style, what better way to enjoy ourselves than a first-class Annual Holiday Party! The entire SDCOS membership, our dedicated team of Sponsors, and all of our guests are cordially invited to our 2019 Holiday Party to be held at Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa on Saturday, December 7th. It will include a cocktail hour followed by a banquet dinner, photo booth, raffle, music, and dance floor. Tickets are now on sale, and I’m looking forward to your company and enjoying a great dinner with you.

As I pass the microphone to our 2020 President, Dr. Wendy Gross, I’m confident she is an amazing OD who will be a great leader for our Optometric Society. I wish her the very best in her term as SDCOS President. Again, 2019 has been a wonderful year for me, and I thank the membership for giving me the opportunity to serve them.

Immunizations and California Optometry

Are you interested in providing immunizations to your patients? With the passage of Assembly Bill 443 in 2017 and Senate Bill 762 in 2018, California law allows optometrists to become certified to perform three immunizations—influenza, herpes zoster virus, and pneumococcus—on adults eighteen years and older.

The training for immunization certification has three requirements:

1. Optometrists will need to complete an immunization training program that is endorsed by the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education that, at a minimum, includes hands-on injection technique, clinical evaluation of indications and contraindications of vaccines, and the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines.

2. Optometrists will need to maintain basic life support certification.

3. Optometrists will need to perform one hour of ongoing continuing education focused on immunizations and vaccines from an approved provider once every two years.

After successfully completing the immunization training, the OD applies for an immunization certificate on a board-approved form. This is where the paradox begins.

According to a notice circulated to practicing California OD’s from the California State Board of Optometry on May 10, 2019, the California State Board writes that, “At present, the Board is not accepting applications, course completion certificates or payments for the immunization certification. Immunization applications and payments sent to the Board will not be processed and will be returned to the licensee. The Board is not allowed to accept these until regulation implementing AB 443 becomes law (anticipated Spring of 2020).”

The notice concludes, “The final regulation, including the actual text and application form, will be made by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), not the Board.”

The most common vaccination likely to be administered by California optometrists in the future is the influenza vaccine. Influenza (flu) vaccination is the primary way to prevent sickness and death caused by flu, and the CDC estimates that influenza was associated with more than 48.8 million illnesses, more than 22.7 million medical visits, 959,000 hospitalizations, and 79,400 deaths during the 2017-18 influenza season. This burden was higher than any season since the 2009 pandemic and serves as a reminder of how severe seasonal influenza can be. CDC estimates that from 2010-11 to 2017-18, influenza-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of 12,000 (during 2011-12) to a high of 79,400 (during 2017-18).

Among adults aged eighteen years and over, immunization coverage was 37.1% during 2017-18—6.2 percentage points lower than coverage during the 2016-17 season—with California adults having even less at 35.0%, according to the CDC website. Limited access to care is a factor in the low immunization coverage.

The 2018-19 statistics are yet to be published, and hopefully medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths were less than the previous flu season. My question at this moment, and likely yours, is why bureaucratic obstacles are being announced by the California State Board of Optometry that prevent patient access to vital flu vaccines. California optometrists could be contributing during this year’s upcoming 2019-2020 flu season. Many OD’s have successfully completed their immunization courses, and they could be part of this season’s vaccination campaign. Instead, we are obliged to sit out and wait for OAL to write regulation. Senate Bill 762 contains some urgent wording that specifically states, “in order to protect the health and well-being of the public by allowing appropriately trained optometrists to administer immunizations, it is necessary for this act to take effect immediately.”

That being said, I recommend you, your family, and your staff each have an annual flu vaccine this month. In addition, consult the COA website for Immunization Certification Courses taught by optometry colleges at Western University of Health Sciences and SCCO at Marshall B. Ketchum University. Also on the COA website is a link for the next Pharmacy-based Immunization Delivery Course on November 2nd at UC San Diego, La Jolla.