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General Assembly Update Senate Bill 511_01262018
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Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons eNews
January 26, 2018 Virginia Insights

Key Dates

Jan. 29: VSEPS Day on the Hill, Board Meeting, Reception

Feb 16: Deadline to Submit Abstracts for VSEPS Annual Meeting

April 18-21: AAO Congressional Advocacy Day and Mid Year Forum

June 8-9, VSEPS Annual Scientific Meeting, Virginia Beach Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel

Oct 18 - 21: MSV Annual Meeting, Hotel Roanoke

Oct 27-30: AAO Annual Meeting, Chicago

2018 Membership Dues Now Due

VSEPS Dues for 2018 are now due. Members' dues must be paid to take advantage of special rates for annual meeting, 10% OMIC discount.

The mission of the Virginia Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons is to advocate the best quality eye care through education, legislative efforts and community service.



































President's Podium:
VSEPS Stymies Serious Threat to Patient Safety in Virginia Legislature, and We Need Your Continued Support 

By Suzanne Everhart, DO
President & Fellow, Virginia Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons

Dear Colleagues,


Thanks to your immediate grass roots engagement on Senate Bill 511, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Medical Society of Virginia and our lobbying team, we were able to defeat the efforts of optometry to perform surgery in Virginia by reaching a compromise on the bill. 


Yesterday, we had over 25 ophthalmologists in the senate hearing room and we outnumbered the optometrists. Unfortunately, optometrists outnumbered us in their relationship-building efforts with legislators and in their contributions to legislators. 


Senator Steve Newman, the committee chair, came to VSEPS leadership prior to the start of the meeting and asked that VSEPS and Virginia Optometric Association negotiate an amended injection bill. In doing so, the bill’s sponsor agreed to take surgery out of the bill.  


During negotiations, we were able to put a tight collar around injections. What they got for $253,000 dollars and the hiring of four lobbying firms was injection of steroids into chalazia only, requiring provisions for evidence of training by an accredited school. While that is quite a bitter pill to swallow, in doing so, we protect patient safety in Virginia. We preserve the right and access of Virginians to safe surgery performed by surgeons appropriately trained in medical school. The definition of surgery statute passed by the House of Medicine in Virginia in 2012 remains intact. We must build a stronger coalition with legislators before the next scope expansion attempt.


The silver lining in this challenge is that we have formulated an excellent communication network that we will continue to refine. To do this, we will need you to serve as key advocacy ophthalmologists in every legislative district to build relationships and call out the troops in the districts to exert immediate influence when needed.


The take home message is to engage your legislators in person and develop that relationship over the following years. We must all contribute monetarily to their campaigns, help at their rallies, invite them to observe surgery NOW.  We must make sure our legislators rely on ophthalmologists for our perspective before signing onto specious legislation in the future.


Please send a check today to AAO Surgical Scope Fund, VSEPS EyePAC and MSV Pac.  Contact us at to become an advocate in your district and let’s get to work NOW!


Thank you, the members of VSEPS, for your active engagement during this debate. I especially thank all of VSEPS’ present and past board members, the Northern Virginia Academy of Ophthalmology; Frank Cotter MD and Vistar; Parisa Farhi, MD; Will Bearden MD; Donna Brown MD and Virginia Eye Institute; Retina Group of Washington; Virginia Retina Group; Brian Conway, MD; Michael Wallace, MD; Andrew Davis, MD; Giovanni DiSandro, MD; UVA, EVMS, VCU, and Liberty University deans and program chairs and residents!


VSEPS Seventh Annual Day on the Hill (White Coats on Call) will be this Monday, January 29, 2018 at the Virginia General Assembly.  Click here for the itinerary. Our patient advocacy efforts will begin at 8am. We would love to have you join us.  We are NOT taking our foot off the gas.  If you cannot support us in person please, $upport u$ with your check!  Let’s all take off our gloves, roll up our sleeves and get to work!


Truly yours,
Suzanne Everhart, DO

President VSEPS


Special Report:
Grassroots Advocacy, Engagement Critical to Stopping Surgical Scope Expansion 

After intense, last-minute negotiation forced by the Chairman of the Senate Education & Health Committee, yesterday the Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (VSEPS) and the Virginia Optometric Association (VOA) reached a compromise on Senate Bill 511. Surgery remains in the hands of surgeons. Public safety remains protected in Virginia.

The original bill would have allowed a broad, vague, and dangerous expansion of optometric scope of practice into surgery and injections in and around the eye for the treatment of styes, chalazia, and anterior segment lesions. Even previous amendments being discussed earlier in the week would have included additional dangerous surgery and injection of wide-ranging drugs by optometrists in the adnexa.  Continued on page 2


©2018 VSEPS. All rights reserved



The mission of the Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons is to advocate for the best quality eye care through education, legislative efforts and community service. Thank you for your continued support.
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