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April 2016 Volume 13, Issue 4
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In this Issue:
IOA President
IOA Immediate Past President

IOA Legislative Trustee

IOA Membership Trustee

AOA Latest Co-Sponsor

IOA Associate Members
Useful Links

IOA's Mission

The Illinois Optometric Association exists to protect, promote, and advance the profession of Optometry by providing exemplary resources and support towards serving and enhancing quality patient care.

IOA's Vision
The vision of the Illinois Optometric Association is to be the primary advocate for the advancement of optometry through education, legislation, public service, and membership development by providing a unified voice for all optometrists to ensure the practice of Optometry at the highest level while providing patients with exemplary care.

Brian Plattner, OD
IOA President

If you are anything like me, you are relieved that the primary election has recently wrapped up here in the state of Illinois.  The process is exhausting, but because optometry is a legislated profession our continued involvement in the political process is critical to our future.  I would like to give a shout out to all of our legislative key people.  Their effort to get to know our legislators and to educate them about the vital role optometry plays in the health care market is invaluable.

I would also like to give a shout out to all of our IOA PAC contributors.  Your giving helps the IOA make sure that our legislative friends stay in office.  We currently have 194 IOA members who are giving to PAC.  Many of these individuals have been giving sacrificially for a very long time.  I can’t say thank you enough for your generosity.  Without you the profession would not be where it is today.  I am pleased to report that since January we have had 23 individuals either give to PAC for the first time or increase their contribution.  I am attaching our PAC honor roll to recognize all of our PAC contributors, and I am hoping that if your name is not currently on the list you will sign up today.

There have been quite a few of our members quietly working behind the scenes making phone calls to their legislators asking them to support SB 2899 and HB 6166, our Optometric Practice Act amendment that would allow for injectables and limited minor surgical procedures.  One of our members, Dr. Bob Steinmetz, has not only tirelessly worked the phones but he also went above and beyond to secure us the help of an additional lobbyist.  Bob is the epitome of what it means to be Optometrist of the Year, and I am truly humbled by all that he does for our profession.  If I know Dr. Bob Steinmetz (and I believe that I do), what he would want more than anything else is to see each and every one of us rise to the occasion and reach out to our legislators asking them to support Senate Bill 2899 and House Bill 6166.  Will you join me in picking up the phone and making that call today? Find your legislator     


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Paul Strauder, OD

IOA Immediate Past President

As you all should know by now, we have a new Executive Director! It is both exciting and sad at the same time. The IOA has flourished under the leadership of Mike Horstman. When he started over 20 years ago we had one of the worst Practice Acts in the country. Today we have one of the best.  Mike will be missed.  It is also an exciting time! We have hired Debra Hurston to be our next ED. She is very excited to get started and meet the members. She will be traveling to all the local societies to get to know everyone. Please take the time to go to your local meetings and meet her. I think you will be very pleased with our selection!   

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Matt Jones, OD
IOA Legislative Trustee

At the forefront of legislation for Illinois Optometrists in 2016 will be our Sunset Bill. So far we were successful in moving the Bill through the Senate committee. The Bill sponsor expects Senate Bill 2899 to be heard within the next week on the floor of the Illinois state senate. We need you to contact your Illinois senators and representatives about the Bill at your earliest convenience.  Organized Ophthalmology has been making their voice heard suggesting that even the minor procedures in our current scope are a danger to public safety, so it is important for you to stay informed.  As it currently stands, some of the key facts concerning the current Bill include:


  • The Bill will reset the expiration date of our current practice Act to January 1, 2027.

  • It amends the current list of surgeries and it specifies a few very limited additional surgeries that are permitted.  This will allow for additional minor surgical procedures that are already being taught at our schools and practiced in other states currently.

  • It allows Doctors of Optometry to use injectable pharmaceuticals with limitations.  It absolutely does not allow for injections into the eye or the use of drugs that do not relate to the eye.  Aside from emergency anaphylactic purposes, intravenous and intramuscular injections are prohibited.

  • It adds and eliminates language in various sections relating to the Department's administration of the act (Boilerplate Changes).


We believe that the expansion of scope is reasonable given that:

  • The additional procedures and injections are already taught in all 22 schools of Optometry and are included on the national board examinations that are required for students to pass prior to licensure in Illinois.

  • 15 states currently permit Doctors of Optometry to perform the procedures and injections, and graduates of the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago who migrate to these states may do so.

  • Malpractice rates do not vary between states that permit these procedures and those that do not.

  • NO ONE WILL BE GRANDFATHERED.  Current practitioners will all be required to meet additional education requirements established in the rule and only those who do so will be permitted to practice to this level.


It cannot be emphasized enough Your voice is important. IF YOU ARE ON-BOARD, please proceed by contacting your senator in support of SB 2899. Let them know that we are currently negotiating the Bill with the medical society in attempts to reach an agreeable compromised final product.  There are great tools on the IOA website (visit: ) that can help you locate information about who you’ll need to contact.  If you are not in agreement or have any questions or concerns, please contact the IOA office.  We believe that the Bill will help with accessibility issues and help to keep the brightest and best Optometrists in the state of Illinois.  In doing so, consider how we can strengthen the future of our profession as the primary eye care professionals.   


Finally, please understand that organized medicine and ophthalmology are fighting us hard, and have enjoyed increased monetary contributions to fight our efforts.  While the strength of our grass-root efforts will determine our success; therefore, please also consider giving a dollar a day to our IOA Political Action Committee (PAC) (Click HERE to donate).

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Mindy Nguyen, OD

IOA Membership Trustee

Hope everyone is enjoying their first quarter of the year! IOA is off to a great start! Members of the President’s Cabinet were able to meet our new incoming Executive Director, Ms. Debra Hurston, at the last meeting. In the coming months Ms. Hurston will be traveling to local societies, to get to know our members so if you see her at one of your meeting, come up and introduce yourself. We are excited for the new ideas she will be bringing as she begins her new role.


Also, we hope all our members are enjoying the benefits of membership, such as the recent email reminders to renew your license. This reminder has sure helped me out, especially since there was no reminder sent from the IL Department of Professional Regulation this year. Sometimes these small benefits help out a great deal while we juggle multiple tasks at home and at work.


Just like your practice, it can only grow with loyal patients and an increase in new patients, IOA can only grow with maintaining current members while increasing new members. Thank you for your continued support of the IOA!


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AOA Latest Co-Sponsor on HR 1688, Luis Guiterrez


(From L to R) Dr. Arol Augsburger, Dr. Aarlan Aceto, Congressman Guiterrez, NECO Student Faustino Santiago, PCO Student Micalea Small and Dr. Vince Brandys

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Please Visit the IOA Associate Members' Website Pages!
Click here for a full list of the IOA Associate Members.

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