Current Legislation

HB 36 – Enact Enhanced Access to Eye Care Act

Primary Sponsors: Rep. Justin Burr (R- Stanly), Rep. Jeff Collins (R– Nash) , Rep. Josh Dobson (R – Avery) and Rep. Julia Howard (R- Davie).

OPPOSE: This bill seeks to expand optometrist’ scope of practice to include surgical procedures. As currently constructed, the bill does not define what optometrists are allowed to do because the bill only defines exclusions.  As proposed, optometrists would be excluded from performing just 18 surgeries while having an unlimited scope related to all other surgeries not defined in the bill. We oppose optometrists doing any surgery because we do not believe that optometrists have the necessary training and experience to practice laser surgery.

The optometry scope of practice has changed significantly over the past twenty years.  They have been allowed to prescribe pharmaceuticals and do some limited injections that relate to the primary care of the eye.   Surgery is something completely different.  Eye physicians and surgeons train for three years under close supervision after completing graduate medical training.  Optometrist propose to receive any training they deem necessary through continuing education.

Our patients deserve the best care from the most trained practitioner when it comes to surgery on the eye whether utilizing a laser or a scalpel.  Optometrist perform a valuable function within the health care team but lack the necessary skills and training to be allowed to perform surgical procedures.

HB 88 – Modernize Nursing Practice Act

Primary Sponsors: Rep. Josh Dobson (R – Avery), Rep. Donny Lambeth (R – Forsyth), Rep. Sarah Stevens (R – Surry), Rep. Gale Adcock (R – Wake)

SB 73 – Modernize Nursing Practice Act

Primary Sponsors: Sen. Ralph Hise (R – Madison), Sen. Louis Pate (R – Wayne), Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R – Forsyth)

OPPOSE: This bill has been filed in both the House and Senate, and focuses on four types of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) including the following: Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse-Midwives, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and Clinical Nurse Specialists. If passed, the bill would allow all APRNS to expand their scope of practice by excluding the requirement of a supervising physician in order to practice. This means that every APRNS would be allowed to practice independently and would only be regulated by the Board of Nursing.

Proponents of the bill highlight access to care in rural areas as their reasoning to pass such sweeping change, we have not seen a measurable increase of rural providers in the other 21 states where this type of bill has been passed.  Furthermore, APRNs are not limited by geographic boundaries under current NC law, yet they tend to concentrate their work in the same areas as physicians and other medical providers.

We oppose this bill. We believe that the current statutory structure requiring physician supervision of APRNs allows nurses from a variety of backgrounds and training to practice at the top of their individual training.  By eliminating physician supervision and reducing their scope of practice to the words in statute, NC nurses will be left with a shared definition that is the lowest common denominator skillset.  As the entire healthcare system values a team approach to care delivery, this proposal seems to go in exactly the opposite direction.

 HB 150 – Standards for Chiropractic Peer Review

Primary Sponsors: Rep. Debra Conrad (R – Forsyth), Rep. Donny Lambeth (R – Forsyth), Rep. Mitchell Setzer (R – Catawba)

This bill would only apply to civil liability claims for personal injury associated with a motor vehicle, and to motor vehicle medical payments claims. This bill defines that an individual performing retrospective review must meet a set of criteria including: holding a chiropractic license in NC, has practiced as a chiropractor for at least 5 years, derives half of his/her income from chiropractor, and does not receive compensation from the chiropractor being reviewed.  It also provides the Chiropractic Board the oversight authority for individuals performing such peer reviews.

HB 142 – Increase Oversight of Occupational Licensing Boards

Primary Sponsors: Rep. Sarah Stevens (R – Surry), Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R – Ashe)

This bill proposes extensive changes to the way Occupational Licensing Boards report to the NC General Assembly and address behavior by unlicensed individuals.  The bill is in response to the 2015 FTC v NC Dental Board case that detailed additional state oversight necessary for licensing boards that are made of a majority of licensees to take action against unlicensed behavior.  A study of this issue was conducted through the interim.  We are working to evaluate the impact of this legislation on NC Medical Board activities.

 HB 57 – Enact Physical Therapy Licensure Compact

Primary Sponsors: Rep. John Szoka (R – Cumberland), Rep. Grier Martin (D – Wake), Rep. Holly Grange (R – New Hanover)

This act intends to facilitate a physical therapy licensure compact to allow for trailing military spouses who are physical therapists to practice as they move from state to state following new assignments for their military spouse. This would allow trailing spouses to practice in NC by going through an expedited licensure process. There are protections in place through the compact to ensure proper training, good standing and appropriate other requirements to protect patient safety when these physical therapists would be licensed in NC.

This bill is on a fast track to move through the legislative process. If NC is one of the first 10 states to pass this compact, NC would be allowed to be a member of the governing body of this compact moving forward.

 HB 187 – Modernize Physical Therapy Practice

Primary Sponsors: Rep. Nelson Dollar (R – Wake), Rep. John Torbett (R – Gaston), Rep. Susan Martin (R – Wilson),  Rep. Josh Dobson (R – Avery)

SB 176 – Modernize Physical Therapy Practice

Primary Sponsor: Sen. Louis Pate (R – Wayne)

This bill would alter the definition of physical therapy to include manipulation of the spine without a prescription from a physician licensed to practice medicine in NC.  This would be a change to physical therapists’ current scope of practice.