SB 492 (Hernandez) is in the process of being prepared for committee hearing. This bill intends to water down ophthalmology in order to facilitate optometry (the lacrimation of ophthalmology). In general it's part of Senator Hernandez's overall effort to reduce the scientific and scholarly requirements of medical practice that currently requires a medical degree. In a recent previous post our report revealed why a California hospital's Board of Directors recently voted to allow a nurse practitioner to join the medical staff and have admitting and discharge privileges despite a negative vote by the hospital's Medical Executive Committee. In effect, this hospital passed a mini-version of SB 491 (Hernandez) which was intended to equate MDs and Nurse Practitioners (SB 491 failed in the legislature but has had new life breathed into it by the hospital in question, see our editorial, June 15).
SB 492 opposition still includes the California Medical Association, California Neurology Society, and the California Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and numerous others. What it does not include is a faction of ophthalmologists whose practices are intertwined in terms of referrals with optometrists. Many of these ophthalmologists are opposed but won't speak out -- it's their way of straddling the issue and walking down the middle of the road.