Larry Williams, President and CEO at the Technology Association of Georgia, urges legislators to pass HB 629, which would expand ocular telehealth to all Georgians.

Unfortunately, not all healthcare is readily available online to Georgia residents due to lack of broadband access, but also due to certain bans. This includes access to ocular telehealth. Georgia’s contact lens and eyeglass wearers can’t use ocular telehealth because it’s banned in Georgia. That means that we cannot benefit from the latest cost-saving and time-saving vision testing technologies including refills for contact lenses and eyeglasses.

Our leaders in the Georgia General Assembly can and should change that.  HB 629, introduced by Rep. Mark Newton (R-123), would allow Georgians access to ocular telehealth. The Technology Association of Georgia is dedicated to fueling innovation, and we strongly support this common sense and consumer-friendly legislation.

Until HB 629 becomes law, Georgia will remain one of only three states that bans ocular telehealth, which is a grievous mistake. Why? Because special interest groups are working against it. New online technologies are designed to help get prescriptions renewed, not to replace comprehensive eye exams. Ophthalmologists, medical doctors, licensed in Georgia, who specialize in medical and surgical eye care, would continue to play a key role in reviewing and approving all online prescriptions, ensuring that Georgians are receiving safe and high-quality care. Georgians should not be denied the kind of accessibility and flexibility that ocular telehealth offers.

Our state leaders should encourage the innovation of ocular telemedicine, fight for the expansion of broadband access,  and not stand in the way of potential job growth, competition and workforce growth that would provide indispensable services at a lower cost to all Georgians. Outlawing a proven technology service that has been operational in more than 35 states for almost five years sets a dangerous precedent about the willingness of the Legislature to welcome and support new technology and innovation.

Read the full article in The Barrow News Journal here.