Governor signs Rep. Norm Johnson’s occupational therapist referral bill; Second Johnson bill heading to governor’s desk

A measure prime-sponsored by Rep. Norm Johnson that would allow optometrists to refer their patients to occupational therapists for treatment was signed into law Friday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Johnson, R-Yakima, says House Bill 1010 will help patients get needed care and save them money.

“Many people, including seniors, have vision problems associated with a variety of Rep. Norm Johnsondiseases and other degenerative problems. In rural areas, such as central Washington, there may not be enough eye surgeons to meet patients’ needs for low-vision problems. So the best option may be an occupational therapist who can help these people get back to a functional life,” said Johnson.

“Unfortunately, optometrists have been unable to refer their patients to an occupational therapist. So patients have had to get the referral from their general practice doctors. This bill changes that and adds the convenience of a direct referral from an optometrist,” added Johnson.

The measure becomes effective July 25.

The 14th District lawmaker also noted a second measure he prime sponsored is awaiting action by the governor. House Bill 2055 specifies procedures of placing explanatory and fiscal impact statements of ballot measures in voters’ pamphlets. Johnson said the measure would help people better understand the fiscal ramifications of a measure before they vote. On April 16, the House concurred with a Senate amendment on the measure and sent the bill to the governor.

Bills that are passed more than five days before the Legislature adjourns have five days to be signed once delivered to the governor. Bills that are passed fewer than five days before the Legislature adjourns have 20 days to be signed after they are delivered to the governor. The 2015 regular session is scheduled to adjourn April 26.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
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