FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Phone: (800) 301-2020 ext. 105
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OHIO ADVOCATES ATTEND PREVENT BLINDNESS 11 TH ANNUAL “EYES ON CAPITOL HILL” EVENT
Columbus, OH (July 26, 2016) – Representatives from the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness joined delegates from across the country for the 11th annual Prevent Blindness “Eyes on Capitol Hill” advocacy day on Tuesday, July 12, in Washington, D.C. Rick Bunner (Zanesville), Mike D’Ippolito (Hilliard), Kathy Loken (Galena) and Sherry Williams (Bexley) joined citizens from across the United States to meet with House and Senate members, and their staff, to discuss vision care issues.
Thanks to the offices of Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and Representatives Pat Tiberi, Steve Stivers, Brad Wenstrup, Marcy Kaptur, Marcia Fudge and Joyce Beatty for their interest in learning more about eye health and safety issues that affect their constituents.
Prevent Blindness asked for the following public policy support:
- Provide at least $1,500,000 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 to maintain vision and eye health efforts at the Vision Health Initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adequate FY 2017 resources will allow the CDC to increase vision impairment and eye disease surveillance efforts, apply previous CDC vision and eye health research findings to develop effective prevention and early detection interventions, and begin to incorporate vision and eye health promotion activities into state and national public health chronic disease initiatives, with an initial focus on early detection of diabetic retinopathy.
- Provide at least $3,294,000 for the Glaucoma Project at CDC. Adequate FY 2017 resources will allow the program to continue to improve glaucoma screening, referral, and treatment. The program is intended to reach those populations experiencing the greatest disparity in access to glaucoma care through an integrated collaboration among private and public organizations.
- Support the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health (the Center) in developing a public health infrastructure to promote and ensure a continuum of vision and eye health care for children. The Center focuses its efforts on: the development of best practices and guidelines for ensuring access to comprehensive eye care for children, including, but not limited to, early detection; supporting state-based efforts to increase access to – and quality of – children’s vision and eye health care; and establishing and advancing uniform mechanisms for data collection and reporting of children’s vision and eye health services.
- Provide $770 million to the National Eye Institute in order to bolster efforts to identify the underlying causes of eye disease and vision loss, improve early detection and diagnosis, and advance prevention and treatment efforts.
- Cosponsor H.R. 1312/S. 898, the National Health Service Corps Improvement Act of 2015. H.R. 1312/S. 898 would allow optometrists to participate in the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) encourages providers to enter practice in underserved communities and optometric participation would increase access to much needed vision and eye health in community health centers as well as medically underserved areas.
- Join the Congressional Vision Caucus (CVC) which is a bipartisan coalition dedicated to strengthening policy on vision-related problems and disabilities. Ohio Representatives Pat Tiberi, Michael Turner, Tim Ryan, Robert Gibbs, Steve Stivers, Steve Chabot, David Joyce, Marcy Kaptur and Senator Sherrod Brown currently serve on the CVC. Ohio Representative Steve Stivers serves as one of four co-chairs of the CVC.
“We appreciate our members of Congress providing Prevent Blindness delegates with the opportunity to speak with them about the importance of providing funding of programs and access to care that helps prevent vision loss,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness.
About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Or, visit us on the web at www.pbohio.org or facebook.com/pbohio and Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/PB_Ohio.