This bill has been amended

Bill S1262-2009

Provides for the licensing of licensed orientation and mobility specialists and vision rehabilitation therapists.




TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the education law, in relation to the licensing of orientation and mobility specialists and rehabilitation therapists

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : This bill would ensure the safety of persons who are blind or partially sighted by licensing the trained vision rehabilitation professionals who work with them to restore their independent functioning within the home, the school, the workplace and the wider community.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : Creates a new article 167. §8801 sets out the definition used in the article. §B802 outlines the use of the titles "licensed orientation and mobility specialists and vision rehabilitation services. §8803 outlines the State Board for vision rehabilitation services. §8804 spells out the requirements for a license. §8805 establishes limited permits. §8806 explains the exempt persons. §8807 outlines special provisions and §8808 reparability provisions.

JUSTIFICATION : According to the 1995 LIGHTHOUSE NATIONAL SURVEY ON VISION LOSS, conducted by Louis Harris and Associates, Inc., one in six adults age 45 and older, representing 13.5 million Americans, report some form of vision impairment even when wearing glasses. Better than half of those report a severe impairment. More than one million New Yorkers are estimated to be included in this group, with higher prevalence among women, minorities, and people with low income. The percentage of the population that is visually impaired has grown at disproportionate rates, due in large measure to the rapid increases in the number of people who are living longer and thus experiencing age related vision loss from macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts and other conditions. The need for vision rehabilitation services has burgeoned proportionately. with the shrinking of government and private resources available for health care and social services, time and money can be saved by providing specially trained vision rehabilitation professionals to work with persons who are visually impaired. This bill offers a viable strategy for providing the greatest breadth of vision rehabilitation services to thousands of people who are blind or partially sighted, with vastly different levels of needs, in the most cost-effective fashion. It ensures that the professionals who provide these services will possess the highest level of specialized skills, expertise and experience.



EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect July 1, 2011. The commissioner of education and the board of regents are authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations and take any other measures as may be necessary for the timely implementation of this act on or before its effective date, including but not limited to the appointment of the state board for vision rehabilitation services, the acceptance and processing of applications for licensure, and the issuance of licenses.



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