SECTION 1. There shall be a special commission on the eye care and vision health needs of the Commonwealth. The commission shall consist of 13 members who shall be appointed by the governor: 1 of whom shall be a representative of the New England College of Optometry; 1 of whom shall be a representative of a medical school located in the Commonwealth; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Society of Optometrists; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons; 1 of whom shall be an optometrist who is licensed in the Commonwealth; 1 of whom shall be an ophthalmologist who is licensed in the Commonwealth; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Inc.; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind; 1 of whom shall be a representative of an organization that advocates for consumers of health care; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Public Health Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Executive Office of Education; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, who shall serve as chairperson of the commission.
The commission shall: (i) report on the current status of and foreseeable needs for eye care and vision health in the Commonwealth; (ii) identify existing pathways for access to eye and vision care services; (iii) identify mechanisms for addressing the Commonwealth’s unmet eye care and vision health needs with a particular focus on urban and rural settings; (iv) identify strategies for addressing the Commonwealth’s unmet eye care and vision health needs in children and seniors and (v) provide recommendations for additional legislation, support programs and resources necessary to provide persons with eye care or vision health needs access to services.
Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner provided for the original appointments. The commission shall organize within 120 days following the appointment of a majority of its members. The chairperson shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the commission.
The commission shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any state, county or municipal department, board, bureau, commission or agency as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes.
The executive office of health and human services shall provide staff support to the commission.
The commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with Joint Committee on Public Health, the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing and the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate on or before December 31, 2016.
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