Optometry Board Newsletter


July 2000

OPTOMETRIC GLAUCOMA SPECIALIST

H.B. 1051 is ready for implementation! The Board has adopted rules to fully implement the law. Enclosed is an application form to be completed by THERAPEUTIC OPTOMETRISTS who have completed the required 30 hours of education course presented by approved colleges of optometry and medical schools, including an examination based on the content of the course curriculum. Upon completion of the course, a letter/certification will be provided from the educational institution, the original of which must be attached to the application and forwarded to the Board along with a check or money order payable to the Texas Optometry Board in the amount of $50. Additionally, a second form (also enclosed) must be completed by an ophthalmologist and attached to your application for optometric glaucoma specialist. DO NOT SEND your information separately; the application must be complete of all items: the form, fee, proof of education and examination, and ophthalmology form. Once the Board has processed the application, a license will be sent to display along with your therapeutic licenses. Since there was no funding to implement this law; we must ask your cooperation in forwarding complete documentation to us. To implement the law, the Board amended several rules and adopted new rules. Please review the enclosed rules 280.5, 280.6, 280.8, 280.9, 280.10, 280.11.

Currently, all therapeutic optometrists can use antivirals and the limitation on steroid usage has been removed. No orals can be prescribed until the optometric glaucoma specialty license has been issued. Pharmacies will not honor your prescriptions until the optometric glaucoma specialty license has been issued. See related articles on advertising, DPS/DEA numbers, continuing education, and professional name. Be sure to check the Board’s website for recent updates.

PRESCRIPTIONS
Expiration Dates

Under Rule 279.1 an expiration date is required on a contact lens prescription, and the Contact Lens Prescription Act requires that an expiration date of not less than one year be placed on the prescription. This allows a prescription to be written for a longer period of time, at the discretion of the examining doctor. No statutory authority exists nor has the Board adopted a rule that requires an expiration date on a spectacle prescription. Under the standard of care, you may determine that an expiration date is required and place a date on the prescription.

Lately, the Board has received numerous telephone calls stating that some licensees and their staff members are informing the public that a new law has been passed so that a spectacle prescriptionautomatically” expires after one year and that an eye examination is required annually. There is no such law, and this type of information is not only confusing to the public, but causes them to call the Board and complain. Again, the law permits, at the discretion of the doctor, an expiration date (i.e., one year, two years) to be placed on a prescription for the standard of care, but there is no one year law requirement. Dispensers must honor expiration dates placed on prescriptions.

Signing

In order to provide the patient with easy access to prescriptions and to ease the practical aspects of a multi-doctor practice, the Texas Optometry Board has amended two rules, which allows the examining doctor to authorize another optometrist or physician to issue the prescription to the patient under certain conditions. The rule does not specify the manner of authorization. The prescription must contain: the name and license number of the examining doctor, and the signature and license number of the doctor signing the prescription. Rule 279.1 (contact lens prescription requirements) and 279.14 (defining a prescription) are included in this newsletter for your information.

WAIVER OF LIABILITY

Some doctors may be using “consent” or “procedure election” forms that include a statement that the optometrist’s professional liability is waived or excused if the patient elects to omit a particular procedure. Licensees may wish to consult their legal counsel to ensure that any waiver of liability is not contrary to public policy and therefore legally void.

The Board may discipline licensees for not maintaining the proper standard of care. The Board may also discipline an optometrist for misrepresentation in the practice of optometry, as well as deceiving or defrauding the public. Therefore, any licensee planning to use a waiver may wish to consult with legal counsel to determine:

CONTINUING EDUCATION AND RENEWALS

In late October, renewal forms will be mailed to all licensees, indicating the number of continuing education hours obtained to date. Those who obtain the optometric glaucoma specialty education may use that to satisfy the continuing education requirements. Continuing education in excess of the required 16 hours cannot be used in the following year; all education obtained in a calendar year is credited only toward that year. We ask your cooperation in assuring that renewal forms are properly completed and signed and that your fee be correct in order to assist with the renewal process.

1-800 CONTACTS SETTLEMENT WITH TDH

An order entered into between the Contact Lens Dispensing Permit Program at the Texas Department of Health and 1-800 Contacts may have some effect on the manner in which licensees provide contact lens prescriptions to their patients. The Department of Health, which issues contact lens permits, entered into an Agreed Order with 1-800 Contacts that requires the dispenser to obtain a written prescription before dispensing contacts. The Agreed Order also allows 1-800 Contacts to act as the patient’s authorized agent (if permission from the patient has been received) and obtain the written prescription directly from the examining optometrist. The Department of Health has not yet approved the language that 1-800 Contacts will use to directly request the contact lens prescription.

Although the Optometry Act and the Contact Lens Prescription Act do not speak directly to the situation where someone acts as an agent for the purposes of requesting a contact lens prescription, the Board is not aware of any law or rule that would prevent a patient from authorizing 1-800 Contacts to obtain their prescription directly.

ADVERTISING

Problems in advertising continue, particularly in the area of the use of the term “laser vision correction.” As stated in our last newsletter, if such wording or similar wording is used, you must define the extent of the optometrist’s involvement, for example, “consultation,” “evaluation,” “management”, and/or “co-management.”

Other areas: Guarantees of results would be misleading; testimonials are prohibited; and advertising in conjunction with optical companies such as 1-800-numbers is a violation.

The use of the term “Certification” or “Specialization” under Rule 280.6 has been affected by the new optometric glaucoma specialist legislation (H.B. 1051). In fact, that rule has been changed in part to read as follows: “Use of the term ‘board certified’ or any similar word or phrase denoting certification or specialization constitutes misleading or deceptive advertising unless the advertising includes the name of the organization that has conferred the certification or specialization. The Texas Optometry Board does not confer certifications or specializations.”

To clarify further, an optometric glaucoma specialist will receive licensure, not certification or specialization. The entire rule is included in this newsletter. Immediate attention should be directed to any advertising using the words “certified, certification, specialist, or specializations.”

DPS/DEA NUMBERS

We have been in contact with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and enclosed with this newsletter is a specific letter of instruction and application for optometric glaucoma specialists to amend their current DPS controlled substance registration number. Licensees who do not have a current DPS number will need to contact the Texas Department of Public Safety directly for that process (512-424-2188). Once a new certificate is issued from DPS, a letter must be sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting that your DEA registration number be modified to include Schedules III, IV, and V. Within the letter you must furnish your current DEA number, DPS number, and a contact telephone number. Write or fax your request to the following: Dallas Office DEA, Attn: Registration Technician, 1880 Regal Row, Dallas, TX 75235 (voice: 214-640-0850 and fax: 214-640-0854); Houston Office DEA, Attn: Registration Technician, 1433 W Loop South, Suite 600, Houston, TX 77027 (voice: 713-693-3660 or fax: 713-693-3661). These numbers should be protected at all times to prevent diversion of drugs.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

It is the goal of the Texas Optometry Board to assure the public and all constituencies that the agency is in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and that the office, programs, activities, and publications are accessible to anyone needing reasonable accommodations.

Information concerning the provisions of the ADA, and rights provided are available from the Agency ADA Coordinator, Lois Ewald, at (voice) (512) 305-8500, (fax) (512) 305-8501, or 1-RELAY-TEXAS (TDD).

CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Notify the Board

The Optometry Act requires all licensees to notify the Board of any address changes within, at most, 30 days of the change. This is applicable to office and home addresses. Not only is it a requirement of law, it makes it difficult and more time consuming for the Board to send renewal notices, important information such as this newsletter, and otherwise notify licensees when the need arises.

PROFESSIONAL NAME
How Do I List My Name?

We have received and anticipate questions arising out of the optometric glaucoma specialist license and how one may list their professional name. As an Optometric Glaucoma Specialist, you may list that “title” in conjunction with your professional identification, but not in lieu of your professional identification required under the Healing Art Identification Act. Under that Act, you may list your name in one of the four following ways:
After using one of those designations, you may also list “Optometric Glaucoma Specialist”; however, you are not required to list such designation.

USEFUL WEBSITES

Visit the Board’s website for additional information. This site now contains new information regarding Optometric Glaucoma Specialist and continuing education courses that have been approved by the board. As the board meets and approves courses, they will be added for your information.

www.state.tx.us (click on “State Government”, then “State Agencies, Commissions, Universities and Boards,” and then on “Optometry Board”)

www.arbo.org (this will allow you to access the national optometric data bank, list of continuing education in the United States, and COPE-approved courses)

MEDICARE NOTICE

A recent Medicare Part B Newsletter notice has advised that effective for claims received on and after July 1, 2000, Optometrists may no longer bill for CPT Codes 99301-99303 (comprehensive nursing facility assessments).

Optometrists may bill codes 99311-99313 (subsequent nursing facility care).

Legal Notice

The Board and the State of Texas make no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability or fitness for a particular use of the information on this web site. The user assumes all liability and waives any and all claims or causes of action against the Board and the State of Texas for all uses of, and any reliance on, this information. This paragraph shall accompany all distributions of this information and is incorporated into this information for all purposes.
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Copyright (c) 2000 Texas Optometry Board
333 Guadalupe, Suite 2-420, Austin, TX 78701
512-305-8500
e-mail: Lois.Ewald@mail.capnet.state.tx.us
Website URL: http://www.tob.state.tx.us
Last page update: 8/02/2000