|Issues and Legislation|
|The Prescription Release Rule
Violator Pays $10,000 Penalty
"...the written specifications for ophthalmic lenses which are derived from an eye examination. The prescription shall contain all of the information necessary to permit the buyer to obtain the necessary ophthalmic goods from the seller of his choice. In the case of a prescription for contact lenses, the refractionist must include in the prescription only those measurements and directions which would be included in a prescription for spectacle lenses. All prescriptions shall include all the information specified by state law, if any."
Prescription Release and Disclaimer Rules The Prescription Release Rule mandates the release of the prescription to the patient and prohibits disclaimers or extra fees for the prescription. It is an unfair act or practice for an ophthalmologist or optometrist to:
"a. Fail to provide to the patient one copy of the patient's prescription immediately after the eye examination is completed. Provided: An ophthalmologist or optometrist may refuse to give the patient a copy of the patient's prescription until the patient has paid for the eye examination, but only if that ophthalmologist or optometrist would have required immediate payment from that patient had the examination revealed that no ophthalmic goods were required;
"b. Condition the availability of an eye examination to any person on a requirement that the patient agree to purchase any ophthalmic goods from the ophthalmologist or optometrist;
"c. Charge the patient any fee in addition to the ophthalmologist's or optometrist's examination fee as a condition to releasing the prescription to the patient. Provided: An ophthalmologist or optometrist may charge an additional fee for verifying ophthalmic goods dispensed by another seller when the additional fee is imposed at the time the verification is performed, or
"d. Place on the prescription, or require the patient to sign, or deliver to the patient, a form or notice waiving or disclaiming the liability or responsibility of the ophthalmologist or optometrist for the accuracy of the eye examination or the accuracy of the ophthalmic goods and services dispensed by another seller."
OAA encourages all state societies and their members to institute programs to acquaint the public with the existence and requirements of the Prescription Release Rule. The Rule was passed to assure consumers full access to the eyewear market and its variety of eyewear providers. It is important that consumers know they have a right to their prescriptions and the freedom to choose where to have them filled.
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