Yes. Informational advertising respects patient choice and is permitted. However, advertised promotions must be truthful and verifiable and must not be misleading or presented in such a manner as to demean the integrity of the profession.
Yes and no. Because travel reward points (e.g., Air Miles) confer only a nominal benefit, they would represent an acceptable incentive that may be offered to patients. Conversely, an incentive involving a trip to Miami would surpass this threshold, constituting a benefit under the conflict-of-interest regulation, and may not be offered to patients.
No. Optometrists may not offer or confer benefits for the referral of patients. This does not apply to “benefits of a nominal value,” which means small items or rebates that are not worth more than a few dollars.
Receipts for spectacles should be itemized to include separate values for frames and lenses, for patient information and as a third-party payor (insurance company) would require. However, optometrists may charge retail pricing for spectacles and are free to set their own prices for frames and lenses.
Yes. A prescription must be given to the patient when two requirements are met:
In this case you would have met both requirements because you conducted the exam and a prescription is clinically indicated for the patient, even if nothing has changed. Therefore, you must give the patient a copy of the prescription at the conclusion of the eye exam.
Yes, but not exclusively. Patients should leave your clinic in possession of their prescriptions. A prescription may be written or printed, and handed to the patient on paper. Alternatively, the prescription may be delivered electronically in PDF format to the patient’s smartphone or connected device, if receipt can be verified in office. Optical prescriptions should only be delivered electronically at the request or preference of patients.
You should insist that the patient take the prescription. If they refuse to accept it, then keep the written, signed, and dated copy of the prescription in the patient’s record and let the patient know they can pick it up at any time. You should note in the record that the patient declined the prescription. You should explain to patients that you’re required to give them a copy of their prescription and that it’s in their interests to keep a copy for their records should they need it to replace broken, stolen, or lost glasses.
No. Because the patient visit didn’t involve refractive considerations, no prescription is indicated.
The patient should be given a copy of the prescription after a major (or comprehensive) eye exam and at interim visits whenever a refraction result suggests the prescription needs changing.
No. Although there might be a refractive result (either small or absent), you must write a prescription only where one is clinically indicated.
Appliance-specific information, including the specifications of contact lenses (or “contact lens prescription”), need only be given upon patient request. Once you’ve established that, in your clinical judgment, the contact lens fitting is complete and the fees related to it have been paid in full, you must release the specifications if the patient requests.