private optometry and optical companies compromise in California

The California Optometric Association (COA) and national optical companies ended their historic stand-off and agreed on legislation that provides a route for optometrists to co-locate with companies that dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses in California. The new legislation allows optometrists to engage in leasing arrangements under certain conditions, with national optical companies, registered dispensing opticians (RDOs) and vision plans. It also transfers oversight of RDOs from the Medical Board of California to the Board of Optometry. The Governor is expected to sign the bill which will be effective on January 1, 2016.

Under the legislation, an optical company, vision plan or RDO will be able to lease space on its premises to an optometrist if their leasing agreement establishes specified conditions designed to protect the optometrist’s practice from commercial interference. Those protections include, among other things, minimum one year lease terms, good faith termination provisions, and the optometrist’s control over staff, scheduling, records, fees and access to the optometrist’s office space.

The bill will permit an optical company or an RDO to own, operate and provide products and services to a vision plan, so long as the vision plan does not employ optometrists. Other parts of the bill restrict certain types of advertising by co-located RDOs and optometrists and require RDOs to post consumer notices describing the spectacle and contact release rules promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission.

Memberships, proprietary interests, co-ownership, or any profit-sharing arrangements between optometrists and opticians continue to be prohibited, unless otherwise permitted under the legislation.

The Board of Optometry’s jurisdiction will be expanded to include the licensing and oversight of RDOs, spectacle and contact lens dispensers and nonresident contact lens sellers. The legislation will also establish a five person subcommittee that includes two RDOs, two public members and an additional board member. The subcommittee is charged with making recommendations to the full board about the regulation of dispensing opticians.

Source: Lexology.com

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About Arthur De Gennaro

My friends call me Art. Welcome to my blog. In this space you’ll find information and comments on the ophthalmology world, the optical industry, the hearing industry and medical practice management. My intent is to provide information you can use to improve your business and your own performance. Please visit often and feel free to join the discussions by leaving comments.

You can learn more about me and my consulting company, Arthur De Gennaro & Associates, LLC by visiting my web site www.adegennaro.com

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September 2015

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