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Inside this issue
  VSP legislation signed into law  
  VSP sponsored AB 1092 by Assembly Member Ken Cooley in order to give VSP authority to continue its existing audit practices for suspected fraudulent claims. The bill was signed by Governor Brown on September 19, 2018.  Earlier this year, COA had experts review this bill and advocate for amendments to require use of an independent and verifiable statistical methodology that protects optometrists from unfair practices relative to fraud investigations. The bill also reduces the time window VSP can use statistical sampling go back and recoup from fraudulent claims from 36 months down to just 12 months. After securing amendments that protect doctors, COA adopted a "neutral" position on the bill.  

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  Revision of branch office law removes office time rule  
  Optometrists with more than one office should be aware that the "50 percent rule" has been repealed effective January 1, 2019. California law previously required optometrists with more than one branch office to be "in personal attendance at each of his or her offices 50 percent of the time during which the office is open for the practice of optometry." A new law sponsored by the State Board of Optometry and signed this year repeals the branch office law and instead allows optometrists to own up to 11 offices. For more information, click here for COA's fact sheet about this new law.  

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  AOA pressures FTC to back off proposed paperwork mandate  
  AOA successfully convinced 24 California U.S. House Democrats to sign on to a letter opposing the FTC's proposed contact lens paperwork mandate. The letter included over half of the California Democratic delegation and also included a number of high-level names, including Rep. Anna Eshoo, who could very well become the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee should Democrats win back the House in November. AOA and COA have strongly opposed this proposal that would mandate that eye doctors obtain from each contact lense patient a signed acknowledgement form certifying that their doctor provided them a copy of their contact lens prescription. The public comment period for this proposal has closed and a final rule could be published at anytime. Visit AOA's Online Legislative Action Center to urge lawmaker's action against the FTC proposal and call for greater enforcement against illegal contact lens sales.  

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  Office poster requirement for optometrists  
  California Code of Regulations (CCR) Section 1566 and 1566.1 requires a Consumer Notice be posted in each optometrist's office in a conspicuous place for consumers to see. The notice must contain the following minimum information:
 
 
CONSUMER NOTICE
 
Eye doctors are required to provide patients with a copy of their ophthalmic lens prescriptions as follows:
  • Spectacle prescriptions: Release upon completion of exam.
  • Contact lens prescriptions: Release upon completion of exam or upon completion of the fitting process.
The practice of optometry in California is regulated by the Board of Optometry. The Board of Optometry receives and investigates all consumer complaints involving the practice of optometry. Complaints or grievances involving a California-licensed optometrist should be directed to:
 
BOARD OF OPTOMETRY
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
2450 DEL PASO ROAD, SUITE 105
SACRAMENTO, CA 95834
PHONE: 1-866-585-2666 OR (916) 575-7170
EMAIL: OPTOMETRY@DCA.CA.GOV
WEBSITE: WWW.OPTOMETRY.CA.GOV
 

The FTC has recently come into California to check offices for this notice. Please make sure the Consumer Notice above is posted in a conspicuous place in your optometric office(s). The law requires you give each patient a copy of their prescription after the exam or fitting, even if the patient does not ask for it.
 

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  Reporting illegal sales of contact lenses  
  COA is concerned that Hubble and other companies are allegedly violating state and federal law by selling contact lenses without a prescription. COA has filed a complaint with the State Board of Optometry and we urge you to do the same. Here is a link to the webpage where you can file a complaint online. Under the drop down menu for "Board," choose "California State Board of Optometry." Under "License type" choose "Nonresident contact lens seller." We highly encourage you to also report the violation to federal regulators via AOA's website Reporting Contact Lens Violations.

For questions or assistance in making a complaint, call COA's "hotline" at (916) 266-5027.
 

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  Online eye testing  
  COA continues to seek patient examples that we can use in our fight to educate the public about the dangers of online or remote refraction. If you have a patient between 18 and 50 who came to you asymptomatic, but had a life- or sight-threatening condition that you were able to detect during your exam, please report the case to COA or call COA's "hotline" at (916) 266-5027. We need your help to collect these patient examples to help COA demonstrate the risks to consumers, the media and elected officials. Your patient need not have received an online or remote refraction to submit your example.

COA has also developed a video and published other messages aimed at the public about online exams via social media. Feel free to share this video on social media with your friends and patients.
 

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  LA Times endorses Ed Hernandez for Lieutenant Governor  
  This week, Senator Hernandez received the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times in the race for California's next Lieutenant Governor. The Times Editorial Board said in part, "Hernandez has been a legislator of substance and persistence who's taken on powerful special interests. Plus, he knows his way around state agencies and the Legislature, making him better prepared to step into the governor's office in a crisis."
 
What you can do to help elect Senator Ed Hernandez:
  • Click here to donate to the campaign. Even a small contribution adds to his total number of "supporters" and helps demonstrate his broad appeal to voters across California.
  • Let your patients know about Senator Hernandez! Put up a campaign sign in your office.
  • Most importantly - vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2018! Register to vote online by October 22, 2018.
 

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  What we're clicking on  
  Impact of utilizing Lyft for medical transportation

Wired reports on AI vision screening in India

Oklahoma proposition would allow Walmart to limit the optometric scope of practice

All doctors must use CURES before prescribing scheduled drugs as of Oct 2

Why telemedicine hasn't caught on
 

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