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Optometry Board Policy

As stated in Section 4725.19 (B) of the Ohio Revised Code, the sanctions specified in this section may be taken by the Board for several specific reasons. One prohibited activity mentioned is the "Soliciting patients from door to door or establishing temporary offices, in which case the Board shall suspend all certificates held by the optometrist."

No licensed optometrist may travel from door to door to offer optometric services that constitute the practice of optometry as defined in section 4725.01 of the Ohio Revised Code. This would not prohibit the optometrist from calling on a patient that is non-ambulatory at a residence to either conduct an examination or to dispense optical accessories if a doctor-patient relationship exists prior to the house call. This does not prohibit the advertisement of optometric services by means of distribution of mailings, brochures, or other such printed materials delivered from door to door.

No licensed optometrist shall establish an office or examination site at any location on a temporary basis for the purpose of conducting examinations or providing optometric services to patients. In order to provide needed services to the citizens of the state there may be some limited exceptions to the temporary office prohibition which are:

(1) A licensed optometrist may provide temporary services to a licensed nursing home or other full care facility. This temporary arrangement should be covered by a contract between the licensee and each specific location and be within the guidelines established by the Ohio Department of Health concerning such activities. The licensee is responsible for providing the necessary equipment, or to arrange for the necessary equipment, required to conduct an eye examination in a professional setting.
Only residents of the facility that are normally considered non-ambulatory or whom traveling from the location would present a hardship can be examined at the temporary office location. Persons that are residents of assisted living and fully ambulatory or employees of the locations are not eligible for provided services at a temporary location.

Professional fees received by the licensee under normal circumstances should be through the direct billing of the patient for the services provided. All other laws and rules that are established as to prescriptions, identification and records are to be followed as closely as possible as circumstances permit.
(2) A licensed optometrist may not set up a temporary location at a factory, office building or location of a principal provider of vision benefits unless approved by the Board, in writing.

(3) A licensed optometrist may provide temporary services at sporting events that would require optometric services for the participants of the event during its duration. Optometrists that are engaging in this type of activity must notify the Board prior to performing the optometric services so that the temporary locations can be verified.
(4) A licensed optometrist may engage in visual acuity testing at temporary locations. The licensee also may supervise or provide staff in conducting vision acuity activities. It should be made very clear to the participants that it is only an acuity test and not an eye examination. The licensee may not use this public service to actively solicit patients but may include the licensees' name and office location in a list provided to persons so requesting such information.
(5) A licensed optometrist may provide eye care services and examinations at a developmental center for patients under the jurisdiction of the Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. These services would be by contract with the agency. Residents to be examined would be at the discretion of the agency. One factor of consideration would be if the resident required a staff member to accompany them to an outside office for an examination. The licensee is responsible for providing the necessary equipment, or to arrange for the necessary equipment, required to conduct an eye examination in a professional setting.

Any other activities not specifically mentioned in this policy that involve either door to door activities or the establishment of a temporary office should be considered improper under Section 4725.19(B) and would require prior approval by the Board. The establishment of permanent satellite office locations are not considered temporary locations under these definitions even if not staffed on a full time basis

These guidelines are considered only a further amplification of the Optometry Laws and Administrative Rules for the information of licensees.

Approved Board Meeting of May 19, 1999