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VOLUME 37, ISSUE 19
ISSUE DATE: OCTOBER 3, 2005
RULE PROPOSALS
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS

37 N.J.R. 3780(a)

Proposed Readoption with Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:38

New Jersey State Board of Optometrists

Authorized By: New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, Susan Gartland, Executive Director.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:12-1 et seq.

Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to the calendar requirements.

Proposal Number: PRN 2005-354.

Submit written comments by December 2, 2005 to:
Susan Gartland, Executive Director
New Jersey State Board of Optometrists
124 Halsey Street
P.O. Box 45012 Newark, NJ 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

The State Board of Optometrists (the Board) is proposing to readopt N.J.A.C. 13:38, with amendments. These rules are scheduled to expire on March 17, 2006, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:14B-5.1c. The rules were originally adopted to implement N.J.S.A. 45:12-1 et seq., setting forth the requirements for licensure and regulating the practice of optometry. In compliance with Executive Order No. 66(1978), the Board undertook a thorough review of the existing provisions of N.J.A.C. 13:38 in order to delete unnecessary or unreasonable rules and to clarify existing provisions. The Board believes that the rules proposed for readoption, as amended, are necessary, reasonable, understandable and responsive to the purpose for which they were promulgated, to protect the public from incompetence, ignorance, and fraud in connection with the care of the human eye. The Board also believes that the proposed amendments further that purpose, as the amendments clarify and update the language of the rules.

The following is a summary of the subchapters of N.J.A.C. 13:38 which the Board proposes to readopt, as well as a summary of the proposed amendments.

Subchapter 1, Advertisements and Solicitation, establishes the general advertising practices and responsibilities of optometrists who advertise.

At N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(a), the Board proposes to delete the definition of "accrediting bodies" since the term "accrediting bodies" is proposed to be deleted from the regulations at N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f). The Board proposes to delete the term "accrediting bodies" to clarify that the academic degrees that may be advertised must be from accredited institutions rather than the accrediting bodies themselves.

N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(c) provides that an optometrist may advertise fees for services to be rendered and prices for ophthalmic materials offered for sale as long as the optometrist complies with the requirements set forth at N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(c)1 through 7. The Board proposes to amend the disclosure statement required to be included in an advertisement by N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(c)6 if the cost of a contact lens care kit is not indicated as a separate item or as part of a combined package by changing the word "sterilization" to "disinfection." The Board is proposing this amendment since "disinfection" is the proper term.

At N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(c)7 the Board proposes an amendment that would require that an advertisement in which an optometrist is offering either a free or reduced fee eye examination include the usual and customary fee. The Board believes that this disclosure benefits the consumer by giving the consumer notice of how much of a discount he or she is receiving.

N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f) is proposed to be amended by the Board to prohibit the use of certifications from bona-fide accrediting bodies in advertisements. N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f) is being amended to require that if an advertisement contains information on professional credentials, the advertisement must only contain academic degrees obtained from colleges and universities accredited by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation. At N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f)1, the Board is proposing to delete approval of the use of the titles FAAO (Fellow American Academy of Optometry) and FCOVD (Fellow College of Optometrists in Vision Development). Instead, the Board is proposing to permit licensees to advertise the titles of post-graduate professional fellowships approved by the Board. The Board proposes this amendment so that optometrists can advertise programs in addition to those listed in the current rule. At N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f)2, the Board proposes an amendment establishing the criteria that the Board will apply when considering whether to approve the use of titles of post-graduate fellowships in advertisements. In the amendment proposed at N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f)3, the Board confirms the principle that had been stated in existing N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f)1 that the use of approved titles or post-graduate professional fellowships is not a claim of professional superiority. The Board is proposing to delete N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f)4 since the proposed new language of N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f)1 requires that the Board review the title of any residency or fellowship approved by any accredited school of optometry before an optometrist uses it in any advertisement.

The Board is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(l) to provide an exception to the requirement that optometrists include his or her license and certification number in all advertisements. The Board is proposing an exception for directory listings that do not include any optometric services because it is not practical to require the inclusion of the numbers since space in directory listings is limited.

The Board is proposing a new subsection (e) at N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.4. The proposed new subsection would prohibit business entities from using the terms "Specialist," "Specialty," or its substantial equivalent. The Board is proposing this amendment in an attempt to prevent consumers from being misled into believing that certain optometrists are specialists or professionally superior to other optometrists.

Subchapter 2 establishes the general rules of optometric practice.

The Board is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 13:38-2.3(a) to require that licensees prepare professional treatment records in a legible manner so that other health care professionals treating the patient or filling a prescription, the Board in connection with a disciplinary proceeding, and others who may need to see the records can read them.

The Board is also proposing amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:38-2.3(b)8 and 10 for technical purposes, to require that the treatment record include pharmaceutical prescriptions as well as prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. The Board is proposing amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:38-2.3(c) to delete the term "change" and replace it with the term "entry." In addition, the Board is also proposing that only corrections, not additions or deletions, can be made to a professional treatment record.

The Board is proposing to delete N.J.A.C. 13:38-2.3(d)10 since the September 18, 2001 date for compliance has passed. Subchapter 3, General Provision, sets forth the general responsibilities of a licensed optometrist.

N.J.A.C. 13:38-3.3 is proposed to be amended to provide that only licensees in active military service on a full-time basis are exempt from having to pay license fees. The Board is proposing to amend this exemption to clarify that only full-time active duty military qualify for the no fee license.

The Board is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 13:38-3.8, which governs branch office certificates. Since branch office certificates are issued for one address and are transferable to different locations, the Board is proposing this amendment to clarify that a licensee does not inform the Board of a change of branch office address, but rather requests that the Board transfer the branch office certificate to the new address.

The Board is proposing a new rule at N.J.A.C. 13:38-3.10 to provide for renewal, reinstatement and inactive/active status.

Subchapter 4, Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents (TPA) Certification, explains the purpose and scope of TPA and establishes the requirements an optometrist must fulfill in order to obtain his or her TPA certification.

Subchapter 5, Fee Schedule, establishes the fees necessary to support the operations of the Board.

Subchapter 6, Records, provides for the availability of professional treatment records. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(c) for technical reasons. N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(c) presently provides that an optometrist must provide the patient with a copy of the patient's contact lens prescription and the original to a New Jersey licensed eye care provider. Instead, the Board proposes that an optometrist be required to give the original to the patient and the copy to the licensed eye care provider. The Board proposes this amendment because patients do not only use New Jersey licensed ophthalmologists, optometrists or ophthalmic dispensers for eye care. In addition, the Board proposes to delete, for confidentiality purposes, the authority for a patient's New Jersey licensed eye care provider acting on the patient's behalf to obtain a copy of the patient's contact lens prescription.

The Board is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(d) for technical reasons as well. The Board is proposing to replace the term "optician" with "ophthalmic dispenser" since "ophthalmic dispenser" is the correct term. For consumer safety, the Board is also proposing to permit an optometrist to give a copy of the patient's prescription for eyeglasses to the patient or to another optometrist, ophthalmologist or ophthalmic dispenser acting on the patient's behalf only after the completion of the patient's comprehensive eye examination.

The Board is proposing to delete N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(e) which establishes that an optometrist does not have to release a contact lens and/or eyeglass prescription unless the patient has satisfied all financial obligations to the optometrist. The Board is proposing to delete this section since it is not in the best interest of the patient and it conflicts with 15 U.S.C. 7601(b)2.

N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(f) is being proposed to be recodified, without amendments, to N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(e).

Subchapter 7, Continuing Professional Optometric Education, establishes the continuing education requirements an optometrist must satisfy for license renewal.

As the Division has provided a 60-day comment period on this notice of proposal, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5.

Social Impact

The readoption of N.J.A.C. 13:38 continues to provide licensed optometrists with a clear and comprehensive set of rules to guide them in their professional practice. The Board believes that the rules proposed for readoption will have a positive impact upon the licensed community and upon the consumers they serve.

Several of the amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:38 that are proposed as part of this readoption are either technical in nature or simply reiterate the Board's intent by restating the regulatory provisions more clearly. More specifically, the proposed amendments at N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(a) and (c)6, 2.3, 3.3, 3.8 and 6.1 reflect changes for clarification purposes. The rules proposed for readoption with amendments will have a beneficial social impact upon the consumers of New Jersey since the rules provide consumers with the assurance that New Jersey licensed optometrists are competent, qualified and legally authorized to engage in the practice of optometry.

More specifically, the proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(c)7 requires that if an optometrist offers a free or reduced fee eye examination, the advertisement must include the usual and customary fee. This requirement will have a positive social impact upon consumers because they will have the ability to determine their discount. In addition, the remaining proposed amendments to Subchapter 1 will also have a positive social impact upon consumers since the proposed amendments ensure that advertisements do not mislead consumers.

The proposed new rule, N.J.A.C. 13:38-3.10, will have a social impact upon licensees because the new rule sets forth with specificity the procedures licensees must follow for licensure renewal, reinstatement and/or inactive/active status.

The existing rules which the Board proposes to readopt have served to protect the public health, safety and welfare by maintaining a high level of competence in the field of optometry. The readoption of the existing rules will continue to maintain the standards established and provide the public the continued protection and confidence in the optometric field which is afforded by the regulations. The Board will continue to regulate the practice of optometry by identifying those individuals who are qualified to engage in the practice of optometry, and to ensure that every licensed practitioner is aware of the procedures involved with licensure.

Economic Impact

The amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2, general advertising practices, may have an economic impact upon licensees since some licensees will be required to modify their advertisements to comply with the regulations. More specifically, the amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(c)7 requires licensees to include the usual and customary fee in any offer for a free or reduced fee eye examination. In addition, the amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f) require licensees to only advertise professional credentials obtained from colleges and universities accredited by the United States Department of Education and the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation. Licensees no longer are permitted to advertise professional credentials containing academic degrees and certifications from bona fide accrediting bodies.

The amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.4 may also impose an economic impact upon licensees since new subsection (e) prohibits a business, partnership or corporation name from using the term "Specialist," "Specialty," or its substantial equivalent. Therefore, licensees who currently have the term "Specialist," "Specialty," or its substantial equivalent in their business, partnership or corporation name will have to change its name.

The rules being readopted in Subchapter 5 will continue to have an economic impact in that applicants and licensees must pay fees for initial licensure and renewal.

The deletion of N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(e) may have an economic impact upon licensees. The rule required that patients satisfy all financial obligations to the optometrist prior to the optometrist releasing the eyeglass or contact lens prescription to the patient. However, since Federal law does not require that financial obligations be satisfied in this situation, the Board can not require it.

The proposed new rule, N.J.A.C. 13:38-3.10, will have an economic impact upon licensees, who must pay biennial licensing and certification fees. In addition, the proposed new rule will have an economic impact upon licensees who fail to renew their licenses prior to its expiration date because such licensees will be required to pay a renewal fee along with a late fee. This proposed new rule will also have an economic impact upon those licensees who license has been automatically suspended for up to five years for non-payment of a biennial renewal and wish to have their license reinstated because these licensees must pay a reinstatement fee and all past delinquent biennial renewal fees. In addition, licensees who elect inactive status and have been on inactive status for less than five years will experience an economic impact if they wish to be reinstated because they must pay a reinstatement fee. Pursuant to the new rule, all licensees who either have been suspended for more than five years and wish to be reinstated or who have elected to be inactive for more than five years and wish to be reinstated, will have an economic impact since these individuals will have to pay all fees associated with initial licensure.

Although the rules proposed for readoption may have a minimally negative economic impact upon licensees, such costs are greatly outweighed by the benefit these regulations provide. The Board believes that if an economic impact is experienced by applicants for licensure or licensees as a result of the proposed readoption with amendments, such economic impact is significantly outweighed by the necessary consumer protection measures the chapter establishes. Otherwise, the readoption of N.J.A.C. 13:38, with amendments, will not have an economic impact either on the public or on licensees since the amendments do not impose additional burdens on licensees or increase fees.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because the rules proposed for readoption and proposed amendments are subject to State statutory requirements and are not subject to any Federal requirements.

Jobs Impact

The rules proposed for readoption with amendments will enable the Board to continue to provide the Board with a mechanism to ensure licensees meet appropriate professional practice standards. The Board does not expect that the rules proposed for readoption and amendments will result in the creation or loss of jobs in the State.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The Board does not anticipate that the rules proposed for readoption and amendments will have any impact on the agriculture industry in the State.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Currently, the Board licenses approximately 1,200 active optometrists. If, for the purposes of the Act, Board licensees are considered "small businesses," then the following analysis applies.

The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(c)7 imposes a compliance requirement upon licensees who advertise an offer for a free or reduced fee eye examination since the proposed amendment requires the advertisement to include the usual and customary fee. N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f) imposes compliance requirements upon licensees whose advertisements contain information on professional credentials. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.2(f), such advertisements can only contain academic degrees obtained from colleges and universities accredited by the United States Department of Education and the Council on Post-secondary Accreditation. In addition, the titles of post-graduate professional fellowships may be used by licensees in advertisements provided such titles are approved by the Board.

N.J.A.C. 13:38-1.4(e) imposes compliance requirements upon licensees since the proposed new rule prohibits business entities from using the terms "Specialist," "Specialty," or its substantial equivalent.

Subchapter 2 imposes compliance requirements upon licensees since this subchapter establishes the general rules of optometric practice. More specifically, N.J.A.C. 13:38-2.3(a) imposes compliance requirements upon licensees since the Board is proposing that licensees prepare legible treatment records. The proposed new language in N.J.A.C. 13:38-2.3(b)8 and 10 imposes compliance requirements upon licensees since licensees are required to include pharmaceutical prescriptions in treatment records.

The proposed new rule at N.J.A.C. 13:38-3.10, which establishes the process a licensee must comply with if the licensee elects to renew, reinstate and/or inactivate his or her license, will continue to impose compliance requirements upon licensees since the process of renewal, reinstatement and inactivation have been in effect, but are now being outlined in this proposed new rule.

Subchapter 6 imposes compliance and recordkeeping requirements upon licensees since this subchapter outlines licensees' responsibilities for treatment records. More specifically, the proposed new language in N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(c) imposes a compliance requirement upon licensees since the rule requires optometrists to give patients the contact lens prescription upon completion of the contact lens fitting. In addition, the proposed language in N.J.A.C. 13:38-6.1(d) also imposes a compliance requirement upon licensees since it is only after the completion of a patient's comprehensive eye examination and upon the patient's request that the optometrist can give a copy of the patient's prescription for eyeglasses to another optometrist, ophthalmologist or ophthalmic dispenser acting on the patient's behalf.

The rules proposed for readoption with amendments will continue to impose recordkeeping and reporting requirements. No professional services will be needed to comply with the rules proposed for readoption with amendments. To the extent there will be an economic impact upon optometrists as a result of the rules proposed for readoption with amendments, it will be the same as that described in the Economic Impact above. The Board also believes that the rules proposed for readoption with amendments should be uniformly applied to all licensees in order to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the general public in the practice of optometry; and, therefore, no differing compliance requirements for any licensee are provided.

Smart Growth Impact

The Board does not believe that the rules proposed for readoption with amendments will have any impact upon the achievement of smart growth or upon the implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

Full text of the rules proposed for readoption may be found in the New Jersey Administrative Code at N.J.A.C. 13:38.

Full text of the proposed amendments follows (additions indicated in boldface thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):

SUBCHAPTER 1. ADVERTISEMENTS AND SOLICITATION

13:38-1.2 General advertising practices

(a) The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

["Accrediting bodies" means any school of optometry, college or university approved by the Commission on Higher Education or the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation of the United States Department of Education or its successor.]

(b) (No change.)

(c) An optometrist may advertise fees for services to be rendered and prices for ophthalmic materials offered for sale provided that:

1.-5. (No change.)

6. When prices are set forth for ophthalmic materials and services for contact lenses, the advertisement shall include, the fee for the minimum eye examination as defined in N.J.A.C. 13:38-2.1, the fee for the contact lens fitting or evaluation, the fee for the type and brand of lens being offered, and the fee for fitting instruction and follow-up care. These items may be priced separately or as a combined package. If a combined package is advertised, the advertisement shall also indicate the fee for individual services if the combined package is not purchased. If the cost of a contact lens care kit is not indicated as a separate item or as a part of a combined package, the following statement shall be set forth: "The proper maintenance of certain contact lenses requires [sterilization] disinfection, storage and cleansing in special containers and solutions, the cost of which is not included in this offer." In all advertisements which include a price for a contact lens care kit, the type of kit shall be set forth. When the price of a contact lens is advertised, a statement shall be made to note that such lens may not be appropriate for all patients; and

7. An optometrist may offer a free or reduced fee eye examination. The advertisement shall include the usual and customary fee. An advertised offer of a free or reduced fee eye examination shall not be contingent upon a resultant purchase of ophthalmic materials or services.

(d)-(e) (No change.)

(f) When an advertisement contains information on professional credentials, it shall only contain [the] academic degrees [and certifications from bona fide accrediting bodies] obtained from colleges and universities accredited by the United States Department of Education and the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation.

1. [The use of the titles of FAAO (Fellow American Academy of Optometry) and FCOVD (Fellow College of Optometrists in Vision Development) shall not be deemed to be a claim of professional superiority] Titles of post-graduate professional fellowships may be used by licensees in advertisements provided such titles are reviewed and approved by the Board.

2. The Board shall only review and approve the use of titles from post-graduate professional fellowships that have an educational, peer review and testing component. The listing of approved titles shall be maintained by the Board and available to licensees upon request.

3. The use of approved titles of post-graduate professional fellowships shall not be deemed to be a claim of professional superiority.

Recodifying existing 2. and 3. as 4. and 5. (No change in text.)

[4. Nothing in this section shall preclude any truthful and nondeceptive statement in regard to any residency or fellowship approved by any accredited school of optometry.]

(g)-(k) (No change.)

(l) An optometrist shall include his or her license and certification number in all advertisements, except in directory listings that do not include any optometric services (that is, listings that include the licensee's name, address, and phone number).

13:38-1.4 Optometric practice under assumed names and disclosure of practitioner names

(a)-(d) (No change.)

(e) The business, partnership or corporation name shall not use the terms "Specialist," "Specialty," or its substantial equivalent.

[(e)](f) (No change in text.)

SUBCHAPTER 2. GENERAL RULES OF OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE

13:38-2.3 Records of examinations and prescriptions; computerized records

(a) Licensees shall prepare contemporaneous, legible, permanent professional treatment records and shall also maintain records relating to billings made to patients or third-party carriers for professional services. All treatment records, bills and claim forms shall accurately reflect the treatment of services rendered. Treatment records shall be maintained for a period of not less than seven years from the date of the most recent entry.

(b) To the extent applicable, professional treatment records shall contain, in addition those findings required by the minimum examination as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:38-2.1:

1.-7. (No change.)

8. Complete eyeglass [or], contact lens, or pharmaceutical prescriptions;

9. (No change.)

10. [If the service is rendered in a setting where more than one provider practices, the] The identity of the optometrist providing treatment and the name of the person dispensing eyeglasses [or], contact lenses, or issuing pharmaceutical prescriptions to the patient;

11.-12. (No change.)

(c) Corrections [or additions], but no deletions or additions, may be made to an existing record, provided that each [change] entry is clearly identified as such and initialed and dated by the licensee.

(d) Treatment records may be prepared and maintained on a personal or other computer but shall be in compliance with the following criteria:

1.-7. (No change.)

8. The optometrist shall maintain the safety and security of back-up data and hard copies maintained off premises; and

9. The optometrist shall provide to the Board upon request any back-up data and/or hard copies maintained off premises on any requested patient records, together with the following information:

i. The name of the computer operating system and patient record management software package containing the requested patient record files and instructions on using such system;

ii. Current passwords necessary to access the requested patient record files;

iii. Previous passwords if required to access the requested patient record files; and

iv. The name of the contact person(s) who provides technical support for the licensee's computer operating system and patient record management software package[; and].

[10. A computer system which does not meet the requirements of this section shall be modified to comply with these requirements. These modifications shall be completed by September 18, 2001. Until such time as these modification are completed, standard hard copy records shall be maintained.]

SUBCHAPTER 3. GENERAL PROVISION[S]

13:38-3.3 Military service

Any licensee of the Board who is engaged in full-time active duty in the military service of this country shall not be required to pay the renewal fees for any year during which he or she is in full-time service.

13:38-3.8 Branch offices

(a) A branch office certificate issued for one address is transferable to a different address. A licensee desiring to [change] transfer a branch office address shall file a change of address form together with the fee as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:38-5.1 and shall return the branch office certificate previously issued.

(b) (No change.)

13:38-3.10 Renewal; reinstatement; inactive/active status

(a) All licenses to practice optometry issued by the Board shall be issued for a two-year biennial licensure period. Except as provided in N.J.A.C. 13:38-3.3, a licensee who seeks renewal of the license shall submit a renewal application and the renewal fee set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:38-5.1 prior to the expiration date of the license.

(b) If a licensee does not renew the license prior to its expiration date, the licensee may renew the license within 30 days of its expiration by submitting a renewal application, a renewal fee and a late fee, as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:38-5.1.

(c) A license that is not renewed within 30 days of its expiration shall be automatically suspended. An individual who continues to practice with a suspended license shall be deemed to be engaged in unlicensed practice.

(d) A licensee whose license has been automatically suspended for up to five years for nonpayment of a biennial renewal fee pursuant to (c) above may be reinstated by the Board upon completion of the following:

1. Payment of the reinstatement fee and all past delinquent biennial renewal fees pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:38-5.1;

2. Completion of the continuing education credits required for each biennial registration period for which the licensee was suspended; and

3. Submission of an affidavit of employment listing each job held during the period of suspended license which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of each employer.

(e) A licensee whose license has been automatically suspended for more than five years who wishes to have his or her license reinstated shall reapply for licensure. The applicant shall fulfill all of the initial licensure requirements.

(f) Renewal applications shall provide the licensee with the option of either active or inactive status. A licensee electing inactive status shall pay the inactive license fee set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:38-5.1 and shall not engage in the practice of optometry.

(g) A licensee who elected inactive status and has been on inactive status for less than five years may be reinstated by the Board upon completion of the following:

1. Payment of the reinstatement fee;

2. The completion of the continuing education credits required for each biennial registration period for which the licensee was on inactive status; and

3. Submission of an affidavit of employment listing each job held during the period the licensee was on inactive status which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of each employer.

(h) A licensee who was on inactive status for more than five years who wishes to return to practice shall reapply for licensure. The applicant shall fulfill all of the initial licensure requirements.

SUBCHAPTER 6. RECORDS

13:38-6.1 Availability of records

(a) - (b) (No change.)

(c) An optometrist shall, free of charge, release the contact lens prescription directly to the patient upon completion of the contact lens fitting. An optometrist shall, free of charge, release a copy of a patient's contact lens prescription directly to [the patient or to a New Jersey] a licensed ophthalmologist, optometrist, or ophthalmic dispenser upon either the oral or written request of a patient [or the New Jersey licensed eye care provider acting on the patient's behalf]. If an optometrist releases a contact lens prescription directly to a patient, the optometrist shall provide the patient with a written warning, which shall include the following language in boldface, underlined and in capital letters:

WARNING: YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT YOUR EYES MAY CHANGE WITH TIME AND CONTACT LENSES THAT WERE INITIALLY FITTING PROPERLY MAY NO LONGER BE APPROPRIATE AND MAY ENDANGER YOUR EYE HEALTH. YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR EYE DOCTOR PERIODICALLY TO ENSURE YOUR LENSES ARE FITTING PROPERLY.

1. (No change.)

(d) [Upon] After the completion of a patient's comprehensive eye examination, and upon the patient's request, a copy of the patient's prescription for eyeglasses shall be given, free of charge, to the patient or to another optometrist, ophthalmologist or [optician] ophthalmic dispenser acting on the patient's behalf.

[(e) Subsections (c) and (d) above relative to the release of contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions shall not apply unless the patient has satisfied all financial obligations to the optometrist.]

[(f)](e) (No change in text.)

INTERESTED PERSONS

Interested persons may submit comments, information or arguments concerning any of the rule proposals in this issue until the date indicated in the proposal. Submissions and any inquiries about submissions should be addressed to the agency officer specified for a particular proposal.

The required minimum period for comment concerning a proposal is 30 days. A proposing agency may extend the 30-day comment period to accommodate public hearings or to elicit greater public response to a proposed new rule or amendment. Most notices of proposal include a 60-day comment period, in order to qualify the notice for an exception to the rulemaking calendar requirements of N.J.S.A. 52:14B-3. An extended comment deadline will be noted in the heading of a proposal or appear in a subsequent notice in the Register.

At the close of the period for comments, the proposing agency may thereafter adopt a proposal, without change, or with changes not in violation of the rulemaking procedures at N.J.A.C. 1:30-6.3. The adoption becomes effective upon publication in the Register of a notice of adoption, unless otherwise indicated in the adoption notice. Promulgation in the New Jersey Register establishes a new or amended rule as an official part of the New Jersey Administrative Code.

 



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