Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 846
By: Maxey
Public Health


The 75th Legislature required ophthalmologists, optometrists, and
therapeutic optometrists to release a contact lens prescription to a
patient entitling each patient to have a  prescription filled wherever they
choose. Some problems have emerged since this change in law took effect in
1997.  House Bill 846 modifies provisions relating to how contact lens
prescriptions are handled. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any  additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 846 amends the Occupations Code to require person filling a
contact lens prescription (prescription) to confirm the validity of the
prescription with the prescribing physician, optometrist, or therapeutic
optometrist (medical practitioner) when a patient presents a faxed or
copied prescription to be filled, and maintain the prescription in
accordance with specified prescription record requirements.  The bill
provides that a faxed or photocopied prescription is valid only if it is
confirmed by the prescribing medical practitioner.  The bill requires the
prescribing medical practitioner to promptly confirm the validity of a
faxed or copied prescription, which was prescribed by that medical
practitioner, at the request of a person authorized to dispense contact
lenses (Secs. 353.152 and 353.1521). 

The bill prohibits a medical practitioner from requiring a follow-up
examination unless warranted by the patient's ocular health in order to
determine the parameters of the prescription.  If the patient requests more
than one prescription while it is valid, the bill requires the medical
practitioner to provide the patient with the prescription (Sec. 353.156).
The bill authorizes a medical practitioner to refuse to give a prescription
to a patient with specified pending financial obligations, unless the
unpaid amount is due to a pending or disputed insurance claim (Sec.
353.157).  The bill prohibits a medical practitioner from filling a
prescription that the medical practitioner has refused to release to a
patient, unless the refusal is based on the patient's ocular health (Sec.
353.158).  The bill eliminates requirements for modifying a prescription
when fewer than the total number of lenses authorized by the prescription
are dispensed to a patient (Secs. 353.102 and 353.103). 


September 1, 2001.