In late June 2020, the FTC introduced a rule to amend prior legislation related to the provision of contact lens prescriptions upon their finalization. The new rule went into effect on October 16, 2020. While the requirement of providing prescriptions to patients is not new for eye doctors, this rule acknowledged that the FTC has no means of enforcing the requirement. If a patient states that a doctor did not provide a copy of a contact lens prescription, for example, the FTC can only compare the patient’s word to the doctor’s word.
In turn, the rule restates the original requirement and introduces a new one:
- Doctors must provide final contact lens prescriptions to patients.
- Doctors must maintain proof that they did so for at least three years.
What can stand as proof of prescription delivery? The rule discusses four acceptable methods:
- request that the patient acknowledge receipt of the contact lens prescription by signing a separate confirmation statement;
- request that the patient sign a prescriber-retained copy of the prescription that contains a statement confirming the patient has received it;
- request that the patient sign a prescriber-retained copy of the sales receipt for the examination that contains a statement confirming the patient received the prescription; or
- provide the patient with a digital copy of the prescription, and retain evidence that it was sent, received, or made accessible, downloadable, and printable.
In short, three of the four methods require something to be signed by the patient. The fourth method, electronic delivery of a digital copy of the prescription, requires that patients be aware of the method of delivery (e.g., PHR, email, etc.) and that their consent to receive the prescription that way is documented.
Option 1 requires a distinct confirmation form. The AOA’s Contact Lens Rule Compliance Toolkit provides a template.
Options 2 and 3 can be achieved by adding a statement and signature area on either/both your patient invoices and your contact lens prescriptions. These would then be presented to the patient for signature and a copy saved per practice preference. See Example Our customer support team would be happy to assist you in adding these areas to your documents if you plan to use these methods.
To assist in compliance with method 4, RevolutionEHR has a section in the Create Contact Lens Rx screen allowing you to indicate that consent was obtained and for which method. See Example
Since this section is tied to the prescription itself and then maintained in RevolutionEHR in perpetuity, it offers a very efficient path to compliance. Remember, as well, that contact lens prescriptions can be made available automatically in the patient portal, RevolutionPHR, upon authorization, further enhancing efficiency. This is achieved via a very simple practice preference in Admin > General > Practice Preferences > PHR > Include patient contact lens Rx in PHR. See Example
Practices can customize the options in the Delivery Method field via Admin > Data Configuration > Prescriptions.
Please keep in mind that the FTC rule uses the term “verifiable affirmative consent” alongside method 4. This means that although an audit is unlikely, one could seek confirmation beyond the documentation on the CL Rx screen that the patient truly provided consent. The rule uses the following examples of what that proof could be: a signed consent form (perhaps addressed during intake), an email from the patient to the prescriber, or an audio recording from a telephone conversation with a patient. Thus, each practice should decide how they will support the idea of “verifiable affirmative consent."