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VSEPS & MSV Guard Physician Decision-Making 2017
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VSEPS & MSV Guard Physician Decision-Making, Technology, Patients


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VSEPS and the Medical Society of Virginia fought for significant changes in proposed legislation that could have significantly interfered with patient access to new health technology and physician decision-making. The Virginia Optometric Association initiated bills that intended to outlaw technology that allows patients to get a refraction and prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses over the internet. VSEPS successfully advocated for changes to protect developing telehealth technologies and the doctor-patient relationship.

HB 1497 (Farrell, R-Goochland) and SB 1321 (Carrico, R-Galax) were amended with extensive feedback from VSEPS, the Medical Society of Virginia, optician organizations, and industry stakeholders. Delegate Peter Farrell indicated early in discussions that he did not want his legislation to advance if the physician community had concerns. Specifically, based on VSEPS and MSV recommendations, Delegate Farrell and Senator Carrico both agreed to amendments that avoided defining eye exams, standard of care, and any penalties for practitioners.

“The legislation as introduced was a complete overreach. It would have gotten in the way of physician’s judgment about what technology to use in treating patients. I am so pleased that we were able to make reasonable policy that won’t interfere with technology advancements that are convenient for patients,” stated VSEPS President Suzanne Everhart DO.

The amended legislation that passed the General Assembly states that eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions made under these telehealth arrangements must comply with federal laws and regulations that govern other prescriptions. The prescriptions must be written by an ophthalmologist or optometrist licensed in Virginia, involved in a bona fide practitioner-patient relationship. This relationship can be established by in-person examination, live interaction via technology, or “store and forward” technology.  Telehealth refraction prescribing for devices will follow current telemedicine requirements for pharmaceuticals with some exceptions. The prescriber does not need a complete medical history for the patient. Additionally, online refractive prescriptions cannot be based solely on an online questionnaire.

For complete bill language, visit these links:


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