SPONSORED FREE HEALTH CARE EVENTS

NOTE: This page remains under construction and will be updated as the Board rolls out more information. The Board welcomes you to check back often.

The California State Board of Optometry (Board) is pleased to announce that regulations for optometrists who volunteer to provide medical services at “Sponsored Free Health Care Events” became effective April 15, 2013.

The following information is meant to serve as a summary of the program and the requirements; however, all interested parties should read the full text of the legislation and the regulations.

ENACTING LEGISLATION:

Click to view AB 2699 (Chapter 270, Statutes of 2010), the legislation that enacted the program.

AB 2699 added California Business and Professions Code Section 901 (BPC Section 901), which provides a framework whereby healing arts boards are authorized to adopt regulations under which a health care practitioner licensed and in good standing in another state, district or territory of the United States may, under specified conditions, provide health care services for a limited time in California without obtaining California licensure. These professional services only can be provided at free health care events sponsored by certain entities.

GOVERNING REGULATIONS:

Although AB 2699 became effective in 2011, the program could not be implemented until regulations were in place. The Board has adopted Sections 1508,1508.1,1508.2, and 1508.3 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations to implement the provisions of BPC Section 901. Click on this link to view the regulations. These regulations only apply to out-of-state optometrists. Other healthcare professionals should check with the appropriate California board for eligibility requirements to participate in free health care events.

SPONSORING ENTITIES:

Under the auspices of this program, free health care events can be sponsored either by a local government entity or a “sponsoring entity.”

A “sponsoring entity” is a non-governmental entity that wishes to sponsor a free health care event and must be either a nonprofit organization (organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code) or a community-based organization, which is defined as a public or private nonprofit organization that is representative of a community or a significant segment of a community, and is engaged in meeting human, educational, environmental, or public safety community needs.

A non-government organization sponsoring a free health care event to uninsured and underinsured individuals may include participation by certain healthcare practitioners licensed outside of California if the organization registers with the California licensing authorities having jurisdiction over those professions. Local government entities that plan to sponsor a free health care event are not required to register.

Registration Form: A sponsoring entity can register by submitting the completed "Registration of Sponsoring Entity under Business & Professions Code Section 901," Form 901-A (DCA/2011). The Board has delegated the registration process for sponsoring entities to the Department of Consumer Affairs.

To register, download this form. This form must be completed and submitted by the sponsoring entity at least 90 calendar days prior to the date on which the sponsored event is scheduled to begin.

The form must be submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs, as indicated on page 4 of the form.

Posting of Notice: Sponsoring entities must post a notice visible to patients at every station where patients are being seen by an optometrist. The notice shall be in at least 48-point type in Arial font and include a statement and information as shown in Section 1508.1. Entities either can print and use this document or have a similar notice printed, so long as it meets the legal requirements.

Recordkeeping Requirements: Regardless of where it is located, a sponsoring entity is required to maintain, at a physical location in California, a copy of all records required by Section 901 as well as a copy of the authorization for participation issued by the board to an out-of-state optometrist.

These records are required to be maintained for a period of at least five years following the provision of health care services. The records may be maintained in either paper or electronic form. The sponsoring entity shall notify the Board at the time of registration as to the form in which it will maintain the records. In addition, the sponsoring entity is required to keep a copy of all records required by section 901(g) of the Code at the physical location of the sponsored event until that event has ended. These records are required to be available for inspection and copying during the operating hours of the sponsored event upon request of any representative of the Board. In addition, the sponsoring entity shall provide copies of any record required to be maintained by section 901 of the Code to any representative of the Board within fifteen (15) calendar days of the request.

Reporting Requirement: Within fifteen (15) calendar days following the provision of health care services the sponsoring entity is required to file a report with the Board summarizing the details of the sponsored event. This report may be in a form of the sponsoring entity’s choosing, but is required to include, at a minimum, the following information:

(1) The date(s) of the sponsored event;
(2) The location(s) of the sponsored event;
(3) The type(s) and general description of all health care services provided at the sponsored event; and
(4) A list of each out-of-state practitioner granted authorization pursuant to this article who participated in the sponsored event, along with the license number of that practitioner.

Fingerprinting of Out-of-State Optometry Volunteers: Sponsoring entities should be aware that all out-of-state optometrists must be fingerprinted before an authorization will be granted by the Board. (See more information, below.) The sponsoring entity should consider the services of mobile Live Scan operators who can travel to the entities' area; this would be a viable option if a number of healthcare volunteers (not just optometry volunteers) are coming from a single geographic area.

OUT-OF-STATE OPTOMETRIST VOLUNTEERS:

A person who is not licensed to practice optometry in California but who holds a current valid optometrist license or certificate in good standing in another state, district, or territory of the United States to practice optometry can volunteer to provide optometric services at a sponsored free health care event.

An out-of-state optometrist cannot apply independently; each application must specify the event at which the optometrist wants to volunteer.

Note for California Licensees: A California licensed optometrist may volunteer to provide medical services at a free health care event if your California license is (1) renewed and current or (2) in a volunteer status (coming soon). No further action is required before offering/volunteering services.

Application Process and Fees: An out-of-state licensed optometrist may request authorization to participate in a sponsored free health care event by submitting to the Board a completed "Request for Authorization to Practice Without a California License at a Sponsored Free Health Care Event," Form 901-B (OPT/2011).

If the application is approved, the Board will notify both the out-of-state optometrist and the sponsoring entity that authorization has been given for the optometrist to participate in a specific free health care event; the authorization period may not be for more than 10 days.

An out-of-state optometrist must submit a new application and processing fee for each health event at which he or she wants to volunteer.

To apply for authorization, download this form. This completed form must be submitted by the out-of-state optometrist at least 20 calendar days prior to the sponsored event. The Board highly recommends that you send the completed form sooner than that to accommodate for fingerprint clearances (see more information below). The form must be submitted to:

California State Board of Optometry
ATTN: Licensing Program – Sponsored Free Health Care Events
2450 Del Paso Road, Suite 105
Sacramento, CA 95834

Every application form must be accompanied by payment of a non-refundable, non-transferable processing fee of $40.

Fingerprinting Process and Fees: Before authorization can be granted to an out-of-state optometrist, a criminal record check must be performed by the California Department of Justice and the FBI. A one-time, non-refundable fingerprint process fee of $49 must be paid by the out-of-state optometrist to the Board. Once an out-of-state optometrist has been fingerprinted and authorization has been granted by the Board, this fingerprinting process need not be repeated if the out-of-state optometrist wishes to volunteer at future health care events in California.

An out-of-state optometrist seeking authorization must submit a completed set of fingerprint cards to the Board and should do so promptly. The optometrist may contact the Board at (916) 575-7170 to request paper fingerprint cards. After the fingerprint cards are complete, forward the cards and processing fee to:

California State Board of Optometry
ATTN: Licensing Program – Sponsored Free Health Care Events
2450 Del Paso Road, Suite 105
Sacramento, CA 95834

Once received at the Board, the fingerprint cards will be forwarded for processing. The average processing time for fingerprint cards is 30 business days after the cards have been submitted to the Board.

In the alternative, out-of-state optometrist may come to California to use Live Scan, an electronic fingerprinting process; it is expeditious, but it is available only in California. The results of Live Scan generally are received within five (5) days after the prints are scanned. To use Live Scan, please use this form. For a list of Live Scan locations in California, click on this link. (If you are an out-of-state optometrist and want to use Live Scan, you may want to discuss with the event sponsors about the services of mobile Live Scan operators who can travel to your area; this would be a viable option if a number of healthcare volunteers are coming from a single geographic area.)

Posting of Notice: An out-of-state optometrist who receives authorization to practice medicine at an event sponsored by a local government entity shall place a notice visible to patients at every station at which that person will be seeing patients. The notice shall be in at least 48-point type in Arial font and include a statement and information as shown in Section 1508.2. Volunteers either can print and use this document or have a similar notice printed, so long as it meets the legal requirements. While the posting requirement is not required when a “local government entity” is sponsoring the event, the out-of-state optometrist must receive authorization from the Board before volunteering at the event.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Sponsoring entities requiring more information about registration for sponsored free health care events should contact the Department of Consumer Affairs at:

Telephone: (916) 574-7800
Fax: (916) 574-8655
Email: lprdivision@dca.ca.gov

Optometrist volunteers requiring more information about registration for sponsored free health care events should contact the Board’s Licensing Unit at:

Telephone: (916) 575-7170