New Law Changes - 2011

The following bills will become effective January 1, 2011. Below is a summary of each change; however you are encouraged to read each bill in its entirety at or contact the Board at 916-575-7170.

Assembly Bill 2683 (Hernandez) - The Practice of Optometry in Health Facilities and Optometric Assistants

This bill establishes guidelines for the practice of optometry at a health facility or residential care facility provided the optometrist meets the following requirements:

  • The optometrists maintains a primary business office, separate from the health facility or residential care facility that meets the following requirements:
  • Is open to the public during normal business hours by telephone and for purposes of billing services or access to patient records.
  • Is licensed to the optometrist or the employer of the optometrists as a local business with the city or county in which it is located.
  • Is registered by the optometrist with the Board of Optometry.
  • Is owned or leased by the optometrist or by the employer of the optometrists.
  • Is not located in or connected with a residential dwelling.
  • The optometrist maintains or discloses patient records in the following manner:
  • Records are maintained and made available to the patient in such a way that services provided are conspicuously disclosed. The disclosure of records shall be made at or near the time services are rendered and shall be maintained at the primary business office.
  • The optometrist complies with all federal and state laws and regulation regarding maintenance and protection of medical records.
  • Pursuant to Section 3007, the optometrists keep all necessary records for minimum of seven years from the date of service.
  • If a prescription is issued to a patient, records shall be maintained for each prescription as part of the patient's chart, including the optometrists name, license number, place of practice and primary business office, and description of good and services for which patient is charged and the amount charged.
  • A copy of any referral or order requesting optometric services for a patient from the health facility's or residential care facility's administrator, director of social services, the attending physician and surgeon, the patient, or a family member shall be kept in the patient's medical record.
  • The optometrist posses and appropriately uses the instruments and equipment required for all optometric services and procedures performed within the health facility or residential care facility.
  • An optometrist who satisfies all of the requirements in this section for the practice of optometry at a health facility or residential care facility shall not be required to comply with Section 3070 with regard to providing notification to the Board of each facility or residential care facility at which he or she practices.

This bill also authorizes an assistant to fit prescription lenses and perform additional duties in any setting where optometry or ophthalmology is practiced, under the direct responsibility and supervision of a physician and surgeon, optometrist, or ophthalmologist, respectively. The bill would define "setting" for purposes of this provision to include, without limitation, any facility licensed by the State Department of Public Health or the State Department of Social Services. The bill makes conforming changes to related provisions. (Business and Professions Code (BPC) Sections 2544, 2553.6, 2559.4, 2564, and 3070.1)

Senate Bill 1489 Omnibus Bill (Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee)

This bill enacts, amends, or repeals a number of provisions in the practice of optometry. The following changes made by this bill are non-controversial and are intended to clarify, update and strengthen licensing laws:

  • BPC Section 3046, Eligibility Requirements for Licensure
    Clarifies that applicants for licensure must pass both required licensing examinations, not just one examination (National Board of Examiner's in Optometry and the California Laws and Regulations Examination).
  • BPC Section 3057.5, Eligibility of Graduates from Foreign Universities
    In order to be consistent with BPC Section 3046, the word examination has being amended to read examinations.
  • BPC Section 3147, Renewal of Expired Certificates
    Clarifies that proof of completion of the required number of hours of continuing education for the last two year must be submitted as part of the renewal process for an expired license.
  • BPC Section 3147.6, Restoration of Certificate Following Failure to Renew Within Specific Period
    Clarifies license renewal requirements for California licensed optometrists who fail to renew their license within three years after the expiration of the license.
  • BPC Section 3147.7, Applicability of Provision to Out of State Licensees
    Requires that out of state licensed optometrists who let his or her California license lapse for more than three years, but who can substantiate an active and current optometric license in another state, take and pass the California Laws and Regulations Examination in addition to meeting other requirements for license renewal.
Assembly Bill 2699 (Bass) - Exemption for Out-of-State Licensed Health Care Practitioners Who Provide Free Services on a Short Term, Voluntary Basis to Uninsured Persons

This bill provides an exemption from licensure and regulation requirements to optometrists, licensed or certified in good standing in another state or states, which offer or provide eye care services through a sponsored event. Eye care must be provided as follows:

  • To uninsured or underinsured persons,
  • On a short-term voluntary basis,
  • In association with a sponsoring entity that registers with the California State Board of Optometry (hereafter Board), and provides specified information to the county health department of the county in which the health care services will be provided, and
  • Without charge to the recipient or a 3rd party on behalf of the recipient, as specified.

This bill requires an exempt optometrist to obtain prior authorization to provide these services from the Board and satisfy other specified requirements such as including payment of a fee as determined by the Board. A fee has yet to be considered by the Board, if any.

This bill requires the Board to notify the sponsoring entity of the sponsored event whether the Board approves or denies a request for authorization to provide these services within 20 days of receipt of the request. This bill prohibits a contract of liability insurance issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2011, from excluding coverage of these practitioners or sponsoring entity for providing care under these provisions. (BPC Sections 900 & 901)

Assembly Bill 2500 (Hagman) - Reinstatement of Optometry License for Licensees in Military Service

This bill authorizes a licensee whose license expired while on active duty as a member of the California National Guard (CNG) or the United States Armed Forces (USAF) to reinstate his or her license without re-examination or penalty, unless the licensing agency determines that the applicant has not actively engaged in the practice of optometry while on active duty. Previous law was more restrictive and only allowed this type of reinstatement if the licensee had served during periods of war. (BPC Section 114)

Assembly Bill 2783 (Committee on Veterans Affairs) - Military Personnel

This bill requires the Board to develop rules and regulations that provide methods of evaluating education, training, and experience obtained in the armed services, if applicable to the requirements of the practice of optometry. These rules and regulations shall also specify how this education, training and experience may be used to meet the licensure requirements for optometrists. The Board must consult with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Military Department before adopting any rules and regulations.