See “Business Organization.”
Patient, Confidential Information
Confidentiality of Patient Information: An office will collect and maintain information from patients that is made confidential by state or federal law. See HIPAA for information on the confidential status of patient records. Additional information obtained from patients, such as driver’s license numbers and social security numbers, may also be confidential. See Chapter 521 of the Business and Commerce Code. Since much of this information is stored on computers, doctors should be aware of notice requirements should computer security be breached. See Chapter 521 of the Business and Commerce Code.
Copies / Release of Patient Records: Section 351.352 sets out the procedure for a patient to request a copy of his or her patient record. If the records are requested in electronic form, House Bill 300 imposes a deadline to comply with the request. The federal government imposes additional requirements under HIPAA (see HIPAA).
Creating Record — Requirements: See Board Rule 277.7.
Retention: There is no specific requirement in the Texas Optometry Act on the length of time that a patient record must be retained. The following factors should be considered:
- HIPAA has a six year requirement for maintaining notices, restriction requests and information release records: See 45 CFR 164.524, 164.528 and 164.530 and HIPAA reference above. Also see this information from Health and Human Services regarding a general retention requirement and record destruction requirements.
- Malpractice lawsuits – statute of limitations (records for children might need to be maintained for a longer period). Check with attorney or malpractice insurance carrier for specific time requirements
- Investigations by the Board – Section 351.501(b) limits disciplinary action for willfully or repeatedly violating the Optometry Act or Board Rules to acts occurring within four years of filing of a complaint by Board.
- Third party providers – audit requirements of the provider
- IRS – check with accountant or attorney for record keeping requirements
Information regarding the destruction of patient records that no longer need to be retained can be found on the Health and Human Services website pages.
See “Opening Office.”
Information on contacting Poison Control.
Contacts, spectacle, and drug prescription requirements are discussed at: Prescription Requirements. The link also discusses current federal requirements for tamper resistant Medicaid Prescriptions. Computer generated signatures are permissible, but only if the guidelines in Rules 279.2, 279.4 and 280.5 are followed. See page 7 of the August 2013 Newsletter.
Every optometrist (and health provider) has a practice profile on the Texas Professional Profiling System. Licensees may provide current information to Profiling System. The Board’s website provides a link to the profiles page so that the public may access the profile. This website does not link to the Optometry Board. To comply with state law, first report any address changes directly to the Optometry Board (see “Address Changes“).
Issued to each licensee after license is renewed. Duplicates of lost certificates can be provided upon payment of a $25 fee.
All licenses expire on December 31 (except initial licenses issued under the military / military spouse expedited procedure). Postcards are sent out the last week of October each year with instructions on renewing licenses. Licenses may be renewed on the Internet through this website starting November 1 of each year. If you wish to renew by mail, you can request a paper renewal form beginning November 1 of each year. Instructions on renewing are also in each August Newsletter.
The only retired license available is a license for doctors whose practice is limited to providing volunteer charity care. See “Volunteer.” Doctors not practicing in Texas may renew as “inactive.” There is a license renewal fee for inactive licenses.
Adopted by the Board to clarify the Optometry Act. The rules are available on this page.