Sending Office: Rush, Bobby L.
Cosponsors (30): Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Blunt Rochester, Carson,
Cole, Cox, Craig, Crawford, Gianforte, Gooden, Harder,
Hern, Jackson Lee, Kinzinger, Kuster, Barbara Lee, Luria, McNerney,
Mooney, Peterson, Posey, Quigley, Reschenthaler, Rutherford, David Scott, Sires, Bennie G. Thompson,
Van Drew, Visclosky, Womack, Zeldin
In 2003, Congress passed the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Act (FCLCA), which put in place protections for a patient’s right to shop around for the best contact lens price. The 2004 Contact Lens Rule implementing the law required seller verification
of a prescription, or automatic verification should a prescriber not respond within eight business hours. Some online contact lens sellers use dangerous loopholes — including the use of robocalls — to bypass the verification process. An accurate and clear
prescription verification process is essential to ensure patients are not given wrong, unprescribed lenses that can result in permanent vision loss.
H.R. 3975, the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act updates the law governing contact lens sales to ensure patients have a way to upload a copy
of their prescription to the online retailer’s website and to eliminate the use of robocalls during the prescription verification process. Under the original FCLCA, retailers are NOT required to have a copy of the contact lens prescription to fill the order.
If retailers do not have a copy of the prescription, they can verify the patient’s prescription through direct communication with the patient’s doctor. While the FCLCA clearly defined direct communication as telephone, fax, or e-mail, the FTC’s interpretation
also allows the use of robocalls. Yet, the use of robocalls to confirm the accuracy of a prescription (which includes specific numbers for strength, base curve and quantity) is far too complicated for an automated phone system.
It is time for online sellers to move into the 21st Century and use digital methods for contact lens verification. To achieve that goal, our bill:
- Requires online contact lens retailers to establish a secure, HIPAA-compliant, portal for patients to upload their prescriptions;
- Requires that any email containing health information is encrypted and meets HIPAA standards; and
- Prohibits the use of robocalls to verify patient prescriptions.
Therefore, we urge you to join us in cosponsoring this simple legislation that increases patient safety and modernizes the contact lens prescription verification process. To learn more or to cosponsor, please contact Nishith Pandya in Rep. Rush’s office
Nishith.Pandya@mail.house.gov or Rachel Huggins in Rep. Burgess’ office at
Bobby L. Rush
Member of Congress
Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Member of Congress
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