Contacts Lens Prescription Modernization Act introduced as next step in ending damaging robocalls

April 22, 2024
The fight to end the problematic loophole of robocalls continues with the introduction of Senate bill S.4083, a companion bill to H.R. 2748 from 2023.

Nearly one year ago, U.S. House Reps. Michael Burgess, M.D., R-Texas, and Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., introduced H.R. 2748, the Contact Lens Prescription Modernization Act, an effort to close a potential loophole on automated robocalls for contact lens prescription verifications.

The work continues with newly introduced legislation.

Building more momentum

A companion bill to H.R. 2748, named the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act (S. 4083), was introduced into the United States Senate in early April with the bipartisan support of Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., jointly backed by the AOA and Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (HCAPS).

In a recent press release, David Cockrell, O.D., HCAPS chair, stated, “We applaud Sens. Duckworth and Boozman for the introduction of the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act in the United States Senate, a true demonstration of their bipartisan commitment to patient safety. This legislation would bring the contact lens prescription verification process into the 21st century and provide peace of mind for contact lens patients and their doctors.”

⏩ Download the robocalls fact sheet to learn more

Reforming the process

Bringing the prescription verification process into the “21st century” requires a drastic and immediate change to the current FTC rule allowing online retailers to leverage robocall verification for online orders. With poor call quality, timing and delivery, among others, robocalls do not effectively protect consumers’ vision while ensuring their preferred access to prescriptions.

H.R. 2748 and S.4083 work to strengthen the process, ensuring consumers receive the correct contacts lenses and prescription when they order online by establishing a paper trail by requiring retailers to use direct communication, such as email, live phone calls or fax, to confirm prescription accuracy. Further, the bill requires retailers to offer a HIPAA-compliant method for allowing patients to upload an electronic copy of their prescription thereby deprioritizing the use of verification robocalls.

“Health care policy has come to a nexus point with the proliferation of technology that continues to jeopardize the doctor-patient relationship,” says Ralph Kohl, HCAPS executive director. “Convenience cannot rule the day. This legislation is a commonsense step we can take to bring the verification process into the current century and make sure that patients are getting the safest care available.”

Passing this bill is critical in increasing the safety of the more than 45 million Americans who rely on contact lenses, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Class II and Class III regulated medical devices, for safe and effective vision correction. Improper lens usage, which can result from the substitution of lenses not prescribed by the patient’s doctor or using an outdated prescription, can lead to serious health complications, including infections and other sight-threatening conditions, such as microbial keratitis, corneal edema, ulcers and neovascularization.

Join the fight

The AOA urges the profession’s support of the Contact Lens Prescription Modernization Act and the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act to close loopholes in the verification system and restore commonsense health and safety considerations.

Report illegal or unsafe contact lenses or business practices. Suspect a Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act or Contact Lens Rule violation? Use the link to complete a form that helps the AOA better advocate for improved laws and regulations that better protect patients. Although the AOA is not a regulatory or enforcement agency, the AOA can help build a case with these federal entities.

Learn more about HCAPS and sign up for its news and policy updates letter. Show your commitment to protecting patient safety by signing up as an HCAPS advocate, here.

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