HOUSE BILL NO. 466
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 21, TITLE 24, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO THE PRACTICE OF OPTOMETRY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking the words "prescribing and application" as they appear in Section 2101 (a) (3) thereof and substituting in lieu thereof the words "prescribing and/or application".
Section 2. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by adding to the end of Section 2101 (c) a new sentence to read as follows:
"Individuals entitled to such services shall have freedom to choose between any optometrist and any physician skilled in diseases of the eye."
Section 3. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking the words "one from each county" as they appear in line 3 of Section 2102 (b) thereof and substituting in lieu thereof the words "provided that not more than two members of the Board shall be from the same county".
Section 4. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking the words "one year" as they appear in line 6 of Section 2107 thereof and substituting in lieu thereof the words "two years."
Section 5. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by adding after the word "revoke" as it appears in line 1 of Section 2113 (a) thereof the words "or suspend".
Section 6. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by adding after the word "conduct" as it appears in Section 2113 (a) (6) thereof the words "as defined by the Board".
Section 7. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking Section 2113 (a) (7) in its entirety and adding a new Section 2113 (a) (7) to read as follows:
"(7) Where any person is found guilty by the Board of:
(A) advertising, of any nature, content, means, method, or technique (except that allowed herein or by Board Rule) and carried by way of newspaper, radio, TV, telephone book, directory, poster, circular or window display of frames, mountings, machinery, lenses, contact lenses, spectacles, or carried by any other media; or any other advertising not in keeping with accepted professional standards as defined by the State Board, including but not limited to advertising of fees or prices of services or materials, advertising free services of any nature, advertising of the practice of optometry or any art, skill, knowledge, method of treatment or practice pertaining thereto; or advertising ophthalmic materials in any way; or advertising to perform any optometric services or to provide glasses, spectacles, lenses, contact lenses, frames, or prisms, or other material or service, or advertising of credit terms or installments or anything of similar import to the foregoing. An optometrist may use professional signs, telephone book listings, professional cards, appointment cards, and may announce the opening or moving of his office, if these conform to specification contained herein and/or to Board Rule; or
() having on his professional sign, anything other than name, address, office hours, the title of optometrist and specialty; provided, however, that he may also use the words 'eyes examined', 'examination of the eyes', 'hours for eye examination', or 'vision specialist'; or
(A) practicing in a merchandising store; or
(B) practicing in an office not exclusively devoted to the practice of optometry or other health care profession, where material or merchandise are displayed pertaining to a business or commercial undertaking not bearing any relation to the practice of optometry or other health care profession; or practicing in a store or office which does not conform to that used by the majority of professional men in the area; or
(E) displaying a neon sign, decal eye, or eyeglasses whether painted, neon, decal or any other sign either in the form of eyes, eyeglasses, frames, or eyeglasses whether lighted or not; or
() having listed in the classified section of the telephone book or similar directory, under the general heading of Optometrist anything other than name, address, office hours, telephone number, specialty and the words 'if no answer, call'. A registered optometrist may not list himself in a classified directory under any other heading than that of 'Optometrist'. Bold face type or any other words shall not be permitted. No optometrist shall cause or permit himself to be listed in a telephone directory under any name other than the name in which he is registered with the Board as holder of a valid, unrevoked license to practice in this State. No optometrist shall cause or permit any listing of any inactive, retired, removed or deceased optometrist or any other ocular practitioner, except that for a period of not more than 2 years from the date of succession to the practice of another optometrist, an optometrist may use a telephone listing of such an optometrist together with the words 'succeeded by', succeeding', or 'successor to'; or
(A) violating a Board Rule or Regulation duly promulgated by the Board hereunder or any provision of this chapter; or
(B) announcing the opening or moving of his office in any regularly published newspaper for more than 6 insertions. The opening or moving announcement shall contain only pertinent information as to the name of the optometrist, the location of the office, the office hours, specialty and the reason for the announcement. The size of the announcement shall be limited to 2" by 2" columns and the print should not be gaudy or unusually large; or
() the continuance of an optometrist in the employ of or acting as an assistant to any person, firm, corporation, either directly or indirectly, after he has knowledge that such person, firm, or corporation is violating the Laws of Delaware concerning the practice of optometry; or
(J) any conduct which is of a character likely to deceive or defraud the public; or
(K) soliciting in person or through an agent or agents for the purpose of selling ophthalmic materials or optometric services or employing what are known as 'chasers', `steerers', or 'solicitors' to obtain business, unless in conjunction with a vision service plan approved by the Board; or
(L) the display of the name and title of the licensee or other information in lettering larger than four inches in height for street level offices, or larger than six inches in height for offices above street level and in no event shall be more than three such displays and illumination of said name and title except during office hours; or
(M) no optometrist shall cause or permit the use of his name, profession or professional title by or in conjunction with any association, company, corporation, or nonlicensed person, in any advertising of any manner, unless in conjunction with a vision service plan approved by the Board; or
(N) practicing for, or in conjunction with, either directly or indirectly, a corporation or company, except that allowed under the Professional Corporation Act of 1970, Chapter 6, Title 8, of the Delaware Code."
Section 8. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking Section 2113 (b) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"(b) When charges are preferred, the Board, or a majority thereof, shall have the powers of a court of record sitting in the county in which its meeting shall be held, to issue subpoenas and to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses. A time and place for the hearing of the charges shall be fixed by the Board as soon as convenient and a copy of the charges, together with a notice of the time and place when they will be heard and determined shall be served upon the accused or his counsel at least twenty days before the date actually fixed for his hearing. The accused shall be entitled to the subpoena of the Board for his witnesses. Where personal service or service upon counsel cannot be affected and such fact is certified on oath, the Board shall cause to be published for at least three times, at least twenty days prior to the hearing in a newspaper in the locale in which the optometrist was last known to practice, a notice to the effect that at a definite time and place a hearing will be held for the purpose of hearing charges against the optometrist upon an application to revoke his certificate. At the hearing the accused shall have the right to cross examine the witnesses against him and to produce witnesses in his defense and to appear personally or by counsel. The Board shall reduce its findings to writing to be signed by all the members who have heard the charges. If the Board unanimously finds that the charge or any of them are sustained, it may thereupon, in its discretion, revoke or suspend the certificate of registration. No person shall practice optometry after his certificate of registration shall have been revoked or suspended in accordance with the provisions of the chapter.
All rulings of the Board in refusing to issue or refusing to renew or suspending or revoking any certificate of registration shall be conclusive and binding unless the party in interest shall within sixty days of the ruling apply for a review by certiorari proceeding in the nature thereof to a court of competent jurisdiction and said court is hereby authorized and empowered to review and correct the action of the Board, and the Board shall forthwith carry out the judgment of the court on such reviews. Such review may be applied for according to the practice of such court and the Board, if ordered so to do, shall transmit to the court all documents and papers on file in the matter together with a transcript of the evidence, the findings, and the rulings, and all matters pertaining to the same."
Section 9. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking Section 2113 (c) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new Section 2113 (c) to read as follows:
"(c) Any person whose certificate has been revoked or suspended may, after the expiration of ninety days, apply to have the same regranted to him upon satisfactory showing that the disqualification has ceased."
Section 10. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code by adding to the end of Section 2115 the following paragraph:
"All optometrists shall inform the State Board within 30 days after establishing or moving a main or branch office of the current address of the office. All main or branch office addresses maintained by an optometrist in this State shall be on file with the Secretary of the Board."
Section 11. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking the words "in the city of Wilmington", as they appear in Section 2103 (a) thereof.
Section 12. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by adding to the end of Section 2112 the following:
"In addition to the other provisions of this section, each Delaware registered optometrist shall be required to attend in each 2 year period a total of 12 hours of optometric or other scientific educational lectures, symposiums or courses, approved by the Board. The full 12 hours may be taken in one year or may be spread over the entire 2 year period. Each Delaware registered optometrist shall be required to furnish to the Secretary of the Board satisfactory evidence that he has completed such a postgraduate educational requirement each second year. This requirement shall take effect with the 1975 registration renewal and be required in each odd year thereafter. The Board shall publish guide lines as to acceptable postgraduate study and shall keep the guide lines current.
The Secretary of the Board shall notify in writing each Delaware registered optometrist, at least 30 days prior to the date that his renewal is due, of this educational requirement.
In the event that any registered optometrist shall fail to meet such educational requirement, his registration shall be revoked except when proven hardship makes compliance impossible; provided further that the Board shall reinstate such registration upon presentation of satisfactory evidence of postgraduate study of a standard approved by the Board and upon payment of all fees due; further provided that this educational requirement shall not apply to those Delaware registered optometrists who are not in active practice in this State."
Section 13. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking the word "and" following the semicolon at the end of each sentence as it appears in Section 2101 (a) (1) and Section 2101 (a) (2) and substituting in lieu thereof the words "and/or".
Section 14. Amend Title 24, Chapter 21, Delaware Code, by striking Section 2117 in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the sale and/or application of spectacles in the ordinary course of trade, provided no part of this chapter is violated by this exemption.
Those persons having the degree of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy and licensed to practice medicine and surgery in this state under Chapter 17, Title 24 of the Delaware Code, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter."
Approved February 5, 1974.