TITLE 22. EXAMINING BOARDS

PART 14. TEXAS OPTOMETRY BOARD

CHAPTER 273. GENERAL RULES

22 TAC §273.6

The Texas Optometry Board proposes amendments to 22 TAC §273.6 to comply with House Bill 2933, Regular Session, 85th Legislature, including implementing new Texas Optometry Act §351.266. The amendments provide for a Military Limited Volunteer License. The new license allows practice at a clinic that primarily treats indigent populations where the licensee does not receive compensation for providing optometric health care.

Chris Kloeris, executive director of the Texas Optometry Board, estimates that for the first five-year period the amendments are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the amendments.

Chris Kloeris also has determined that for each of the first five years the amendments are in effect, the public benefit anticipated is that indigent populations will be able to receive care that might otherwise be unavailable.

It is anticipated that there will be no economic costs for Military Limited Volunteer License holders, the groups affected by the amendments.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS

The agency licenses approximately 3,800 optometrists and therapeutic optometrists. A significant majority of licensees own or work in one or more of the 1,000 to 3,000 optometric practices which meet the definition of a small business. Some of these practices meet the definition of a micro business. The agency does not license these practices.

ENVIRONMENT AND TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The agency has determined that this proposal is not a "major environmental rule" as defined by Texas Government Code §2001.0225. This proposal is not specifically intended to protect the environment or reduce risks to human health from environmental exposure. The agency has determined that the proposed rule does not restrict or limit an owner's right to his or her property that would otherwise exist in the absence of government action, and therefore does not constitute a taking under Texas Government Code §2007.043.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT

The rule is proposed in response to the requirements of House Bill 2933, 85th Legislature, Regular Session. During the first five years that the proposed rule will be in effect, it is anticipated that the proposed rule does not create or eliminate a government program; implementation of the proposed rule does not require the creation of new employee position or the elimination of an existing employee position; implementation of the proposed rule does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; the proposed rule does not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; the proposed rule creates a new regulation as required by amendments to the Optometry Act in the 85th Legislature; the proposed rule does not expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation; the proposed rule does not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability compared to any existing rule; and the proposed rule does not positively or adversely affect this state's economy.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Chris Kloeris, Executive Director, Texas Optometry Board, 333 Guadalupe Street, Suite 2-420, Austin, Texas 78701-3942. The deadline for furnishing comments is thirty days after publication in the Texas Register.

The amendment is proposed under the Texas Optometry Act, Texas Occupations Code, §351.151, and §351.266. No other sections are affected by the amendment.

The Texas Optometry Board interprets §351.151 as authorizing the adoption of procedural and substantive rules for the regulation of the optometric profession. The agency interprets §351.266, as authorizing the issuance of a Military Limited Volunteer License.

§273.6.Licenses for a Limited Purpose [Period].

(a) Provisional License.

(1) Requirements for Provisional License. On application for examination, a candidate may apply for a provisional license under the following circumstances:

(A) The applicant must be licensed in good standing as a therapeutic optometrist in another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States that has licensing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements of the Texas Optometry Act, and must furnish proof of such licensure on board forms provided.

(B) The applicant must have passed the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Examination Parts I and II, after January 1, 1984, and Part III after June of 1994, as well as the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease (TMOD) Examination after January of 1985 and must submit a true and correct copy of the applicant's score report.

(C) The applicant must have satisfied the educational requirement of §280.2 of this title (relating to Required Education).

(D) The applicant must not have failed an examination for a license conducted by the board.

(E) The applicant's license to practice optometry must not have been revoked or suspended by any jurisdiction.

(2) Sponsorship. A candidate for provisional licensure must be sponsored by a therapeutic optometrist who is currently licensed by the board with the following conditions applicable.

(A) Prior to practice in Texas, on forms provided by the board, the sponsor licensee will certify to the board the following:

(i) that such candidate will be working within the same office as the licensee, under direct supervision of the sponsor licensee; and

(ii) that such sponsor licensee is aware of the Act and rules governing provisional licensure and that the sponsorship will cease upon the invalidity of the provisional license.

(B) Sponsor licensee will be held responsible for the unauthorized practice of optometry should such provisional license expire.

(3) Hardship. An applicant for a provisional license may be excused from the requirements of sponsorship if the board determines that compliance constitutes a hardship to the applicant.

(4) Application and fee.

(A) The candidate for provisional licensure will be subject to all application requirements required by Chapter 271 of this title (relating to Examinations) and subject to the applicable examination fees established under §273.4 of this title (relating to Optometry Fees). In addition, the candidate will be subject to a fee for issuance of a provisional license, as established under §273.4 of this title.

(B) No provisional license can be issued until all application forms and fees are received in the board office and the application is approved.

(C) A provisional license expires upon the earlier to occur of the passage of 180 days or notice by the board of the candidate's successful passage or failure of all examinations required by Chapter 271 of this title. It shall be the responsibility of the candidate and sponsor to return the provisional license to the board office upon expiration.

(D) The candidate's failure to sit for the first scheduled board examination following application for examination invalidates the provisional license unless in the discretion of the board sufficient and reasonable evidence regarding nonappearance exists.

(E) Each candidate for provisional license shall receive only one nonrenewable license prior to the issuance of a therapeutic optometry license.

(5) If at any time during the provisional licensure period it is determined that the holder of such provisional license has violated the Optometry Act or board rules, such provisional license will be subject to termination.

(b) Military Limited Volunteer License.

(1) Pursuant to §351.266 of the Texas Optometry Act, the Board may issue a military limited volunteer license to practice optometry or therapeutic optometry to an applicant who:

(A) is licensed and in good standing, or was licensed and retired in good standing, as a optometrist or therapeutic optometrist in another state;

(B) is or was authorized as an optometrist or therapeutic optometrist to treat personnel enlisted in a branch of the United States armed forces or veterans; and

(C) meets all other requirements prescribed by Board Rule.

(2) The board may not issue a license under this section to an applicant who:

(A) holds an optometry or therapeutic optometry license that:

(i) is currently under investigation by a state or territory of the United States, or a uniformed service of the United States;

(ii) is or was restricted, cancelled, suspended, revoked, or subject to other discipline or denial of licensure by a state or territory of the United States, or a uniformed service of the United States;

(B) holds a license issued by the Drug Enforcement Agency or a state public safety agency to prescribe, dispense, administer, supply, or sell a controlled substance that:

(i) is currently under investigation by a state or territory of the United States, or a uniformed service of the United States;

(ii) is or was restricted, cancelled, suspended, revoked, or subject to other discipline or denial by a state or territory of the United States, or a uniformed service of the United States; or

(C) is currently under investigation or has been convicted of, or placed on deferred adjudication, community supervision, or deferred disposition for a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.

(3) An optometrist or therapeutic optometrist who practices optometry or therapeutic optometry under a license issued under this section may:

(A) only practice at a clinic that primarily treats indigent populations; and

(B) not receive direct or indirect compensation or payment of anything of monetary value in exchange for the optometric services rendered by the optometrist or therapeutic optometrist to the indigent patients at the clinic.

(4) A military limited volunteer license holder is subject to board rules, including rules regarding disciplinary action, license registration and renewal.

(5) A military limited volunteer license shall be issued for a period of one year and may be renewed and maintained according to registration requirements as prescribed by Board Rules.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on November 6, 2017.

TRD-201704471

Chris Kloeris

Executive Director

Texas Optometry Board

Earliest possible date of adoption: December 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 305-8500