Case study: You are an automated refracting optician. You provide sight-testing services for free as long as patients purchase their eyewear from your dispensary.
Roman, a first-time patient, came in and asked for a sight-test. He is a healthy 45-year old and is eligible for a sight-test.
Before performing the sight-test, you explained that sight-testing is free with eyewear purchase. Roman was pleased to know of this offer.
However, after the sight-testing, Roman changed his mind and no longer wanted to buy his eyewear from your dispensary. He now wants to get a free copy of his assessment record (sight-testing results). An assessment record is the record produced by an independent automated refraction.
Question: Are you required to provide Roman a copy of his assessment record?
Yes. Automated refracting opticians must automatically provide patients a copy of the assessment record, free of charge. They have to provide a copy even if the patient did not ask for it.
Question: Can automated refracting opticians charge for sight-testing?
Yes. You can charge for providing the service of sight-testing but you can’t charge for a copy of the assessment record. Make sure to be up front about costs so that patients can make an informed decision about what they are going to be charged. This will help maintain trust between you and your patient.
It is good practice to unbundle the price of the sight-testing service from the eyewear in case the patient decides to purchase eyewear somewhere else. For example, you can provide patients a better understanding of fees by stating how much the sight-test is and that this cost can be waived with eyewear purchase. The most important thing is to be transparent and clear about the costs of services and products.
In summary, automated refracting opticians can charge for the sight-testing service, but not for the release of the assessment record. A copy of the assessment record should automatically be given to a patient upon completion of the sight test and be provided for free.
BC health legislation aims to balance patient safety and patient choice. The 2010 amendments to the Health Professions Act require automated refracting opticians to provide patients copies of the assessment record free of charge. This requirement is similar to other eye care professionals, like optometrists who are also required to provide copies of prescription, free of charge, to patients.
Section 6, subsection 8, Opticians Regulation (requirement to provide assessment records, free of charge)