Eye care consumer protection bill advanced

Lawmakers gave first-round approval April 4 to a bill that would update regulation of eyeglass kiosks and other devices.

LB235, introduced by Omaha Sen. Sara Howard, would place restrictions on kiosks—defined as automated equipment or applications used to conduct an eye examination either in person or remotely.

These new means of obtaining vision evaluations pose challenges for consumers, Howard said, because they currently are not subject to the same level of state oversight as traditional eye examinations.

“Absent the changes suggested by LB235 those safeguards would not be applicable to consumers using these new technologies,” she said.

Under the bill, a kiosk would be required to:
• be approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration;
• meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements;
• carry liability insurance adequate to cover claims;
• comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act;
• have a recognized Current Procedural Terminology code; and
• display the name and state license number of the provider who would read and interpret the diagnostic data and information produced by the kiosk.

Violations could incur a civil penalty up to $10,000 per violation and the attorney general could file a civil action at the request of the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The bill also would limit the strength of over-the-counter eyeglasses to +3.25 diopters.

A Health and Human Services Committee amendment, adopted 32-0, clarifies that a qualified provider would be limited to a physician, osteopathic physician or physician assistant. The amendment also specifies that investigations and complaint review would be done in accordance with the Uniform Credentialing Act.

Following adoption of a technical amendment on a 31-0 vote, the bill advanced to select file 33-0.

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