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Thread: Are opticians not allowed to call optometrists for information?

  1. #1
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    Are opticians not allowed to call optometrists for information?

    Good day, everyone

    I just had a patient come in with her prescription looking like this:

    Spectacle Prescription 1:
    R: +3.00 -5.00 x11
    L: +6.25 -4.50 x178

    Spectacle Prescription 2:
    R: +4.00 -5.00 x11
    L: +7.25 -4.50 x178

    without any further explanation of why this person has two prescriptions on it.
    Usually doctors will write something!
    like "compensated", or "computer glasses", or "reading glasses", or "with frame XYZ".....
    something to explain to anyone trying to dispense why it is written that way.

    I asked the patient did you ask for computer or reading glasses and she said, no.
    I asked did you even discuss about computer glasses because it looks like computer glasses and she said, no.
    She wasn't wearing a bifocal or progressives and she's not at the age to start either.
    Like most people that walk into an optical shop, she has no idea how to even read her prescription.
    So I just automatically assumed prescription 2 are computer glasses prescription the doctor kindly put in her prescription.
    No biggie. I will just ask the doctor, right? Kinda sure, but I wanna be extra sure.

    I call the doctor's office and....
    the lady answering the phone told me they cannot tell me the prescription of any customer.

    --me: Hi, I am an optician at an optical shop trying to dispense glasses for a patient that got their eye exam at this doctor's office.
    ---lady: Are you the person who got the exam?
    --me: No I am the optician. I just got the patient's prescription and it has two prescriptions written on it, and I want to verify I am filling her the correct pair of glasses.
    ---lady: I can't do that, I can only disclose or discuss this matter with the customer since it's her personal information.
    --me: I have the prescription, but it looks like there's two prescriptions written on it. I can tell you what the prescription says, I just need to verify with the doctor if the prescription I will be filling is the correct one.
    ---lady: the customer needs to call me and ask for that.
    --me: The customer wouldn't know what she's supposed to be asking, she's not a professional.
    ---lady: UGH (and she scoffed like I was really ignorant). You know this is against the law, right? You can't call, and I can't give you that info.
    --me: I have been calling numerous optometrists and no one told me that. I was able to verify prescriptions.
    It's a whole different story if I just plain out ask for a patient's prescription, but I'm trying to verify informa.....
    ---lady: (cuts me off) It's illegal. Other optometrists were doing it wrong. Customer can call herself and find out which one she needs.

    and I was hung up by her just like that.

    I am now very confused.
    Is it really illegal for opticians to call doctor's offices to verify a prescription?
    Was I doing it wrong the whole time?
    All this time, I thought the protocol was, send the patient to go about their way and don't eat up their time- and then call doctor's office if needed.
    It's not like an everyday occurrence to call a doctor's office to verify.
    If I knew this was illegal, I would make the patient stay and have them on the phone with me while I ask.
    I was so sure I was right, but after hearing how firm she felt her opinion was right, I am confused.
    Is this true..?

  2. #2
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    It is ok to share information with other participants of the patients health care "team". I think you did the right thing to check.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Davis View Post
    It is ok to share information with other participants of the patients health care "team". I think you did the right thing to check.
    +1

    Yes, this lady has it all wrong. Where I am at when we call another office we say we have a mutual patient and I've never ran into someone who misunderstands HIPAA like this before. I would request to speak to the manager and hopefully that is not her SMH. I would also write an email to this optometrist with the actual HIPAA Law, here is a website you could send:

    https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-profes...ion/index.html


    Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule permit doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to share patient health information for treatment purposes without the patient’s authorization?

    Answer:

    Yes. The Privacy Rule allows those doctors, nurses, hospitals, laboratory technicians, and other health care providers that are covered entities to use or disclose protected health information, such as X-rays, laboratory and pathology reports, diagnoses, and other medical information for treatment purposes without the patient’s authorization. This includes sharing the information to consult with other providers, including providers who are not covered entities, to treat a different patient, or to refer the patient. See 45 CFR 164.506.





  4. #4
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    So I guess the right thing was to make the customer call the doctor's office and ask while she was with me, so it'd be easy to communicate.
    I can't believe I've been doing it all wrong for so many years!!!!

    Edit:
    I have never met a HIPAA Nazi like that either.
    I was lucky to have only talked to doctors/doctor office team members who were cooperative and friendly.
    At one point, the lady did mention HIPAA and I told her I know what HIPAA is too (but I got unsure if HIPPA said opticians were not allowed to have patient information ) so that was stupid on my part. I can only be so confident knowing exactly what I know.
    Last edited by saeromida; 02-22-2021 at 08:16 PM.

  5. #5
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    That Dr.'s office is a jerk.

    You were doing a good job by calling for clarification.

    Keep doing it the way you've been doing it.

  6. #6
    Rising Star OptiBoard Silver Supporter Optical Roy's Avatar
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    Call, it's our job to verify all patient information. Now if you where requesting a copy of the RX they may want a signed release from the patient, but just to verify, is a simple phone call.
    Roy W. Jackson, Sr. ABOC

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    Quote Originally Posted by saeromida View Post
    Good day, everyone

    I just had a patient come in with her prescription looking like this:

    Spectacle Prescription 1:
    R: +3.00 -5.00 x11
    L: +6.25 -4.50 x178

    Spectacle Prescription 2:
    R: +4.00 -5.00 x11
    L: +7.25 -4.50 x178

    without any further explanation of why this person has two prescriptions on it.
    Usually doctors will write something!
    like "compensated", or "computer glasses", or "reading glasses", or "with frame XYZ".....
    something to explain to anyone trying to dispense why it is written that way.

    I asked the patient did you ask for computer or reading glasses and she said, no.
    I asked did you even discuss about computer glasses because it looks like computer glasses and she said, no.
    She wasn't wearing a bifocal or progressives and she's not at the age to start either.
    Like most people that walk into an optical shop, she has no idea how to even read her prescription.
    So I just automatically assumed prescription 2 are computer glasses prescription the doctor kindly put in her prescription.
    No biggie. I will just ask the doctor, right? Kinda sure, but I wanna be extra sure.

    I call the doctor's office and....
    the lady answering the phone told me they cannot tell me the prescription of any customer.

    --me: Hi, I am an optician at an optical shop trying to dispense glasses for a patient that got their eye exam at this doctor's office.
    ---lady: Are you the person who got the exam?
    --me: No I am the optician. I just got the patient's prescription and it has two prescriptions written on it, and I want to verify I am filling her the correct pair of glasses.
    ---lady: I can't do that, I can only disclose or discuss this matter with the customer since it's her personal information.
    --me: I have the prescription, but it looks like there's two prescriptions written on it. I can tell you what the prescription says, I just need to verify with the doctor if the prescription I will be filling is the correct one.
    ---lady: the customer needs to call me and ask for that.
    --me: The customer wouldn't know what she's supposed to be asking, she's not a professional.
    ---lady: UGH (and she scoffed like I was really ignorant). You know this is against the law, right? You can't call, and I can't give you that info.
    --me: I have been calling numerous optometrists and no one told me that. I was able to verify prescriptions.
    It's a whole different story if I just plain out ask for a patient's prescription, but I'm trying to verify informa.....
    ---lady: (cuts me off) It's illegal. Other optometrists were doing it wrong. Customer can call herself and find out which one she needs.

    and I was hung up by her just like that.

    I am now very confused.
    Is it really illegal for opticians to call doctor's offices to verify a prescription?
    Was I doing it wrong the whole time?
    All this time, I thought the protocol was, send the patient to go about their way and don't eat up their time- and then call doctor's office if needed.
    It's not like an everyday occurrence to call a doctor's office to verify.
    If I knew this was illegal, I would make the patient stay and have them on the phone with me while I ask.
    I was so sure I was right, but after hearing how firm she felt her opinion was right, I am confused.
    Is this true..?
    I would trial frame them....I got very good at it when I was in between Doctors. Just to be sure. If the script looked too different than the previous ...trial frame....pt complained that new script is diff than old....trial frame

  8. #8
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    Not trying to justify rude behaviour, but maybe this woman thought deep in her heart she was European, and confused HIPAA with GDPR?

    You acted well. Just like it's better to measure twice and cut once, it's better to check twice and fill once.

  9. #9
    One eye sees, the other feels. OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    Saeromida,

    Call the prescriber's office and ask to have the doctor call you WRT the patient in question.

    This kills two birds- you get a chance to let the prescriber know that the front desk is not following proper professional-to-professional protocols, and you get to the bottom of the mystery Rx (probably task eyeglasses).

    Hope this helps,

    Robert Martellaro
    Roberts Optical Ltd.
    Wauwatosa Wi.
    www.roberts-optical.com
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. - Richard P. Feynman

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Martellaro View Post
    Saeromida,

    Call the prescriber's office and ask to have the doctor call you WRT the patient in question.

    This kills two birds- you get a chance to let the prescriber know that the front desk is not following proper professional-to-professional protocols, and you get to the bottom of the mystery Rx (probably task eyeglasses).

    Hope this helps,

    Robert Martellaro
    This is sound advice, but good luck getting a doctor to call back and optician. I live in a large metro area and can think of two doctors off of the top of my head that I could actually speak to if I ask for a call back. Generally I will just get blown off by a tech/receptionist/"optician" relaying a useless message from the doctor. I just make those patients come see my doctor to fix their Rx's.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwill212 View Post
    This is sound advice, but good luck getting a doctor to call back and optician. I live in a large metro area and can think of two doctors off of the top of my head that I could actually speak to if I ask for a call back. Generally I will just get blown off by a tech/receptionist/"optician" relaying a useless message from the doctor. I just make those patients come see my doctor to fix their Rx's.
    That's why I would ask to talk to the office manager and pray that the crazy lady isn't it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    That Dr.'s office is a jerk.

    You were doing a good job by calling for clarification.

    Keep doing it the way you've been doing it.
    +1

  13. #13
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    I'll speculate that the rude receptionist gets this call all the time and is mimicking what the doc said to say to make you go away.

    To me the OD just wrote a computer/task rx to keep from having someone call over what they should interpret one to be if asked by the patient.

    I'll also guess she hears it from him (I'll assume its a him;) after the office failed to capture the sale.

  14. #14
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    I live in a pretty populated metro area (Los Angeles!!!) and I can understand the doctor's office getting frustrated over patients/opticians calling numerous times a day for questions.

    HOWEVER, the little Karen in me came out and decided to email the headquarters. (This was a big franchise optical shop/optometry sort of place)
    I wrote 50 pages worth of my frustration on the computer and that process magically relieved all my anger . hahaha
    and I just wrote on the email that one of your company's optometrists office is misinformed about the HIPAA rules- that it would be nice if all the staff was well aware about the information they should and shouldn't give out, so if in the future, another optician not in your direct store needed verification, the staff would better help us.

    And I just blacklisted that doctor's office in my head because I am petty.

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