Visibly files suit in Indiana against telemedicine law

Visibly Inc. filed suit in Indiana claiming that the corrective lens exception of the state’s telemedicine law violates the Indiana Constitution.

The suit was filed against the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and director of the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, Betsy Denardi, according to the complaint.

Visibly, formerly Opternative, explained in the complaint that it provides an online refractive test for consumers and sends the results to a licensed doctor who can write a prescription, as appropriate, for glasses or contact lenses. While this technology has been used across the country, including in Indiana, a 2016 law in that state legalized telemedicine in general, but banned it for corrective lenses in particular.

“The purpose of banning Visibly’s technology ... is to protect brick-and-mortar optometrists from competition,” the company wrote in the complaint.

“A doctor can incorporate Visibly’s technology into their practice consistent with the ophthalmological standard of care,” the company stated. “Indeed, there is no medical difference between a doctor writing a corrective-lens prescription based on the results of a traditional refractive test (whether performed by the doctor or by a clinical assistant in their absence) and a doctor writing a prescription based on the same information as recorded by Visibly’s online refractive test.”

The company also noted in the complaint that “there is no medical reason for a doctor to conduct a comprehensive exam every single time they write a corrective-lens prescription,” referring to guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Visibly currently operates in 34 states. Indiana law excludes providers from using telemedicine to issue prescriptions for opioids, abortion-inducing drugs and ophthalmic devices, which comprise glasses, contact lenses and low vision devices.

Visibly’s complaint requests a declaratory judgment indicating that the corrective lens exception violates the Indiana Constitution, an order enjoining the defendants from enforcing the exception, and reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees.

Visibly Inc. filed suit in Indiana claiming that the corrective lens exception of the state’s telemedicine law violates the Indiana Constitution.

The suit was filed against the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and director of the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, Betsy Denardi, according to the complaint.

Visibly, formerly Opternative, explained in the complaint that it provides an online refractive test for consumers and sends the results to a licensed doctor who can write a prescription, as appropriate, for glasses or contact lenses. While this technology has been used across the country, including in Indiana, a 2016 law in that state legalized telemedicine in general, but banned it for corrective lenses in particular.

“The purpose of banning Visibly’s technology ... is to protect brick-and-mortar optometrists from competition,” the company wrote in the complaint.

“A doctor can incorporate Visibly’s technology into their practice consistent with the ophthalmological standard of care,” the company stated. “Indeed, there is no medical difference between a doctor writing a corrective-lens prescription based on the results of a traditional refractive test (whether performed by the doctor or by a clinical assistant in their absence) and a doctor writing a prescription based on the same information as recorded by Visibly’s online refractive test.”

The company also noted in the complaint that “there is no medical reason for a doctor to conduct a comprehensive exam every single time they write a corrective-lens prescription,” referring to guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Visibly currently operates in 34 states. Indiana law excludes providers from using telemedicine to issue prescriptions for opioids, abortion-inducing drugs and ophthalmic devices, which comprise glasses, contact lenses and low vision devices.

Visibly’s complaint requests a declaratory judgment indicating that the corrective lens exception violates the Indiana Constitution, an order enjoining the defendants from enforcing the exception, and reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees.