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Mr. SISK. Dr. Ellis Carp?
Dr. RowE. Dr. Ellis Carp? Oh, I know who you mean. No, he is not a member of our organization. I do not know him, but I know of him.
Mr. Sisk. Has he ever been a member of your organization?
Dr. Rowe. Not as long as I have been president, which has been 22 years. Perhaps earlier, he was, but as long as I have been the president of the organization, he has not been a member.
Mr. Sisk. You were here this morning, were you not, and heard the testimony?
Dr. ROWE. Yes.
Mr. Sisk. Does your firm involve itself with substantial advertising campaigns?
Dr. Rowe. Yes, sir.
Mr. Sisk. Is it, let us say, of a similar nature such as what we heard this morning?
Dr. Rowe. No, si".
Dr. Rowe. Our advertising campaigns are institutional in nature, or they feature a particular product, and its qualities, or its characteristics. We have never conducted an advertising campaign advertising professional services or ordering services or with reference to price. I can supply you with copies of our ad if you would like to see them to verify this. I would be happy to do it.
Mr. Sisk. Let me ask you, do you approve of the kind of advertising such as was submitted here this morning as being in the best interests of good eye care to the public?
Dr. RowE. I would say this: that if this is constitutional for this man to do this, and since you do not name the man, I do not knowperhaps it is Dr. Carp that you refer to.
Mr. Sisk. Well, I think, yes, there were several names. The names are all in the record, I might say.
By the way, does your organization have members in Texas?
Mr. Sisk. You do not know offhand how many members you have in Texas?
Dr. ROWE. We have one firm in Texas.
Mr. Sisk. Well, getting back to the question I asked you, Dr. Rowe, with reference to your estimate of the advertising that was brought to the subcommittee's attention this morning, I would like to have your own considered opinion of that type of advertising and what it contributes to good eye care.
Dr. Rowe. Well, I would have to say this, Mr. Congressman: that if this is constitutionally allowed under the statutes of the State, certainly I would not feel that they have the right to deny a constitutional right. If it is prohibited by law, under the statutes of a State, then the individual should be prosecuted.
I would say this, that, morally, I find that I cannot sympathize with this type of advertising.
Mr. Sisk. Do you think basically that the advertising of professional services such as are involved is basically good for the best possible eye care? Do you feel that there is a place in the profession for advertising of this type?
Dr. RowE. So long as the merchandise involved is tied to the service, I feel that the merchandise could be advertisable, that competitive opportunities be allowed in this process, until such time as they divide these two and practice optometry as optometry and separate the sale of merchandise from this function. Then I see no reason to advertise professional services or an optometrist.
Mr. Sisk. Did I understand you to say you see no reason to advertise professional services by optometrists?
Dr. Rowe. If they separate themselves from the merchandisable portion of the business, which is the eyeglasses, because eyeglasses are merchandisable items. Eyeglass frames are fashion accessories. As we look through the trade journals, the Optical Journal, the Review of Optometry, we find that the majority of the ads are advertising eyeglass frames. They do not advertise quality and fit, they advertise the fashion and the esthetic values of these frames, and I can read them here: "New Oval Shape for Today's Casual Mode"; "They Fall in Love With Pro and Gania."
Page after page of these ads—"Bold Stroke.”
Mr. Sisk. Dr. Rowe, then, to make it as clear as possible, as I understand you, and I do not want to put words in your mouth, but you oppose, or let us say, you do not necessarily feel it ethical to advertise professional services, but you do feel that it would be proper to advertise a merchantable, marketable article, as a separate part of professional services?
Dr. Rowe. I feel it is perfectly all right, perfectly ethical to advertise total services as long as we keep them combined. But if we were to separate them, then I see no reason to advertise optometric services. But as long as we have these two, as long as there is a possibility of the derivation of profit from the sale of the piece of merchandise as a result of these optometric services, then they should be advertised as one package, because that is what they are. If we want to separate the pocket-producing portion of it and simply set an optometrist up as a medical doctor to examine only and give prescriptions and not to be participating in the profit, then there is no reason for him to advertise.
Mr. Sisk. Does your firm employ any ophthalmologists?
Dr. ROWE. Well, for several reasons; in States like Ohio and Pennsylvania, it is not legal to hire an optometrist. Therefore, we conduct our offices as opticianry offices, filling the prescriptions of ophthalmologists and optometrists.
Mr. Sisk. In other words as you operate in Ohio, then, patients do not come into the store and have their examination in the store?
up to him.
Dr. RowE. If there is an optometrist in the store.
Dr. Rowe. The optometrist can be located in the store, but he cannot be employed. In other words, he can rent space anywhere he wants to and open an office. He can rent space on a street or in the store or upstairs in the building, wherever he wishes. This is entirely
Mr. Sisk. But the optometrist is not employed by Cole National
Dr. Rowe. In Ohio, we do not employ optometrists, no, sir.
Mr. Sisk. So the optometrist has his offices separate and apart from the area set aside for the opticians?
Dr. ROWE. Either in the store or outside the store, wherever he desires to keep his office.
Mr. WHITENER. Off the record.
Mr. Sisk. Dr. Rowe, I appreciate your statements. I may say I do not necessarily agree with you that it is in the best public interest. I still, somehow, feel that with the importance of eyesight, certainly I would hesitate to have my grandchildren go into a Montgomery Ward store expecting to get professional care for their eyes. To me, it is a little bit abhorrent. Yet, as I understand it, you defend this kind of practice.
Dr. Rowe. I might point out that these optometrists have gone to the same schools, graduated under the same conditions, taken the same examinations as any other optometrist, and they are just as qualified to do the job as the optometrist.
As Dr. Dryden indicated, the referrals which they receive indicating the need for pathological attention are about the same as from any other type of optometrist. We do feel that these men are capable of giving service just as good in Montgomery Ward or Sears, Roebuck, as they are anywhere else, because they have the same tools to work with, the same knowledge, the same background, the same education, and the same instrumentation. So for this reason, we feel that they can do an equally good job.
Mr. Sisk. In those States where you employ optometrists, and as I understand it, there are some States where you do this?
Dr. Rowe. Yes, sir.
Mr. Sisk. What is the pay of an optometrist? Do you pay by the year, or on what basis are they paid?
Dr. Rowe. We pay them on an annual basis.
Dr. Rows. On an employed basis, this varies in some sections of the country. I would say an average salary is $15,000 a year.
Mr. Sisk. Mr. Harsha mentioned is it based at all on sales?
Mr. Sisk. There is no pressure put on at all? In other words, if I went to work for you as a qualified optometrist and I was only averaging four examinations a day, that would be perfectly satisfactory? There would be no criticism, I would draw my $15,000 without any problems, is that right?
Dr. Rows. Yes. We certainly would attempt to build the practice in whatever manner it is legally possible to do so. If advertising can
be used, we would certainly attempt to do that. But the pressure is not upon the optometrist, because we feel if he does his job and does it well, takes care of these people who come in, eventually, we are going to build a practice and a following that will take care of his salary and
a the salaries of the other persons involved.
Mr. Sisk. What would be your policy if, through your advertising methods, you were able to pull in a great number of people, say 30 people a day? What would be your policy? Would you employ another optician, or would you
Dr. Rowe. We would hire another optometrist.
Mr. Sisk. What is the maximum number of patients that an optometrist would see in one of your stores?
Mr. Rowe. You are asking, of course, a question directly at me. I would say that I would feel that an optometrist should be able to take care of up to 20 patients a day. This is not going to hold true every day, because there will be days when there will be patients which will require more time. Some days he would only be able to take care of 10 patients. But under normal circumstances and without running into any unusual conditions, he should be able to see 20 patients a day, which is the normal number of patients most medical refractionists see in a day, or any other refractionist who is not engaged in the sale of eyeglasses.
Mr. Sisk. Do you have any figures, percentagewise, of the number of referrals that your people make to medical doctors?
Dr. Rowe. No, sir, I do not. Mr. Sisk. You have no idea of the number of referrals at all? Dr. Rowe. No, we simply emphasize to the doctor that he must fulfill his obligation to the patient, and when he sees the necessity for referral, he should do this. We cannot dictate to him and say, you must refer so many.
Mr. Sisk. I appreciate that, but I was wondering if you kept records as to the number of referrals.
Dr. RowE. I am sorry, I do not have those records.
Doctor, in Ohio, at least in my area in the southern part of the State, Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward have their own stores; that is, their outlets take up the complete building. They are not in a shopping center. They utilize the entire space in any one building. Normally, there are no optometrists in that store. In that case, when you are selling glasses through Montgomery Ward or Sears Roebuck, do you merely
act in the same capacity as a drugstore? You merely fill a prescription of some optometrist, whoever he may be?
Dr. ROWE. Yes, sir, that is correct.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM N. MCLEOD, JR., WASHINGTON, D.C.
Mr. McLEOD. Mr. Chairman, I have a statement in opposition to the bill.
Mr. Sisk. Mr. McLeod, the committee will be glad to hear you.
Mr. McLEOD. I represent a group of optometrists and opticians. I think everything in it has been covered many, many times, and I would like to ask your permission to file my statement and have it put in the record at this time.
Mr. Sisk. Very good.
Mr. McLEOD. And I would ask permission, after I consult with the people I represent, to file with the subcommittee amendments to the bill. (These appear in the appendix, pp. 331-382.)
Mr. Sisk. Very good. We will keep the record open, I would say, for a week, and if you have time, go ahead and submit those. (The complete statement of Mr. McLeod follows:)
STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION TO THE BILL H.R. 12937 My name is William N. McLeod, Jr., and I am representing a group of optometrists and opticians in the District of Columbia who oppose the bill H.R. 12937 and several other identical bills which have been introduced. I am here to represent S. S. Hollander who operates the optical department of the Hecht Co., Dr. Ben Gainsburg who operates the optical department of Kann's Department Store, Kinsman Optical Co., Sterling Optical Co., and the Kay Jewelry Stores. This group is affiliated with the National Association of Optometrists and Opticians whose president, Dr. Galen E. Rowe, Jr., has testified previously.
This bill has been introduced in various forms in many States by people who wish to limit the practice of optometry and the sale of glasses for their own gain. The bill, if passed, would benefit a special group, would create monopolies, and would prevent the public from obtaining eye care in many places where it is now obtainable and at much lower cost than would prevail if this bill were enacted.
The bill defines optometry as a profession. Courts in the District of Columbia have held to the contrary. Several years ago a group of licensed optometrists filed suit against Lansburgh's Department Store to restrain the corporation from employing a registered optometrist to render services to its customers in its extensive optical department. The plaintiffs in that suit sought to restrain Lansburgh's from directly or indirectly engaging in the practice of optometry in the District of Columbia. The request for an injunction was based on the allegation that optometry was a "learned profession.” In the trial of the issue in the district court and finally on review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District, both courts found:
(1) That optometry is a mechnaical art which required skill and knowledge of the use of certain mechanical instruments to measure and record errors and deviations from normal found in the human eye; and (2) that “optometry” is not a learned profession.
Chief Justice Groner said in his opinion that the licensing statute for optometrists does not prevent a corporation from furnishing its customers or clients the services of a licensed optometrist, since the performance of optometry is not a "learned profession,” but relates to the measurement and powers of vision and the adaptation of the lenses thereto. (Silver v. Lansburgh, 111 Federal (2d) 518.)
The bill attempts to dictate to the accredited schools of optometry what procedures the school should follow in graduating candidates for degrees in optometry: If candidates for degrees in optometry are being permitted to graduate without having the qualifications necessary for being licensed, it is the duty of the Optometric Society to see that the standards of the schools be raised so as to accomplish this purpose.
A person holding a license to practice by reciprocal agreement in the District of Columbia who failed to enter into practice after holding a license for 1 year would not be permitted to practice in the District. It is hard to understand why a person who is competent to practice would not be so for a period longer than 1 year.
Section 7(a), subsection 7, refers to conduct which disqualifies the licensee from practicing optometry with safety to the public. Without a clear-cut defini