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Mr. Dowdy. In other words, you keep records but you do not keep them for yourself but the company?

Dr. EPHRAIM. Exactly.

Mr. Dowdy. But the records are the same as if you were in private practice?

Dr. EPHRAIM. Yes, sir.

Mr. Dowdy. Except for the ownership. In this case that you mentioned where they sued for the records, did the corporation win the suit?

Dr. EPHRAIM. I do not believe it ever came to court. I think it was just a threat or agreement. I do not believe it ever came to court.

Mr. Dowdy. It is assumed then that the records do belong to the corporation for whom the optometrist is working rather than the man?

Dr. EPHRAIM. The corporation assumes that, yes, sir.

Mr. Dowdy. Do any of you know, when you make patients' records for each of the patients, this would be true whether working for a corporation or for yourself-do you consider that those are personal things as between you and your patient?

Dr. EPHRAIM. Definitely, yes, sir. Because we do take complete case histories of the patients' problems and they are personal.

Mr. Dowdy. Maybe I should have used the word confidential.
Dr. EPHRAIM. Yes, sir, they are confidential.

Mr. Dowdy. That would be, I guess, a matter of ethics in the practice of your profession or trade, whichever you call it? When the records belong to the corporation do you know of anything that requires the corporation to keep patients' records from falling into the hands of other people? Dr. EPHRAIM. No, sir. In fact, on the contrary, I believe cor

. porations frequently will sell records to another corporation or optometrist. In other words, this is merchandise to them. This is not personal or confidential records.

Mr. Dowdy. As a practicing optometrist, if you were to leave and with such a thing as selling out your office to another optometrist to take over your practice, would you leave with him your records?

Dr. Ephraim. I believe, yes. When a man succeeds, whether through death or retirement, these services are carried on, the records are carried on just as in any other profession they are generally.

Mr. WHITENER. Let me ask you gentlemen something on what Mr. Dowdy has just referred to.

Is there any difference in the sale of those records by Kinsman Optical, the man I believe you said you worked for Dr. EPHRAIM. Yes, sir.

Mr. WHITENER. And another optical company and one optometrist selling to another? What is the difference?

Dr. Ephraim. I think it is the standard or legal practice. In one case I would say they are selling merchandise where in the second case when you succeed to a practice, even whether it is law or medicine or optometry, you are assuming certain good will. You are assuming

. certain records so that you can have a continuity of service. In corporate practice I do not believe they consider this as such.

Mr. WHITENER. What do you buy in the provision in the bill that we have before us where it says nothing in it shall prevent the widow

or widower of the deceased optometrist from continuing for a period not to exceed one year after death of such deceased optometrist the practice of such deceased optometrist through the services of another optometrist?

Dr. EPHRAIM. I think that we were for this provision for one reason. We have an emergency assistance plant set up by optometrists whereby if one optometrist is incapacitated or deceased, we as a group all chip in together and continue his practice until such time as he gets better or his widow can dispose of his practice. We cover his practice for him. We felt that this was for his protection as well as for the protection of his estate, or widow or child. We will cover his practice for six months. Actually

Mr. WHITENER. Do you interpret this language to mean that widow or widower gets a benefit for six months of the practice of optometry, whether that widow or widower has ever been to optometric school or not?

Dr. EPHRAIM. The way our program is set up, in covering his practice we do it without fees. Whether he is sick, incapacitated, or passes on. All returns, all money except materials goes to the optometrist who is sick, or in this case his widow. She would benefit, yes, sir.

Mr. WHITENER. As brought out in earlier examination, suppose the optometrist who died left no widow surviving him but left three small children; than what happens?

In this bill I am talking about.

Dr. EPHRAIM. As I say, in our own association we have set up a provision if that optometrist so wishes we will cover his practice, I think in that case, for 6 months if he will give the executor of the estate the right to let us do that. We are willing to carry it on for him so that the children or wife will not be left out in the cold until such time.

When a man dies and he is in private practice, the value of that practice is nil within two or three months or four months if it is not covered. It is just worthless. We were trying to prevent just such a thing occuring.

Mr. WHITENER. You see, if this bill becomes law, as I interpret it, it will permit a widow or widower to benefit by the continuation for one year of the practice but it would just as strongly deny to the minor children surviving this deceased optometrist the benefit of that same provision.

Dr. EPHRAIM. I do not think that is equitable. I think that the children should have the same benefits as the widow. If one is allowed the other should be.

Mr. WHITENER. I really think maybe more so.
Dr. EPHRAIM. Yes, sir.

Mr. WHITENER. I mentioned this to some of the draftsmen of the bill. I suppose there is some argument as to whether there ought to be any provision for anybody. With a professional man passing away, he is finished. When we lawyers go there is no such provision in the law for a layman to practice law for a year through another lawyer.

I I just wondered about this. If you are going to do it, it seems to me you should take care of the ones who may be in the greatest need. That would be my feeling.

Dr. EPHRAIM. I agree with you on that. The widow will probably have less need than the children would.

Mr. WHITENER. Assuming that she is in good health and all these things. The little fellow five or six years old can not do anything for himself.

That is all.

Mr. Sisk. I do not think I have any more questions but I would comment. We discussed the amendment to this, or actually a rewriting of that which would actually do the thing. I agree with my colleague.

Dr. EPHRAIM. I think this was an oversight on the children.
Mr. Dowdy. Thank you, gentlemen.

you will make your comments about those amendments for us it will be appreciated.

Dr. EPHRAIM. Yes, sir. Dr. GREENWOOD. I wanted to make one further comment, Mr. Chairman, on attracting new optometrists to the area. It was my feeling from talking to many colleagues in other areas, as long as this commercialism and this present condition exists we do not attract the professional-minded optometrists to Washington. I feel very strongly about this because if we had a better law we would attract a better element of better professional men to come to the nation's capital.

The other comment I want to make in connection with corporate practice was the telephone book listing. In the telephone book under the listing of optometrists we find ABC companies, corporations listing themselves as optometrists. Again, we are powerless to do anything about this in view of the Silver v. Lansburgh decision. I am sure that other professions would not tolerate an ABC company to be listed under dentists or physicians and I think it is terrible when a layman can list himself as a professional man in a telephone directory. This in most states would be illegal. I feel that the passing of this bill would eliminate some of these evils, a layman posing himself as a professional man.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Mr. Dowdy. We will make a part of the record this purported credit card and conditional sales contract and the time payment card of this Minnie Alice Henry with the New York Jewelry Company, a memorandum from a Mr. Horace White to Dr. Evart Warren and a letter from G. Stephen Reynolds, Thomas Jefferson High School to Mr. White in connection with the James Edward Freeman case involving the New York Jewelry Company,

We will also make a part of the record the court's opinion in Stacy Evers v. Herbert A. Buxbaum, t/a Rubin Optical Company, and Dr. Joseph Friedman, decided March 6, 1958 (253 Fed. 2d 356).

(The documents referred to follow :)





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