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A00526 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A526
 
SPONSOR: Cahill
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the limited liability company law, the business corpo- ration law, the partnership law, the public health law and the education law, in relation to authorizing optometrists and ophthalmic dispensing practices to form limited liability companies   PURPOSE: To authorize persons licensed to practice medicine, optometry and/or ophthalmic dispensing to jointly establish practices that provide a broader range of professional medical services.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This legislation would amend § 1203(a)and § 1207(b) and 5 1301(a) of the Limited Liability Law, 1503(a) of the Business Corporation Law, g 121-1500(q) and 5 121-1502(q)of the Partnership Law and 5 2801(1) of the Public Health Law to allow optometrists and/or ophthalmic dispensers licensed under Title VIII, Article 143 and/or Article 144 of the Educa- tion Law to form businesses with physicians. It also amends section 6530 of the Education Law to make clear that such business entities would not be prohibited from Pooling fees.   EXISTING LAW: Current law provides that one or more individuals who render the same professional service may organize a professional service corporation. In addition, while the law generally permits members of different professions to form a single professional limited liability company or partnership, the statute currently prohibits certain professionals, including physicians, from forming limited liability entities with licensed professionals from other disciplines.   JUSTIFICATION: The purpose of this bill is to authorize these separately licensed professionals - ophthalmologists, optometrists, and ophthalmic dispen- sers - to join together to own and operate a single professional prac- tice where patients can seek treatment and care. A number• of multi-dis- ciplinary practices have already been established throughout the State that permit "one-stop" shopping for eye care services. Practitioners who have entered into these practices believe patients may benefit from being able to access the full array of eye care services at a single location, where an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an ophthalmic dispenser (or optician) practice collaboratively. Although these practi- tioners are currently permitted to practice together, current law precludes physicians (including ophthalmologists) from entering into practices that would be jointly owned with other professionals, such as optometrists and opticians. The current law is unreasonably restrictive and serves no legitimate public purpose. There is no evidence that jointly owned practices are any less committed to the best interests of their patients than single profession-owned practices or existing multi-disciplinary practices. In the absence of any legitimate public health or patient protection concern, the decision whether health care professionals should jointly own a practice is properly a decision for the relevant professionals. This bill would not require professionals to form multi-disciplinary professional corporations or limited liability companies or partner- ships, and many professionals from each of these licensing categories may prefer to maintain separate practices. This bill would merely remove an artificial impediment to joint ownership and permit those who would choose to provide their professional services in a collaboratively owned and operated practice to do so, consistent with a growing majority of other states. This bill would make New York law consistent with the practice in at least twenty-six other states, including New Jersey, Ohio, Massachu- setts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Hampshire, which allow optome- trists to form professional corporations with other health care profes- sionals. As the trend to authorize such multi-disciplinary professional corporations among health care professionals increases particularly in the northeast United States - it is vital that New York continue its national leadership in providing these professionals with the option to form practices that may be best suited to meeting the needs of their patients.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2019-2020: A.240 - Referred to Higher Education 2017-2018: A.7474 - Referred to Higher Education 2015-2016: A.991 - Referred to Education 2013-2014: A.1384-A - Referred to Higher Education 2011-2012: A.58-A - Referred to Higher Education 2008: A.7269   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.
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