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American Optometric Association Guidelines for Delineation of Clinical Privileges for Optometry

Delineation of privileges refers to the process by which clinical privileges are requested, recommended, and granted.

An optometrist who is licensed to practice optometry in the state is eligible to apply for hospital privileges and/or medical staff membership and to request permission to provide patient care services independently in the hospital, within the limits based on his/her professional license, experience, competence, ability, and judgment. These services may include but are not limited to general optometric services, pre and postoperative eye care, emergency eye care services, and the use of pharmaceuticals in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease as well as optometric specialty areas such as contact lens, low vision rehabilitation, and vision therapy services.

Evaluation of the optometrist’s competence to carry out the diagnostic and treatment procedures requested should be performed by the applicant’s peers.  If optometrists are not already members of the medical staff, the hospital should seek outside consultation from the optometric profession so as to obtain peer recommendations.  The granting of initial or renewed/revised clinical privileges should be based on fair, objective analysis and uniformly applied requirements as those used in evaluating other medical specialties.

The Guidelines for Delineation of Clinical Privileges for Optometry are designed to serve as models for hospitals to establish, review, and modify hospital specific criteria for their individual privilege delineation process.  A categorical approach, a privilege list approach, or a combination categorical and privilege list approach may be used in the delineation of privileges process.

The Categorical Approach model provided in this document uses predefined criteria for two categories/levels of optometric practice. These professionally developed criteria specify the education, training, experience, and documented evidence of the practitioner’s current competence to be applied as a basis in the evaluation and granting of clinical privileges to the optometric applicant. Privileges assigned to each category may vary according to each hospital’s local needs and resources. An applicant may apply for privileges not appearing on this list or are at a higher category based on or influenced by the practitioner’s scope of practice.

The Privilege List Approach model provided in this document is representative of possible optometric consultative, diagnostic, and treatment services that could be applied to optometrists in any state. It should be understood that this is only a representative sample and should be customized to the particular situation.