The job of the Texas Optometry Board is to protect and promote the welfare of the people of Texas. They do this by ensuring each person who holds a license as an optometrist in the State of Texas is competent to practice safely. This means the Texas Optometry Board has the authority to discipline the license of any optometrist. Chelle Law’s Texas Optometry Board Attorneys have represented over 1000 health care professionals before licensing boards and have the experience needed to help optometrists with Texas Optometry Board matters.
Texas Optometrist Complaint
Who can file a complaint against an optometrist? Patients, Health Care Facilities, other professionals, among others. When the Texas Optometry Board receives a complaint, the Board will initiate an investigation into the complaint (if the Board has jurisdiction and the Complaint isn’t dismissed). After this happens, the optometrist will receive notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial for optometrists as they must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at a Texas Optometry Board.
Optometry Application Denial Assistance
Applicants to the Texas Optometry Board who have a criminal history or previous discipline by the Texas Optometry Board (or any other Board) may be subject to denial of their application for licensure. Thus, those with a criminal or disciplinary history from other licensing boards will be investigated by the Board.
Reporting a Criminal Charge to the Texas Optometry Board
Per Rule 277.5 of the Texas Administrative Code a licensee or applicant receiving a felony or misdemeanor criminal conviction, including deferred adjudication or court ordered community or mandatory supervision, with or without an adjudication of guilt, or revocation of parole, probation or court ordered supervision, shall report the order of conviction, deferred adjudication or court ordered community or mandatory supervision, or revocation of parole, probation, or supervision within 30 days of the date the court issued the order. This subsection does not require the reporting of a Class C Misdemeanor traffic violation. The failure of a licensee or applicant to report a conviction is deceit, dishonesty and misrepresentation in the practice of optometry and authorizes the board to take disciplinary action under §351.501 of the Act. The licensee shall furnish any document relating to the conviction as requested by the Board.
Professional Recovery Network
In lieu of disciplinary action the Texas Optometry Board may allow an optometrist with a potential impairment due to substance use or mental illness applicants and licensees to enter into the Professional Recovery Network. The PRN handles the post-treatment monitoring, education and intervention of those who suffer from substance abuse or dependence, medical, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health disorders that affect their ability to safely practice.
Optometry Board Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any licensee may request an appeal of an Texas Optometry Board disciplinary action to an administrative law judge with the Texas Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). In some instances, a case is sent automatically to hearing. The administrative hearing is conducted by OAH before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The hearing is not as formal as a trial, but is similar. Each party presents evidence using documents or sworn testimony. Each party also gives an opening and closing argument which should explain why the judge should rule one way or the other. An optometrist’s attorney can cross examine witnesses and testify on his or her behalf. After the hearing, the ALJ reviews the transcripts, evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board makes the decision to either accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If n individuals feels there has been a mistake they can request a rehearing.
Optometry Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The Board encourages the resolution and early settlement of all contested matters through voluntary settlement procedures. For each matter referred for ADR procedures, the ADR director shall assign a mediator, unless the participants agree upon the use of a private mediator. The ADR director may assign a substitute or additional mediator to a proceeding as the ADR director deems necessary. When ADR procedures do not result in the full settlement of a contested matter, the participants, in conjunction with the mediator, shall limit the contested issues through the entry of written stipulations. Such stipulations shall be forwarded or formally presented to the judge assigned to conduct the hearing on the merits and shall be included in the hearing record.
Texas Optometry Disciplinary Actions
Texas Optometry Board disciplinary actions are given to optometrist with a license or certification in Texas. If the Board determines formal disciplinary action is necessary it will happen after the completion of an investigation. It’s the job of the Board to review any complaint alleging a violation of the Texas laws and regulations. Thus, at a Board Meeting the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the optometrist formal discipline. Disciplinary actions can include:
- Administrative Penalty (fine)
- Professional Development
- Voluntary Surrender
Optometry Attorney Assistance
If you’re interested in setting up a consultation with our Texas Optometry Board Attorney at Chelle Law or learning more about any of the services we provide to Texas optometrists we invite you to reach out to us today.