State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_90 > GS_90-121_2

§ 90‑121.2.  Rulesand regulations; discipline, suspension, revocation and regrant of certificate.

(a)        The Board shall have the power to make, adopt, andpromulgate such rules and regulations, including rules of ethics, as may benecessary and proper for the regulation of the practice of the profession ofoptometry and for the performance of its duties. The Board shall havejurisdiction and power to hear and determine all complaints, allegations,charges of malpractice, corrupt or unprofessional conduct, and of the violationof the rules and regulations, including rules of ethics, made against anyoptometrist licensed to practice in North Carolina. The Board shall also havethe power and authority to: (i) refuse to issue a license to practiceoptometry; (ii) refuse to issue a certificate of renewal of a license topractice optometry; (iii) revoke or suspend a license to practice optometry;and (iv) invoke such other disciplinary measures, censure, or probative termsagainst a licensee as it deems fit and proper; in any instance or instances inwhich the Board is satisfied that such applicant or licensee:

(1)        Has engaged in any act or acts of fraud, deceit ormisrepresentation in obtaining or attempting to obtain a license or the renewalthereof;

(2)        Is a chronic or persistent user of intoxicants, drugs ornarcotics to the extent that the same impairs his ability to practiceoptometry;

(3)        Has been convicted of any of the criminal provisions of thisArticle or has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to any charge orcharges arising therefrom;

(4)        Has been convicted of or entered a plea of guilty or nolocontendere to any felony charge or to any misdemeanor charge involving moralturpitude;

(5)        Has been convicted of or entered a plea of guilty or nolocontendere to any charge of violation of any State or federal narcotic orbarbiturate law;

(6)        Has engaged in any act or practice violative of any of theprovisions of this Article or violative of any of the rules and regulationspromulgated and adopted by the Board, or has aided, abetted or assisted anyother person or entity in the violation of the same;

(7)        Is mentally, emotionally, or physically unfit to practiceoptometry or is afflicted with such a physical or mental disability as to bedeemed dangerous to the health and welfare of his patients. An adjudication ofmental incompetency in a court of competent jurisdiction or a determinationthereof by other lawful means shall be conclusive proof of unfitness topractice optometry unless or until such person shall have been subsequentlylawfully declared to be mentally competent;

(8)        Repealed by Session Laws 1981, c. 496, s. 12.

(9)        Has permitted the use of his name, diploma or license byanother person either in the illegal practice of optometry or in attempting tofraudulently obtain a license to practice optometry;

(10)      Has engaged in such immoral conduct as to discredit theoptometry profession;

(11)      Has obtained or collected or attempted to obtain or collectany fee through fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit;

(12)      Has been negligent in the practice of optometry;

(13)      Has employed a person not licensed in this State to do orperform any act of service, or has aided, abetted or assisted any suchunlicensed person to do or perform any act or service which under this Articlecan lawfully be done or performed only by an optometrist licensed in thisState;

(14)      Is incompetent in the practice of optometry;

(15)      Has practiced any fraud, deceit or misrepresentation upon thepublic or upon any individual in an effort to acquire or retain any patient orpatients, including false or misleading advertising;

(16)      Has made fraudulent or misleading statements pertaining tohis skill, knowledge, or method of treatment or practice;

(17)      Has committed any fraudulent or misleading acts in thepractice of optometry;

(18)      Repealed by Session Laws 1981, c. 496, s. 12.

(19)      Has, in the practice of optometry, committed an act or actsconstituting malpractice;

(20)      Repealed by Session Laws 1981, c. 496, s. 12.

(21)      Has permitted an optometric assistant in his employ or underhis supervision to do or perform any act or acts violative to this Article orof the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board;

(22)      Has wrongfully or fraudulently or falsely held himself out tobe or represented himself to be qualified as a specialist in any branch ofoptometry;

(23)      Has persistently maintained, in the practice of optometry,unsanitary offices, practices, or techniques;

(24)      Is a menace to the public health by reason of having aserious communicable disease;

(25)      Has engaged in any unprofessional conduct as the same may befrom time to time defined by the rules and regulations of the Board.

In addition to and in conjunction with the actions described above, theBoard may make a finding adverse to a licensee or applicant but withholdimposition of judgment and penalty or it may impose judgment and penalty butsuspend enforcement thereof and place the licensee on probation, whichprobation may be vacated upon noncompliance with such reasonable terms as theBoard may impose. The Board may administer a public or private reprimand or aprivate letter of concern, and the private reprimand and private letter ofconcern shall not require a hearing in accordance with G.S. 90‑121.3 andshall not be disclosed to any person except the licensee. The Board may requirea licensee to: (i) make specific redress or monetary redress; (ii) provide freepublic or charity service; (iii) complete educational, remedial training, ortreatment programs; (iv) pay a fine; and (v) reimburse the Board fordisciplinary costs.

(b)        If any person engages in or attempts to engage in thepractice of optometry while his license is suspended, his license to practiceoptometry in the State of North Carolina may be permanently revoked.

(c)        The Board may, on its own motion, initiate the appropriatelegal proceedings against any person, firm or corporation when it is made toappear to the Board that such person, firm or corporation has violated any ofthe provisions of this Article.

(d)        The Board may appoint, employ or retain an investigator orinvestigators for the purpose of examining or inquiring into any practicescommitted in this State that might violate any of the provisions of thisArticle or any of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board.

(e)        The Board may employ or retain legal counsel for suchmatters and purposes as may seem fit and proper to said Board.

(f)         As used in this section the term "licensee"includes licensees, provisional licensees and holders of intern permits, andthe term "license" includes license, provisional license and internpermit.

(g)        A person, partnership, firm, corporation, association,authority, or other entity acting in good faith without fraud or malice shallbe immune from civil liability for (i) reporting or investigating the acts oromissions of a licensee or applicant that violate the provisions of subsection(a) of this section or any other provision of law relating to the fitness of alicensee or applicant to practice optometry and (ii) initiating or conductingproceedings against a licensee or applicant if a complaint is made or action istaken in good faith without fraud or malice. A person shall not be held liablein any civil proceeding for testifying before the Board in good faith and withoutfraud or malice in any proceeding involving a violation of subsection (a) ofthis section or any other law relating to the fitness of an applicant orlicensee to practice optometry, or for making a recommendation to the Board inthe nature of peer review, in good faith and without fraud and malice. (1973, c. 800, s. 20; 1981, c. 496, ss. 12, 13; 2000‑184,s. 6.)