Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 63: Professions of the Healing Arts

Chapter 8: Optometry Law

TCA 63-8-120: Discipline of certificate holders.

(a) The board may refuse to issue an annual renewal certificate, may suspend or revoke any certificate issued by it, censure, reprimand, place on probation and assess a civil penalty up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each separate violation whenever the certificate holder is found guilty of any of the following acts or offenses:

(1) Fraud in procuring a license;

(2) Immoral, unprofessional or dishonorable conduct;

(3) Habitual intoxication or addiction or misuse of drugs;

(4) Conviction of a felony;

(5) Use of untruthful or improbable statements or flamboyant or extravagant claims concerning such licensee's professional excellence or abilities;

(6) Practicing under any other name than the certificate holder's own unless board approved;

(7) Failure to renew annual certificate;

(8) Solicitation of optometric services or ophthalmic materials in person or by agent by any means other than advertising authorized by this chapter;

(9) Gross health care liability or a pattern of continued or repeated health care liability, ignorance, negligence or incompetence in the practice of optometry;

(10) Practice beyond the scope of the certificate;

(11) Furnishing spectacle prescriptions that do not at least meet the informational requirements established by the board or refusing to furnish a copy of a spectacle prescription at no additional cost to the patient at the end of the examination;

(12) Advertising of optometric services or ophthalmic materials in any manner other than permitted by this chapter or rule and regulation of the board;

(13) Engaging in the practice of optometry as an employee of any person, firm or corporation not engaged primarily in health care delivery;

(14) Division of fees or agreeing to split or divide the fees received for professional services with any person for bringing or referring a patient;

(15) Peddle or sell ophthalmic materials as to render or attempt to render optometric services from house to house or door to door. This shall not prohibit, however, an optometrist from attending, prescribing and furnishing ophthalmic materials to a patient who, by reason of illness or physical or mental infirmity, is confined to the patient's place of abode or in a hospital or other institution;

(16) Signing or making in one's professional capacity any certificate known to be false at the time it is signed or made;

(17) Committing any act that is made unlawful by SC 63-8-113; or

(18) Committing any act contrary to the provisions of this chapter or the rules and regulations of the board.

(b) The board may set guidelines for the implementation of the discipline of certificate holders.

(c) The board may require a mental or physical examination of a certificate holder that the board believes may be a threat to that certificate holder or the public or incapable of practicing optometry in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and the standards established by the board.

(d) The board may provide conditions upon optometrists continuing to practice or upon the reinstatement of certificates. These conditions may include, but are not limited to, the payment of civil penalties, the attendance or completion of courses of study, the passage of examinations, the passage of physical or mental examinations and the treatment of any physical or mental ailments.

(e) The board shall promulgate rules governing the assessment of costs against a licensee or other person found by the board to have violated any provision of this chapter. The costs assessed by the board may include only those costs directly related to the prosecution of the charges against the licensee or other person, including investigatory costs where appropriate. The board shall determine the appropriate amount of costs, if any, to be assessed in a contested case. These costs shall be reasonable and proportionate in light of the violation committed by the licensee or other person.

(1) Any elected officer of the board, or any duly appointed or elected chair, has the authority to administer oaths to witnesses. Upon probable cause being established, the board, by a vote of two thirds (2/3) of the members to which the board is entitled, may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents and records.

(2) Service of a subpoena issued by the board shall be made by the sheriff of the county of residence of the licensee or person upon whom the subpoena is served.

(3) (A) A licensee or person served by subpoena shall have thirty (30) days to request in writing a hearing before the board for the sole purpose of making a special appearance to quash or modify the subpoena. The subpoena for attendance of the person or the production of books and records shall be stayed until the board votes upon the request to quash or modify the subpoena. A majority vote of the members to which the board is entitled shall be required to quash or modify a subpoena.

(B) A motion to appeal from a decision by the board regarding a request to quash or modify a subpoena shall be made to the chancery court in Davidson County within fifteen (15) days of such decision.

(4) If any witness fails or refuses to obey a subpoena issued by it, the board is authorized to make application to any court of record in this state within the jurisdiction of which the witness is found or resides; and the court shall have power to attach the body of the witness and compel the witness to appear before the board and give testimony or produce books, records or papers as ordered. Any failure to obey the court order may be punished by the court issuing the order as a civil contempt.

(5) Each witness who appears before the board by order of the board shall receive for attendance the compensation provided by law for attendance of witnesses in a court of record, which shall be paid from the funds of the board in the same manner as all other expenses of the board are paid.

History: Acts 1925, ch. 99, SC 12; Shan. Supp., SC 3654a31; Code 1932, SC 7038; impl. am. Acts 1947, ch. 9, SCSC 2-4, 9; C. Supp. 1950, SC 7038; Acts 1953, ch. 113, SC 43; 1967, ch. 84, SC 3; 1979, ch. 406, SCSC 22-29; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), SC 63-822; Acts 1989, ch. 428, SC 11; 1999, ch. 440, SC 3; 2012, ch. 798, SC 41.