Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Explains Optometrist Licensing Discipline in Missouri

Optometrists practicing in Missouri play a significant role in healthcare. At first blush, the average person might not realize the significance of having a competent, ethical, and honest optometrist diagnose and treat eye conditions. The failure of an optometrist to diagnose and properly treat conditions of the eye will alter a patient’s life and possible rob that person of one of his or her senses. Accordingly, rigorous licensing requirements that ensure technical competence but also protect the public from sharp practices and guard against taking advantage of vulnerable clients.

Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger — who is also admitted to the practice of law in Kansas — fully believes that every professional licensee facing discipline deserves the right to practice in his or her chosen profession and that a professional who makes a mistake should not be barred from practice. Every professional license should engage an attorney represent them as soon as the licensee learns about an investigation into his or her practice. However, not any attorney will suffice because professional disciplinary hearings are highly complex legal matters. Therefore, the professional licensee facing the threat of discipline should turn to a well-respected, experienced, and successful professional licensing attorney when contesting professional disciplinary proceedings.

Chapter 336 of the Revised Missouri Statutes governs the practice of optometry in the state. As such, Chapter 336 grants the Missouri State Board of Optometry (“the Board”) authority to establish and enforce licensing requirements to practice optometry in Missouri. Specifically, 336.110 describes in detail the grounds upon which the Board is justified in filing a complaint with the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission against a practicing optometrist or deny licensure to an optometrist who applied to practice in Missouri.

Optometrists may be disciplined for numerous transgressions. Of course, the simple fact that the Board filed a complaint does not equate to guilt, but the occasion triggers certain rights and obligations of the licensee. An optometrist practicing in Missouri could face discipline for using controlled substances or alcohol to any degree such that imbibing interferes with the optometrist’s ability to use sound medical discretion.  Also, any criminal offense to which the licensee pleads guilty, nolo contendre, or is convicted that pertains to any of the functions of an optometrist is also a ground for discipline.

In addition, committing fraud, impersonating a licensee, assisting someone in an effort to violate the licensing law, fraudulently obtaining something of value, and incompetence are additional reasons the Board may be justified when filing a complaint about discipline against the optometrist. Additional grounds for disciplinary action include adverse disciplinary action taken by another jurisdiction, violating the public trust, false of misleading advertising, violation of the drug laws and regulations of Missouri or the United States, and failing to take precautions to prevent the spread of contagious disease.

If the Board learns of a violation of 336.110, then it has the discretion to file legal action before the Administrative Hearing Commission. The Administrative Hearing Commission will conduct a hearing, and if the government has sustained the allegations, then the Board has the discretion, pursuant to 336.110(3), to mete out discipline.

The Board has several options at its disposal when punishing a license holder. The statute affords the Board wide latitude when announcing its disciplinary decision. Despite the latitude, the statute seems to favor to censure or  probation, that is, place restrictions on the optometrist’s freedom to practice for no more than five years. The statute grants the Board authority to place restrictions on the practitioner’s license as it deems fit. Additionally, the Board may suspend the optometrist’s license for up to three years. The Board may revoke the practitioner’s license as well.

Are You An Professional Licensee in Missouri Facing Discipline?

Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger will provide you with the experience, savvy, and track record of success you need to protect your livelihood. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation.