Optometry Licenses

Optometrists are in the profession of providing patients with medical care for their eyes. Specifically, these medical doctors diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and the body’s visual system. Typically, optometrists examine patients’ eyes and visual systems as well as diagnose impairments or problems, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide continuing treatment. Patients go to optometrists because they trust them with their eye care needs. Sometimes healthcare professionals, including optometrists, face accusations against their character and medical abilities. Such allegations threaten the ability to practice medicine in the field of optometry and support themselves and their loved ones financially. When years of intense studies and thousands of dollars have been poured into their professional reputations, these medical professionals deserve vigorous representation in defense of their optometrist license. That’s where an experienced Maryland optometry license defense attorney can make all the difference.

Regulation of Optometrists

The Maryland Department of Health’s Board of Examiners in Optometry (the “Board”) regulates physicians practicing in this area within the State of Maryland. If you or a colleague has been put on notice of a hearing or is under investigation by the Board, you should contact a knowledgeable Maryland professional license defense attorney immediately. The skilled lawyers at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC have years of experience defending the livelihood of healthcare providers and can help guide you every step of the way during this difficult time.

There are hundreds of optometrists actively practicing in Maryland, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When it comes to a license for optometry, there are several regulations and guidelines that must be adhered to by these medical professionals at all times. This includes medical competency, ethics, current licensing requirements and other regulations. Making a mistake in any of the regulated areas can result in unpredictable consequences. The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC fully understands that the loss or suspension of your Maryland optometry license can lead to being out of work for a long period of time. Consequently, our experienced attorneys and legal staff will work tirelessly in pursuit of defending your case aggressively.

Board Procedures

When a complaint is filed against a Maryland licensed optometrist, the Board receives, reviews, analyzes, and processes the complaint. Sometimes complaints are closed because they either fall outside of the jurisdiction of the Board or the allegations do not constitute grounds for further investigation or disciplinary action. Of note, the Board prosecutes cases against medical providers who hold a Maryland optometry license if there is a substantive allegation for grounds for denial or suspension of license. They will also prosecute if one or more of the grounds for disciplinary action include:

  • Alcohol abuse or prescription drug abuse;
  • Sexual misconduct or sexual contact;
  • Use of illegal narcotics or substances;
  • False, misleading, or deceptive advertising;
  • Unlicensed practice of optometry;
  • Falsification of records;
  • Conviction of a crime substantially related to the medical license;
  • Fiscal dishonesty, fraud, or theft;
  • Incompetence and/or gross negligence; and
  • Unauthorized disclosure of patient information.

Upon review of the complaint against a Maryland optometrist, the Board may determine that the allegations are unfounded. Should this occur, the complaint will be closed. If the Board concludes that the allegations have merit, they will determine what further action, if any, should be taken. Some options include:

  • The Board will handle the matter internally and issue an informal sanction (i.e., citation, fine, private reprimand, etc.); or
  • Refer the matter to the Attorney General’s Office (“AG”) for prosecution against the licensee for violating the Maryland Optometry Act;

The AG will pursue denial of a Maryland optometry license if the individual is applying for licensure in the state. On the contrary, if the individual is a current licensee, the AG will pursue a suspension or revocation of the license.

Prior to holding a full evidentiary hearing, the Board typically will hold a case resolution conference which will provide both the Board and the optometrist an opportunity to settle the case through a consent order.  If a resolution is reached, the optometrist would waive his or her right to a formal hearing, enter into a consent order with the Board and waive his or her right to appeal the case.  Before entering into a consent order, however, it is strongly advised that you obtain legal counsel with a Maryland optometry license defense attorney to protect your interests.

Optometry License Defense

You should not allow yourself to be told by the Board that it is not necessary to obtain legal representation to defend your Maryland professional optometry license. Understand that the Board’s interest is to protect the public’s safety and advocate on their behalf. It is important for you to know your rights when it comes to defending your professional license in optometry in Maryland. In short, you can employ Maryland legal counsel experienced in professional license defense to present a powerful and compelling argument so that disciplinary action taken by the Board, if any, is minimized. It is important to understand that if you have been put on notice by the Board of an investigation or if you are awaiting a hearing, you should not discuss your case with the Board, the AG, or an investigator without first consulting with an attorney. It is best to contact an experienced attorney as early as possible in this process.

The Board’s procedures for handling Maryland optometrist licensing issues is governed by several laws including statute, regulations on hearing procedures, and other state laws including the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and the Public Information Act (PIA).  Upon the completion of an investigation, the investigator provides a factual report to the Board. The Board, in turn, reviews the facts and determines whether or not there is probable cause to charge the accused licensee. There may be an informal hearing, an evidentiary hearing, and/or a case resolution conference. Throughout any stage of this process, the optometrist should contact legal counsel to ensure his or her rights are protected.

Contact a Maryland Optometry License Defense Attorney Today

The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC defends Maryland health care professionals, including optometrists, from accusations against their licenses. We also fight the denial of optometry licenses, defend optometry licenses under investigation, and appeal adverse optometry licensing decisions, among other optometry license-related matters. Our firm takes the time to understand the unique situation of each medical professional who comes to us seeking legal representation. Contact us online today or call (410) 514-6099 to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Maryland optometry license defense attorney.

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