Minutes

North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry      

May 31- June 3, 2007            

Myrtle Beach , South Carolina

                                                                                   

 

The North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry met at the Embassy Suites Hotel at Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, May 31 – June 3, 2007 for the purposes of approving the applicants to take the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum examinations, to finalize the examination schedule based upon the number of approved applicants, to review and adopt the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2007, ending June 30, 2008, to review complaints, to monitor continuing education during the Annual Spring Congress of the North Carolina State Optometric Society, and for other purposes.  Present were Drs. William Rafferty, President, David Anderson, Secretary/Treasurer and Drs. Joel Banks, Michael Clark, William Hendrix, and Mr. Roger Mitchell and Ms. Mary Richardson, Members of the Board.  Also present was Dr. John Robinson, the Board’s Executive Director and Ms. Sara Roberts, the Administrative Assistant.  Present on Thursday at the 10 A.M. time certain as posted on the agenda was the Board’s attorney, Mr. Johnny Loper, who joined the meeting by way of conference telephone. Also present for the meeting except for those portions that were closed under the provisions of NCGS 143-318.11 was Thaddeus W. Swank, Esq., Director – Patient Information, American Academy of Ophthalmology. 

 

At 8:40 A.M. on Thursday, May 31, 2007 the meeting was called to order by the President who called upon Dr. Banks who opened the meeting with prayer.

 

Approval of Minutes.  On a motion by Dr. Clark seconded by Ms. Richardson, the Minutes of the March 30 - 31, 2007 Meeting were unanimously approved.

 

Report of the President.  Dr. Rafferty first thanked the Members of the Board and Staff for their support during his year as President and as he ended the last year of a five year term of service on the Board.  He then distributed a Report from the US Senate Finance Committee addressing drug company grants for medical education. The report focuses on the importance of medical education being completely independent from drug company marketing and influence.  Despite ACCME Standards there remains too much influence from pharmaceutical companies. The report basically charges the ACCME with increasing its oversight to insure independent CME.

 


ARBO’s COPE  standards for commercial support has been changed to follow this directive and is to be released in Boston later this month. Dr. Rafferty felt that the North Carolina Board should maintain the same oversight in its continuing education requirement for re-licensure by  adopting COPE approved education and/or making certain that North Carolina’s standards are appropriate and applied equally in its approval of courses meeting its requirements.

 

In concluding his report Dr. Rafferty recommended that the revised clinical examiner’s worksheet developed by the Examination Review Committee earlier this year be implemented if possible by the Winter 2008 examinations.   He expressed optimism that the Board’s new software would be ready in time to make the necessary changes.

 

On a motion by Ms. Richardson seconded by Dr. Anderson that carried unanimously the report of the President was accepted.

 

Report of the Secretary Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer presented the Budget Report that covered the period 07/01/06 through 05/28/07.  With a month remaining in the fiscal year, Dr. Anderson noted that several of the line items in the budget that exceeded the amounts budgeted were the subject of review at the last meeting and that there were no unexpected changes in this report.    Based upon the income and expenditures as reflected in this budget report it appears that Board will  end the fiscal year with less of a deficit than anticipated when the budget was adopted a year ago. On a motion by Mrs. Richardson seconded by Dr. Clark and carried unanimously the Report of the Secretary-Treasurer was accepted.

 

Report of the Executive Director.  The Executive Director gave a brief update on the work being done on the design and implementation of the new data management system.  Mr. Dixon is continuing to write and test programs with all of the work now being done in the Board office.  The new screens have fields added for each licensee’s NPI number and OE Tracker number.  Once the new system is on line and properly tested every licensee will be able to access the system using a unique password to review key information in their file including their continuing education credits.  Additionally, by the time to renew licensees in December 2008 it is anticipated that those persons wishing to do so will be able to renew their license on line by use of a credit card and by paying a ‘convenience fee’ to cover the cost of the transaction.  All of these features are designed to improve and facilitate the exchange of data between the licensee and the Board.  Current plans are to complete the basic system, transfer all the data from the old to the new system, complete all testing to assure that all of the data has been correctly transferred and none has been lost and then to disconnect and turn off the old system and to prepare the 2008 license renewals using the new system. On a motion by Mr. Mitchell seconded by Dr. Anderson that carried unanimously the report of the Executive Director was accepted.

 

Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum Examinations.  There are 49 applicants for the Summer 2007 examinations.  That number will require that the Board be in Raleigh for a minimum of five days, including four days at the examination site and a day that will include a two hour meeting with representatives from the State Board of Ethics, setting up the examination stations, orientation and review of scoring with the Clinical Examiners and a Board Meeting.  The dates previously approved and currently posted are Thursday, July 26, 2007 through Monday, July 31, 2007.  With this number of applications the fact that the McKimmon Center is under going some remodeling it will be necessary for the Board Members to be in Raleigh no later than 2 o’clock on Thursday for a two hour meeting that has been scheduled with the Board of Ethics.  The Clinical Examiners will arrive by 4 o’clock to set up the equipment and the examination stations.  The Board meeting will begin at the end of the session with the Board of Ethics and should conclude by 6 P.M.  On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 27th, 28th and 29th, three sessions will be conducted each day. The final session will be held on Monday morning and the meeting concluded by noon.

 

On a motion by Dr. Banks seconded by Dr. Clark and carried unanimously  the applications for the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum were approved subject to all documents required by the Board being received by the Board and in the Applicants’ file prior to their appearing for examination.  Further, the schedule for the Summer Clinical/Practicum Examinations as recommended above was approved.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Policy Statement on the Unlicensed Practice of Optometry.   Dr. Banks presented a draft of a recommended Policy Statement that had been worked on by him and the Executive Director.  Before presenting it to the Board it was reviewed and a number of changes made by the Board’s attorney.  Following discussion it was the decision of the Board to delay further consideration and adoption prior to addressing a number of additional issues brought forward during the discussions including practice by individuals not eligible for licensure in North Carolina.  Dr. Anderson was added to the committee which was asked to report in Raleigh at the time of the Summer examinations.

 

Review of Complaints.   There were no new complaints to report

 

Report of Probable Cause Committee.  There was no report at this time from the Probable Cause Committee

 

Closed Session.  Due to problems with the hotel’s hooking up the conference telephone line it was 10:20 A.M. before Mr. Loper joined the meeting by way of a conference telephone hookup. On a motion by Dr. Banks and seconded by Mr. Mitchell, the Board voted unanimously to go into closed session pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3) to receive a report from Mr. Loper regarding two disciplinary matters.  Mr. Loper reported to the Board on the current procedural status of those matters and indicated that he will complete his research on circumstances under which Board Members  should consider recusing themselves  from disciplinary matters, and will then brief the Board on the results of that research in the near future.  After responding to the Board’s questions and inquiries, on a motion of Dr. Anderson, seconded by Dr. Clark, the Board voted to return to open session.  No action or vote was taken in this closed session.   

 

                                   

 Board Office Lease July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008.  Under terms approved by the North Carolina Department of Administration in 2005, the current lease was for one year and ends June 30, 2007.  As in the previous lease it provides the option of renewal for an additional one year term at the end of this, the second year.  A copy is available here if anyone would like to see it.  On a motion by Mr. Mitchell seconded by Ms. Richardson and carried unanimously the Board voted to renew the lease for another year (Fiscal Year 2007-2008).

 

Budget Proposal. Dr. Anderson and the Executive Director presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2007-2008. This budget drafted by the Executive Director provides a 5 % pay increase in the salaries of the Executive Director and the Administrative Secretary and  a 7 % increase in the salary of the Administrative Assistant.  The recommended SEPS contribution remains at 10 %.  Action on the proposed budget was postponed until after the Board’s closed session held for the purpose of discussing Staff performance and salaries.

 

Executive Session.   On a motion by Dr. Banks seconded by Mr. Mitchell and carried unanimously the Board went into Executive Session to discuss Staff performance and salaries.  In reconvening the meeting  the President announced that the Board unanimously agreed that the performance of the Board Staff over the past year had been exemplary and that  the Members of the Board were deeply appreciative of their dedication and professionalism in the performance of their duties; further, that the Members of the Board were of the opinion that a 5 % increase in the salaries of  the Executive Director and the Administrative Secretary  and a 7 % increase in the salary of the Administrative Assistant for fiscal year 2007-2008 were in order. Finally, it was the recommendation of the Board that in the future the Executive Director be prepared to review Staff performance and to recommend salary increases based upon increases in the cost of living and any recommended merit increases with the Board’s Executive Committee at the time of the Board meeting held in the early spring of each year in the Board office to review the results of the Winter Examinations 

 

Employee Retirement Accounts Returning to open session and before voting on the adoption of the Budget Dr. Clark moved and Dr. Banks seconded a motion that the Board approve a 10% contribution to the SEP’s accounts of the Executive Director, the Administrative Secretary and the Administrative Assistant (an amount included in the budget as presented)  based upon  salaries for fiscal year  2007-2008. The motion carried unanimously.

 

Board Office Lease  On a motion by Mr. Mitchell seconded by Ms. Richardson and carried unanimously the Board Office Lease previously approved by the North Carolina Department of Administration was approved for the final year, July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008, of the three year agreement.

 

 

Adoption of the Budget. the Secretary-Treasurer presented the Budget for fiscal year 2007-2008, said budget reflecting a 5% pay increase for the Executive Director and the Administrative Secretary and a 7% pay increase in the salary of the Administrative Assistant.  Without further discussion on a motion by Mr. Mitchell seconded by Ms. Richardson and carried unanimously the  Budget for fiscal year 2007-2008 as presented by the Secretary/Treasurer was adopted.

 

Annual Review of Staff Performance  On a motion by Mr. Mitchell seconded by Ms. Richardson and carried unanimously the Executive Director is to be prepared to meet with the Board’s Executive Committee or their designee to review Staff performance and to make recommendations for salary increases, if any,  based upon merit and the increase in costs of living over the preceding year, said meeting to be at the time of the Board meeting in the early spring of each year held in the Board office for the purpose of determining the results of the Winter Clinical/Practicum examinations.

 

Report of the Examination Review Committee.  Applicants requesting a review of their examination results have been scheduled to appear before the Examination Review Committee on Friday, June 8, 2007 in the Board office.

 

Annual Audit.  A proposal for performing the Annual Audit by the Accounting Firm of Waters and Piver was presented.  On a motion by Dr. Clark  seconded by Ms. Richardson and carried unanimously the proposal by Mr. Waters on behalf of his firm was accepted.

 

Clinical Examiners.   There was a brief discussion concerning the selection of Clinical Examiners for the Summer Examinations.    On a motion by Mr. Mitchell seconded by Dr. Anderson and carried unanimously the Executive Director was given the authority to ask the following who have served as Clinical Examiners in the past to serve as Clinical Examiners for  the upcoming Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum examinations:   Drs.  Kenny Bumgarner,  Ania Hamp,  David King, Don MacQueen, Maggie Metwalli, John Miller, Sandra Moore, Eric Oberdorf, Robert Rosenstein and Matthew Vizithum.   In the event that any of those listed cannot serve then alternate examiners are to be selected from the list of those examiners who have served in the past:

           

ARBO/AOA Meeting.  As reported in the minutes of the last meeting Drs. Anderson, Hendrix, Rafferty and the Executive Director will be attending the Annual Meeting of the Association of Regulatory Boards in Optometry on June 24 -26, 2007 in Boston, MA.  The Executive Director’s travel plans to attend this meeting and the meeting of American Optometric Association following the ARBO meeting are dependent on an ‘ok’ from his doctors to make the trip.

 

Annual Meeting.  The Annual Meeting to elect officers was confirmed for Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 5:30 PM by way of a conference telephone call.

 

The remainder of the time in Myrtle Beach was spent in monitoring the continuing education programs at the Spring Meeting of the North Carolina Optometric Society which began on Friday, June 1 and ended on Sunday June 3, 2007.

 

There being no further business the meeting of the Board was officially adjourned at noon on Sunday, June 3, 2007.  The next meeting will be the Annual Meeting of the Board to elect officers for the coming year beginning July 1, 2007 to be held by way of a conference telephone call on Thursday afternoon, June 14, 2007 at 5:30 P.M.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                Approved July 26, 2007

 Raleigh, North Carolina