September 7 – 8, 2007
Wallace, North Carolina
The North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry met at the Board’s office in Wallace, North Carolina, on Friday and Saturday, September 7 – 8, 2007 to determine the results of the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum Examinations and for other purposes. Present were Drs. David Anderson, President, William Hendrix, Secretary/Treasurer, Joel Banks, Michael Clark, William Rafferty and Mr. Roger Mitchell, Members of the Board. Mrs. Mary Richardson was absent due to a conflict between the dates of this meeting and the ribbon cutting ceremonies dedicating the Jim Richardson YMCA in Charlotte, named in honor of her late husband and a former Member of this Board. Also present were Dr. John Robinson, the Executive Director, Janice Peterson, R.N., the Administrative Secretary, and Mrs. Sara Roberts, the Administrative Assistant. Mr. John Dixon, the Board’s software consultant and Data Systems Manager was present on Saturday. Mr. Thaddeus Swank, Director of Patient Initiatives, Washington Office of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, was present at both the Friday and Saturday sessions except for those portions closed for the purpose of reviewing and scoring the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum Examinations and when in closed session during meetings between the Members of the Board and their special counsel. Present on Saturday morning to conduct a “voir dire” of the Board to determine whether any Board Member should or must recuse himself or herself from sitting in any of the upcoming disciplinary hearings was the Board’s attorney, Mr. Johnny Loper. Present as special counsel to meet with and to advise the Board Members on Saturday morning prior to and during the “voir dire” was Mr. James A. Wilson. Present and participating in the “voir dire” representing M. Scott Edwards, OD was Mr. Stephen T. Smith.
The meeting was called to order by the President who asked Dr. Banks to offer an opening prayer.
Before proceeding the President read subparagraph (e) of Section 138A-15 of the NCGS, a copy of which was placed in each Board Member’s meeting notebook.
Approval of Minutes. On a motion by Mr. Mitchell, seconded by Dr. Hendrix and carried unanimously, the Minutes of the July 26 – 30, 2007 meeting were approved.
Report of the President Dr. Anderson stated that he did not have a report since the time between the Board’s meetings was so short. He reminded the Members that the agenda was rather long and that it was impossible to determine how long it would take to finish. He asked that the Board Members carefully review each candidate’s results for consistency and accuracy in scoring before the final results are determined. It was his intention to take the time necessary to accomplish this goal and to finish the other business on the agenda. On a motion made by Dr. Rafferty, seconded by Mr. Mitchell, and carried unanimously the report of the President was accepted.
Report of the Secretary/Treasurer When asked by the Secretary/Treasurer Dr. Anderson reviewed the Budget Report covering the period July 1 – August 31, 2007. Following brief discussion, a motion to accept the Budget Report was made by Dr. Banks, seconded by Mr. Mitchell and carried unanimously.
Report of the Executive Director The Executive Director’s report was brief. He explained the reason for Mr. Jim Wilson’s being present on Saturday as the “Board’s Special Counsel”. While not on the agenda the Board will meet in closed session \ at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning with Mr. Wilson who will review with them how the session on Saturday ( the “voir dire”) will be conducted with Mr. Loper acting in a role other than counsel for the Board and his role (Mr. Wilson’s) as special counsel to the Board. He reviewed briefly several complaints that had been made against optometrists since its last meeting. While still under investigation one of these complaints required the Probable Cause Committee to move quickly to get a Consent Order in place that prevents the licensee from engaging in practice until such time that there is a resolution of the patient(s)’s complaints in the Courts of Mecklenburg County and the time that the Board can conduct its own hearings. An Interim Consent Order was negotiated between Counsel for Christopher Reynolds, OD and the Members of the Board’s Probable Cause Committee. A copy of that Order is before you for approval.
On a motion by Dr. Banks, seconded by Dr. Hendrix and carried unanimously the report of the Executive Director was accepted.
Approval of Interim Consent Order On a motion by Dr. Clark, seconded by Mr. Mitchell the Interim Consent Order in the matter of Christopher Reynolds, OD was approved unanimously.
Review of the Scoring of the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum Examinations. On a motion by Dr. Clark, seconded by Dr. Hendrix and carried unanimously the Board went into closed session in accordance with the provisions of NCGS 143-318.11(a)(1), NCGS 93b-8(c) and NCGS 93b-8(d) to review the scoring of the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum Examinations. After a thorough review of the scoring of each applicant’s examination in closed session, the Board returned to open session.
Having reviewed the results of the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum Examinations in closed session it was moved by Dr. Clark and seconded by Dr. Rafferty that the following candidates be notified of their having achieved a passing score on the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum Examinations and they be duly licensed to practice the profession of optometry in the State of North Carolina and that their names be entered in the Board Registry with license numbers assigned as follows:
Kiarash Bassiri, O.D. #2055
Sonnie Alana Bryant, O.D. #2056
Candice C. Cain, O.D. #2057
Darren Clinton Decker, O.D. #2058
Deval Indra Desai, O.D. #2059
Phillip Elston, O.D. #2060
Cara Dian Hamm, O.D. #2061
David John Hasson, Jr., O.D. #2062
Kate Thompson Lanier, O.D. #2063
Anna V. Leggett, O.D. #2064
Rebecca S. Major, O.D. #2065
Nancie Nguyen-Marynell, O.D. #2066
Haley Southern Parker, O.D. #2067
Ryan Kiritkumar Patel, O.D. #2068
Megan Rae Price, O.D. #2069
Emily Christine Pridgen, O.D. #2070
Julia Anne Pridgen, O.D. #2071
Jennifer McCall Shenk, O.D. #2072
Jeremy Ross Shumaker, O.D. #2073
Natalie J. Swanson, O.D. #2074
Lisa Marie Traunero, O.D. #2075
Kelly J. Zwiesdak, O.D. #2076
The motion carried unanimously
Dr. Anderson appointed Dr. Clark as a Member of the Examination Review Committee to serve with the Executive Director to review the results of any candidate failing the Summer 2007 Examinations who requests a review.
Meeting with Special Counsel. At precisely 8 a.m. Saturday on a motion by Mr. Mitchell and seconded by Dr. Banks and carried unanimously the Board went into closed session in accordance with the provisions of NCGS 143-318.11(a)(3) to meet with its special counsel, Mr. James Wilson, in order to gain a better understanding of the purpose of the Board’s regular counsel, Mr. Loper, conducting a voir dire of the Board in preparation for formal disciplinary hearings and for Mr. Wilson to answer questions any Member might have about the process. No vote was taken on any issue in the closed session.
The Board returned to open session at 8:55 a.m. at which time it was adjourned to be reconvened in the Chambers of the Wallace Town Council
At 9 a.m. the meeting was reconvened in the Council’s Chambers and called to order by the President who turned it over to Mr. Loper to conduct a “voir dire” of the Board.
Mr. Loper, acting in his capacity as investigator and prosecutor for the Board, asked a series of questions intended to help the Board Members determine whether they must or should recuse themselves from sitting in judgment in the matters of Dr. Scott Edwards and Dr. James Black. Mr. Loper reviewed his understanding of the issues and the bases upon which recusal should occur. His reasons for conducting such a voir dire were the perceived personal relationships that some Board Members have developed with Drs. Edwards and Black over the years. If the Board were unable to seat a quorum for the hearing of either Dr. Edwards or Dr. Black, such matter(s) would have to be tried before an administrative law judge. Mr. Loper desired to know at an early date if such would be the case, in part, in order to allow defense counsel for Drs. Black and Edwards to conduct discovery and motion practice, if needed, before the tribunal that would eventually decide the case(s).
Mr. Loper began the voir dire in Dr. Edwards’ case. Mr. Stephen Smith, counsel for Dr. Edwards, also attended and participated in the voir dire. At the conclusion of the voir dire the meeting was turned back over to Dr. Anderson. A copy of the transcript of this proceeding is maintained in the Board office.
At precisely 9:52 a.m. on a motion by Dr. Rafferty, seconded by Dr. Clark and carried unanimously the Board went into closed session in accordance with the provisions of NCGS 143-318.11(a)(3) to meet with its special counsel, Mr. Wilson, to discuss legal standards for Board Members and for the Board to consider deciding whether a Board Member should be recused in Dr. Edwards’ case. No vote was taken on any issue in the closed session.
At 10:24 a.m., on a motion made by Dr. Banks, seconded by Dr. Rafferty and carried unanimously the Board came out of closed session. Dr. Anderson then turned the meeting back over to Mr. Loper.
Mr. Loper again conducted a voir dire of the Board, for the same purposes and in the same manner as described above, this time in Dr. Black’s case. As previously had been indicated to the Board, Dr. Black did not desire to be represented by counsel at the voir dire, and no attorney appeared for him to participate in the voir dire proceeding. A copy of the transcript of this proceeding is maintained in the Board office.
In the matter of M. Scott Edwards, OD those answering in the affirmative that they could sit on the disciplinary panel were Drs. Hendrix, Banks and Mr. Mitchell. Drs. Clark and Rafferty responded that they needed more time to think before answering. Dr. Anderson chose to recuse himself. After brief discussion and without objection the President allowed Drs. Clark and Rafferty until Wednesday, September 19th to notify the Executive Director of their decision on recusal.
In the matter of James B. Black, OD all of the Board Members present answered in the affirmative that they could sit on the disciplinary panel.
At precisely 11:04 a.m. on a motion by Dr. Rafferty and seconded by Dr. Clark and carried unanimously the Board went into closed session in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3) to consult with its special counsel further regarding legal standards for Board Members and the Board to consider in deciding whether the Board Members yet to decide should be recused in Dr. Edwards’ case. No vote was taken on any issue in the closed session.
At 11:25 a.m., on a motion made by Dr. Banks and seconded by Mr. Mitchell, the Board came out of closed session at which time the meeting was adjourned by the President to be resumed at the Board’s office.
Report of the Board’s Data Systems Manager Mr. John Dixon updated the Board on re-writing the Board’s licensing data management system and distributed an updated chart showing the status of the 44 modules he has been working on that have either been completed or that are in the testing stage. He assured the Board that the completion and testing of all of the modules in the new system would be ready for use in preparing the 2008 license renewal notices to go out either the last week of October or the first week in November. After a short discussion and the answering of questions from Members of the Board, Dr. Hendrix moved, and Dr. Rafferty seconded a motion to accept Mr. Dixon’s report.
Continuing Education Forms. Dr. Rafferty reviewed several forms recommended as ‘universal forms’ for use by all vendors of continuing education when submitting courses to the Board for approval for credit toward the annual continuing education requirement for license renewal. After brief discussion and without objection the Board approved the use of the forms as recommended by Dr. Rafferty.
Computer Data Base of C/P Examination Case Scenarios. At 12:20 on a motion by Dr. Clark seconded by Dr. Hendrix the Board went into Executive Session in accordance with the provisions of NCGS 143-318.11(a)(1), NCGS 93b-8(c) and NCGS 93b-8(d) to further discuss the preparation and scoring of the scenario stations for its future examinations. Dr. Rafferty distributed examples of case scenarios printed on computer generated forms created by his committee. The goal of the committee that this form is the prototype upon which case scenarios will be prepared in the future. Computer programs will be designed and written which will allow the preparation of case scenarios by the Board’s Clinical Examiners to be entered into the examination data base. The result will be that over time the Board will have a ‘library’ of cases sufficiently large that the work load of future clinical examiners will be lessened and that the time used in preparing cases today can be better utilized in ‘tweaking’ cases already in the data base, in adding more cases and in updating clinical knowledge through use of new diagnostic technologies, new therapeutic drugs to the end that the every presentation is based upon current knowledge and practice.
Letter from Johnny L. Dawkens requesting the Board to investigate the collection and use of patient’s Social Security Numbers by optometrists and possible violations of the Identity Theft Protection Act of 2005 by such optometrists in so doing. Dr. Anderson forwarded a letter to the Board dated September 3, 2007 that he had received as President of the Board from Mr. Johnny Dawkens who identified himself by signing the letter as a “Broker/Partner of Ebenconcepts, Inc” and also as President of the NC Association of Health Underwriters. After considerable discussion it appeared to be a consensus of the Members of the Board present that a ruling or opinion by the Board at this time on the issue Mr. Dawkens raised was not within the authority of the Board to determine. A copy of the Board’s letter of response to Mr. Dawkins detailing these discussions is attached to these minutes.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board will be at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC beginning on Thursday, November 8, 2007 and ending no later than noon on Sunday, November 11, 2007. In accordance with previous policy Dr. Anderson stated that the Board Members should use Wednesday, November 7, 2007 as a travel day and that reimbursement for the meeting be for travel, 5 days per diem and subsistence and 4 hotel nights.
In the absence of further business on a motion by Dr. Banks seconded by Mr. Mitchell the meeting was adjourned at 1:10 P.M. on Saturday, September 8, 2007.
Asheville, North Carolina