Minutes of the

North Carolina State Board of Optometry

November 8 – 11, 2007

Grove Park Inn

Asheville, North Carolina

 

 

 

 

The North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry met at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina on November 8 – 11, 2007 to conduct its regularly scheduled Fall meeting, to monitor the Educational Program at the Fall Educational Congress of the North Carolina State Optometric Society, and for other purposes.  Present were, Drs. David Anderson, President, William Hendrix, Secretary/Treasurer, Joel Banks, William Rafferty and Mr. Roger Mitchell and Ms. Mary Richardson, Members of the Board.  Also present was Dr. John Robinson, the Executive Director.  Mr. Byron Nelson, a political consultant from Winston Salem was present during the entire meeting representing the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  Present at the time certain of 10 A.M. via conference telephone was Mr. Johnny Loper, the Board’s attorney.

 

The President called the meeting to order at 8:40 A.M. following which he offered an opening prayer.

 

Approval of Minutes.  On a motion by Mr. Mitchell and seconded by Dr. Rafferty the minutes of the meeting of the September 7 - 8, 2007 were unanimously approved.

 

Report of the President   Dr. Anderson’s report was to a great extent confined to events of the last meeting, including the issue of the Board’s collecting and use of licensee’s social security numbers.  The issue was raised by one of the  insurance organizations.   Dr. Anderson pointed out that in a letter sent to the individual raising the issue and requesting certain actions be taken by the Board that it was the consensus of the Board that this was  a matter that more likely should be addressed by the North Carolina Department of Insurance, the North Carolina Attorney General and/or the Agency charged with enforcement of the Federal HIPPA Rules and Regulations that address issues of patient privacy.  A copy of that letter is attached to the minutes of the September meeting and states the Boards position at the time of its September meeting.  However, it was pointed out that at the time of the meeting and the writing of the letter the matter had  not been reviewed by the Board’s attorney who was on sabbatical until sometime in late November or early December.  It was pointed out that should the attorney hold a different view upon reviewing the Board’s response there would be further discussion by  the Board, and the results of those discussions would be forwarded to the individual making the inquiry.. 

 

He then spent time describing what he believed to be the most important work before the Board at this time, the potential revamping of the system and the manner in which the case scenarios are constructed with the goal of uniformity of presentation of the cases and the building of a data base of case scenarios for use by clinical examiners in the future.  Dr. Rafferty as the Chairman of the Committee has put in a considerable amount of time and effort to this point and time.  The Members of the Board are encouraged to listen carefully to what he has to say in his report and to feel free to add their suggestions as to how best to improve on the updating of our examinations.  At the end of the President’s report a motion was made by Dr. Clark seconded by Dr. Banks and carried unanimously that the report of the President be accepted.

 

Report of the Secretary/Treasurer.  Dr. Hendrix called everyone’s attention to the Budget Report covering the period July 1, 2007 through November 5, 2007, copies of which were in the meeting notebook.  The most significant change noted since the report was given in September was reflected in the income from license renewal fees that have arrived in significant numbers given the fact that the renewal notices were sent out only a few days prior to the printing of this report.  Following a brief discussion and the answering of questions by the Executive Director, Ms. Richardson moved and Mr. Mitchell seconded a motion that the report of the Secretary/Treasurer be accepted.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Report of the Executive Director.    The 2008 license renewals did go out in accordance with the deadline agreed to by the Board and it’s Software and Data Manager, Mr. John Dixon.  As  expected the telephone began to ring with licensee’s inquiring about their continuing education hours.  The greatest source of problems concerning ‘missing credits’ was the lack of the reporting  by the Southern Council of continuing education hours taken at SECO directly to this Board as has been the case over the last number of years.  Instead the hours were reported to ARBO’s OE Tracker, a system that is not currently prepared to forward a licensee’s continuing education course information to the State Board(s) in the jurisdiction(s) that they are licensed.  This Board’s policy has always been that for those persons holding a North Carolina license, the Continuing Education Data Base maintained by the North Carolina Board of Optometry is the primary repository (therefore the only source that responsible for and authorized to verify the meeting of the continuing education requirements of its licensees)  of continuing education credits for a North Carolina licensed optometrist.  This is to say that for all of its licensees continuing education courses that have been approved and the licensee’s attendance verified, appropriate credit is (or will be upon proper documentation) entered and appended to the continuing education record for that licensee in the Board’s data systems.

 

The OE Tracker (one of, ARBO’s main  programs), while a good idea and a program that  is an attempt to solve the data management of continuing education credits for a large segment of the optometric community, does create problems for North Carolina. Given that this Board has a computer based data system that has an electronic archive of the records of continuing education taken by each of its licensees going back some 25 years and the fact that we are the only state that has maintained such records it behooves us to insist that the primary record keeper of continuing education records remain the responsibility and prerogative of the North Carolina State Board of Optometry.  I do not believe we will have a problem working with ARBO’s OE Tracker system provided that compatible software and agreed upon course classification of courses can be worked out.  Should this happen then continuing education vendors like the Southern Council can ‘dump’ data of attendance to ARBO’s OE Tracker who can then ‘dump’ the data of the North Carolina licensees to our system.  I have spoken with Dr. Jack Terry, the Executive Director of the NBEO who has oversight of the OE Tracker system’s software,  is willing to help us achieve these goals.  The person who writes the software for both the NBEO and ARBO is located in the Charlotte offices of the NBEO.  Another resource is Dr. William Rafferty who is now the Vice-President of ARBO who. as part of his responsibilities, is charged with the oversight of the COPE and OE Tracker committees.  With Mr. John Dixon putting the ‘finishing’ touches on our new Windows data management system we should be able to move toward accomplishing uniformity of classification of courses and the transfer of data.  In your note books is a listing of the various headings under which the classification of continuing education courses is made by our Board and one used by ARBO’s OE Tracker.  They are not that different and can easily be merged, in my opinion, to the satisfaction of both groups without sacrificing any of the essentials upon which the classifications of courses are now based.  It goes without saying that issues dealing with courses being accepted as  “Certified” vs “General” credit remains with our Board and is not subject to the category under which any given course might be classified.

 

In further conversation with Dr. Terry we spoke of working on a project that has been on the back burner for quite some time, a “Graduate Curriculum” for licensed optometrists.  The subject is too complicated to go into detail at the present time, but we must all be aware that in the future there will be increasing pressure on all of the licensed health care professions to assure ‘continuing competency’ of their practitioners.  By matching continuing education courses to a graduate curriculum we begin the march of our licensees down the path towards ‘proof’ of continuing competency.

 

Mr. John Dixon’s report about his work and the completion of the software for the new windows based licensing system is in your notebook.  I will attempt to answer any questions you might have, and if I have a problem in doing so Mr. Dixon is available by telephone.

 

Dr. Clark will present the findings and recommendations of the Examination Review Committee later in this meeting; however,  I would like to point out a problem that came to the office’s attention following the last examination.  While I feel certain that it might have been a problem for some candidates in the past this is the first time that it has been brought to our attention.  While the candidates are told at the time they check in at the examination site that in the event they are not successful in passing the examination they do have they right to request a review of their results.  Further, that such review would take place in the Board’s office in Wallace.  What we don’t tell them is exactly when such a review will take place and the time frame within which they must notify the Board either in writing or via e-mail that they wish to review the results.   In consideration of this problem and in an attempt to avoid such events in the future,  it is my recommendation that we do the following:  first, in the letter that is sent to the candidates assigning them a candidate number and a time to appear that we include the information telling them that they have the right to review the results of their examination in the event they are not successful in passing; and second, the deadline they must meet in making their request to review and the time and date that the review will be held.  This will require the President assigning the Board Member who will do the review by the time the letters go out to the candidate assigning their candidate number and the date the review will take place.  This policy will require that the Board Member doing the review and the Executive Director agree upon the review date prior to the time the latter goes out which in the case of the Winter 2008 examination will be in mid-December, the day after the filing deadline..  A rough estimate at this time is that the deadline for requesting the review be no less than 21 days following the posting and mailing of the results, and that the date of the review be no less than 21 days following that deadline.  This gives a total of six weeks to accomplish the process and  allows the Committee to report to the Board at the time of its Spring meeting at the Spring Congress of the State Society in late May or early June 2008.

 

Finally,  I have the new licensing system on my lap top which I can connect via the hotel’s system to the internet thence to the Board’s servers in Wallace.  When we take a break or at the end of the meeting I can show it to you.  Mr. Dixon will be available by telephone as I try to walk you through the system.  Mr. Dixon has continued to work the last week despite the fact that he has a rather sever viral bronchitis that is not responding to treatment.  He has ‘quarantined’ himself at his own office rather than risk spreading the condition.  Sara was particularly concerned because of her small children.

 

On a motion by Mr. Mitchell that was seconded by Ms. Richardson and carried unanimously, the report of the Executive Director was accepted.

 

On a motion by Dr. Rafferty that was seconded by Dr. Clark and carried unanimously the Executive Director and his Staff including Mr. Dixon were authorized to work with ARBO’s software writer and the ARBO Committee to resolve issues of classifying continuing education courses between the two systems.  Further, that the Board cooperate in the writing of the software necessary to allow the prompt downloading from ARBO’s OE Tracker  to the North Carolina Board’s data base continuing education course information and attendance records for those optometrists holding a valid North Carolina optometry license once received by said OE Tracker from the various vendors of continuing education using their system.

 

NOTE.  It is the intent of the motion above that in the future there will be no undue delay in the receipt by the Board of CE course and attendance data for North Carolina licensed optometrist reaching the Board’s data system when large vendors such as the Southern Council choose to use the OE Tracker system rather than report such records directly to those State Boards requesting such records as they have done in the past.. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Regional Association of Regulatory Boards in Optometry (ARBO) held during the SECO International Educational Congress and the Annual FARB Forum are traditionally held during the month of February.  The 2008 FARB Forum is to be held in Santa Fey, NM February  ??, 2008 .    SECO and the Regional Meeting of the Association of Regulatory Board’s in Optometry are scheduled to be held in Atlanta February 27- March 2, 2008 and are traditionally attended by the Executive Director and one or more of the Professional Members of the Board.  It is not clear at this time as to which, if any, Member of the Board has an interest in attending either the FARB meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico or the Regional ARBO / SECO meetings in Atlanta in 2008.  Dr. Rafferty, a Member of the Board of Directors of ARBO, who will attend the SECO meeting as a representative of ARBO with his expenses paid by that organization.   Dr. Clark was the only Board Member indicating he has current plans to attend the Southern Council meeting.  Dr. Rafferty indicated an interest in attending the FARB meeting but did not have definite plans at this time.  Attendance by the Executive Director at either meeting is dependent upon a number of factors including, but not limited to, the work now in progress on the Board’s data systems, verifying the participation of ten Clinical Examiners to prepare the cases they are committing to present at the Winter 2008 examinations and the number of candidates taking the examination.   Following a brief discussion it was left to the President to approve attendance at one or both of these meetings by those persons indicating their desire to attend.  Such intentions to register for either of the meetings must be made known to the Board office by no later than January 1, 2008 stating they have plans to attend..  Reimbursement for attendance at either meeting will be for a maximum of five per-diems plus the appropriate registration fee, travel, up to four hotel nights and up to five days meal expenses.  

 

 

Time  Certain Meeting with Mr. Loper. At precisely the hour of 10:00 A.M. a motion was made by Mr. Mitchell and seconded by Ms. Richardson to go into closed session  in accordance with the provisions of NCGS 143-318.11(a)(3) to receive information  from the Board’s attorney Mr. Loper regarding current litigation. The motion carried unanimously.

 

In closed session, the Board received a report from Mr. Loper regarding disciplinary hearings noticed for Dr. James Black and Dr. Scott Edwards. Mr. Loper’s discussion was related to the likely timing of the hearings, whether Dr.  Black will be represented by counsel, and if  not,  how  Dr. Black’s hearing would proceed if he does not  obtain  new counsel, how to obtain Dr. black’s presence at the hearing  and other issues not relating to issues of fact or questions of law to be decided by the Board  in such hearings.

 

After his answering various questions from the Board Members (none of which related to the substance of the matters to be decided by  the Board),  on a motion by Ms. Richardson, seconded by Dr. Clark and carried unanimously the Board voted to return to open session.  No motions were made and no votes taken while the Board was in this closed session.

 

Time Certain Meeting with Mr. Wilson. Before taking a short break and placing a call to Mr. Jim Wilson for the purpose of a closed meeting using a conference telephone hook up which was the next item on the agenda, Dr. Anderson asked if there were any questions from any Members of the Board for Mr. Wilson.  When it was determined that there were none he recessed the meeting to call Mr. Wilson to tell him that the ‘time certain’ meeting with him as published on the agenda would not be necessary.

 

Scenario Construction Committee Update.  Dr. Rafferty reported on several sessions he had had with a number of the clinical examiners in the Charlotte area going over the final draft of the ‘matrix’ that clinical examiners will be expected to use in the future in preparing their cases.  A number of scenarios prepared by some of these examiners were distributed to the Board Members for their edification and comment.  It is envisioned that by the time the cases are ready to go out in early January 2008 the Board office staff with the help of Mr. Dixon will be able to prepare ‘master discs’ which will be sent along with the cases that are drawn for each examiner to the examiner to be prepared and a copy of the disc returned to the Board office.  At the time of the examination for those examiners who are able to prepare their cases in this fashion the examiner will have both printed copies and their discs to use in presenting the case scenarios to the candidates.  While this may seem to be a crude beginning, it is at least a beginning upon on which we hope to build.  Following discussion and the answering of questions by both Dr. Rafferty and the Executive Director, on a motion by Dr. Banks that was seconded by Dr. Clark, the report of the Chairman of the Scenario Construction Committee was unanimously accepted.

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Report of the Examination Review Committee.   Dr. Clark reported on behalf of the Examination Review Committee.  He met in the Board office with six candidates who had failed the Summer 2007 Clinical/Practicum Examinations.   The scoring of the examinations including the notes made by the clinical examiners was reviewed with each candidate.  After going over the scoring and the notes of the clinical examiners with each of the candidates no evidence was discovered that would support changes in any of the scores , and therefore it was recommended that the results of the examinations stand as reported.  On a motion by Dr. Hendrix seconded by Ms. Richardson and carried unanimously the Board accepted the report of the Committee and determined that the examination results as reported to the candidates would stand. 

 

Winter 2008 Clinical/Practicum Examinations.   Based upon the number of applications received and the number that are in the hands of potential registrants when I left for this meeting the number of applicants taking the Winter 2008 examinations appears to be no more than thirty which would require a maximum of  six sessions over a period of two days.  It is recommended that the Board and Clinical Examiners arrive in Raleigh on Friday afternoon; however, with the deadline for filing nearly a month away that number could be exceeded.  Therefore, in planning for the meeting the Board Members and the Clinical Examiners should recognize the possibility of the examinations requiring one or possibly two sessions on Monday, February 18, 2008.  Until we have information otherwise the Board office is looking at a schedule that will accommodate up to thirty candidates with the Board Members and Clinical Examiners arriving at the McKimmon Center no later than 3 P.M. on Friday,  February 15 with departures late Sunday afternoon, February 17, 2008. Should the number of  applicants exceed thirty the Board Members and Clinical Examiners will be notified immediately following the filing deadline that it will be necessary to remain in Raleigh until sometime on Monday to accommodate the number of applicants that exceed our estimate of thirty. For each 5 applicants or multiples thereof another session is required.  Even thirty one applicants would require us to hold one session on Monday..

 

On a motion by Dr. Banks, seconded by Dr. Anderson and carried unanimously the following were approved as Clinical Examiners for the Winter 2008 Examinations: Drs. Thomas Bull, Kenneth Bumgarner, Ania Hamp (upon notification of being physically able to participate by December 12, 2007 – if she is unable to come then Dr. Stacy Bryant will be asked), David King,  Don MacQueen, Magda Metwalli, John Miller, Sandra Moore, Bret Munn,  and Robert Rosenstein; and to approve as backups,  Drs. Eric Oberdorf, Yvonne Shook, Robert Sullivan and Kevin Bell.

 

The President made the decision that the Board and Clinical Examiners are to be at the McKimmon Center on Friday, February 15th no latter than 3 o’clock P.M. to review scoring and to set up the examination stations.  The examinations will begin at 7 A.M. on Saturday, February 16 and conclude on Sunday, February 17, 2008 if the number of applicants does not exceed thirty..

 

The President asked Board Members wishing to recommend individuals to come as an observer at the winter 2008 Examinations to submit the name(s) to the Board office no later than January 12, 2008 if they are to be considered for “observer” status.  Upon approval invitations to attend the winter 2008 examinations as an observer will be extended depending upon time and space availability.

 

 

There being no further business, on a motion by Dr. Hendrix, seconded by Dr. Clark and carried unanimously, the meeting was recessed at 12:30 P.M. on November 8, 2007.  A group luncheon was scheduled in the Blue Ridge Dinning Room following which those Members who wish to do so could return to the meeting room to watch a demonstration of the windows based licensing system.   The remainder of the time in Asheville was devoted to monitoring the continuing education programs of the North Carolina State Optometric Society and to participate in the orientation program sponsored by the Society for the new licensees.

 

The next meeting of the Board for the purpose of conducting the Winter 2008 Clinical/Practicum  Examinations will a be at the Jane McKimmon Center in Raleigh, NC beginning at 3:00 P.M. on Friday, February 15, 2008.  Adjournment will depend on the number of applicants but will be no later than 6:30 P.M. on Monday, February 18, 2008.

 

 

                                                                                    Approved 02/14/08

                                                                                                                Raleigh, North Carolina