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Complaint and Investigation Process

**PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CAREFULLY PRIOR TO FILING YOUR COMPLAINT AND RETAIN THIS PAGE FOR FUTURE REFERENCE**

A. Introduction

The Ohio Optical Dispensers Board (Board) has the responsibility to enforce the laws and rules governing the practice of Opticianry and Ocularistry in the state of Ohio.  

The Board has the authority to:

  1. Deny an application for failure to demonstrate the requirements for licensure;
  2. Discipline an individual’s license to practice as a licensed Optician or Ocularist  in Ohio for failure to practice in accordance with the law and rules or the standards of safe practice regulating the practice of Opticianry and Ocularistry in Ohio; and,
  3. Investigate and discipline unlicensed individuals who illegally sell/dispense without a current, valid prescription for contact lenses, whether for correction or for cosmetic purposes. 

The Board does not have the authority to:

  1. Provide financial compensation to a complainant (the person or organization that files the complaint) or intervene in litigation in any court;
  2. Hold legal jurisdiction over any licensed health care professional, other than a licensed Optician or Ocularist, who is practicing within their legal scopes of practice.

B. How to File a Complaint

A Complaint may be filed through the e-License website at e-License Portal. Each section of the form must be completed. Anonymous complaints will be considered based on the completeness of the information provided. Inability to contact the person filing the complaint may hinder the Board’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation.

The Board will send an email acknowledging receipt of the complaint. It is important that a person who feels that they may have a complaint against an Optician or Ocularist, enter in everything from the time they feel they may have a complaint, to record details while still fresh. The notes should be dated; the names of everyone who has been contacted or dealt with are recorded as well as logging all phone conversations including who said what and at what time. This information should be part of the complaint filed with the Board.

C. Investigation Process

  1. The Board’s investigatory staff investigates all complaints received and will initially determine if the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the Board’s authority.  The Board will notify a complainant if the matter does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Board and will close the complaint.  If the complaint is within the jurisdiction of the Board, a member of the investigatory staff may ask for additional information, such as documentation, physical evidence, or clarification of the information already provided by the complainant.  Interviews are conducted with the complainant when deemed necessary.
  2. The Board routinely interviews the respondent (the licensee or applicant who is the subject of the complaint) and any other witnesses that may have information regarding the complaint.
  3. When a violation cannot be substantiated following an investigation, a case may be closed with no formal action.  Cases closed without formal action do not become a public record; therefore, information gathered during the course of the investigation cannot be released.  The investigatory information, however, will be kept in the respondent’s file and may be used in any additional complaints filed against that particular licensee.

D. Consent Agreement

  1. When an investigation indicates that a violation appears to have occurred and formal  action is required, the Board may seek to negotiate a Consent Agreement with the  licensee
  2. A Consent Agreement is an agreement between the Board and the licensee which usually contains the applicable pieces of law or rules that the licensee has violated, and any disciplinary action(s) agreed upon by the Board and the licensee.
  3. Consent Agreements are public records and may be published in any of the Board’s meeting minutes or other publications of the Board or professional organizations.

E. Notice of Opportunity for an Administrative Hearing

  1.  When a violation is believed to have occurred but no consent Agreement is offered or agreed upon by the respondent, the Board may file formal charges, which are presented to the licensee in a document titled “Notice of Opportunity for Hearing.”  If the Board approves such charges, the respondent may request a public administrative hearing within thirty (30) days of the mailing of the notice.
  2. If an administrative hearing is scheduled, the complainant is typically subpoenaed as a witness to provide testimony in the hearing.  In such a case, the Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Board assists and guides in the preparation of witness testimony and presentation of documentation.  The licensee also has the right to be represented by their own legal counsel and to call witnesses and present evidence and examine the complainant and/or any other witnesses testifying on behalf of the Board.  This may all be done before the full Board or before a Hearing Officer assigned by the Board to conduct the administrative hearing.

F. Board Actions

  1. The respondent is then notified of the Board’s decision with regards to disciplinary actions.  The licensee has the right to appeal the Board’s decision through the appropriate court of common pleas.
  2. Disciplinary actions resulting from administrative hearings are a public record and may be published in any of the Board’s meeting minutes or other publications of the Board or professional organizations.

G. Closure

  1. The individual(s) who filed the complaint will be notified, in writing, about the general outcome of his/her complaint.
  2. Depending upon the complexity of the complaint, the investigative process may take up to one year to complete, although this is not the case for all investigations.  The complainant’s patience is appreciated during this process.

H. Unlicensed Practice

The Board does not have jurisdiction over unlicensed persons practicing Opticianry or Ocularistry, and therefore cannot take disciplinary action against them.  However, after an investigation, an injunction or criminal prosecution to prohibit further unlicensed activity may be filed with the prosecuting attorney in the county where the violation occurred and/or any other appropriate authority, such as another state agency.

   
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