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Explanation of the 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. Complaint Form

  1. A complaint form may be obtained under a section of the Board’s web site (www.optical.ohio.gov/forms/ComplaintForm.pdf ).
     
  2. After receipt of a signed/dated formal complaint, including a written narrative, an  acknowledgement letter will be mailed to the complainant. It is important that a person  who feels that they may have a complaint against an Optician or Ocularist write down  everything from the time they feel they may have a complaint to record details while still  fresh.  Be sure that all notes are dated; the names of everyone that 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.

  3. All information gathered in the course of an investigation is confidential and not  subject to disclosure, including the name of the individual filing the complaint.

C. Investigation Process

  1. The Board’s investigatory staff investigates all complaints received, assigns a case  number to the complaint, 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. 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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