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RULE §277.13Complaints Resulting From Glaucoma Treatment - Investigation Process

(a) Each jurisdictional complaint received by the Board related to a therapeutic optometrist's treatment of a patient for glaucoma or a jurisdictional complaint that includes allegations involving failure to refer glaucoma treatment to an ophthalmologist pursuant to §351.3581(d) of the Optometry Act, shall be subject to a two-step investigation process as set forth more thoroughly in this Rule. A complaint is jurisdictional if it alleges conduct by a licensee that, if true, would constitute a violation of the Optometry Act or Board rules.

(b) Each jurisdictional complaint shall be subjected to an Initial Investigation, which may then result in an Official Investigation overseen by the Expert Panel, as contemplated in §277.14 of this title (relating to Complaints Resulting From Glaucoma Treatment-Use of Case Review Consultant and Expert Panel).

(c) Upon receipt of a complaint regarding glaucoma treatment, for which the Board has jurisdiction, such complaint shall undergo an Initial Investigation by the Board, including an initial review by a qualified physician licensed in this state who specializes in ophthalmology selected by the Board from a list of ophthalmologists approved by the Texas Medical Board (such qualified licensed physician being hereinafter referred to as the "Case Review Consultant"). Each jurisdictional complaint referred to the Case Review Consultant shall be provided to the Texas Medical Board. The Case Review Consultant shall have access to the initial investigation materials.

(d) The Initial Investigation shall at least include the following:

  (1) Any and all information received from the complainant;

  (2) Any and all medical records related to the complaint;

  (3) Any and all communication or response to the complaint from the Respondent; and

  (4) The Case Review Consultant's written report that determines whether the treatment of the patient for glaucoma violated the standard of care applicable to a physician specializing in ophthalmology.

(e) If, at the conclusion of the Initial Investigation, the Case Review Consultant determines that the standard of care was violated, the Board shall commence the Official Investigation procedure contemplated in §277.14 of this title.

(f) If, at the conclusion of the Initial Investigation, the Case Review Consultant did not determine that the Respondent violated the standard of care related to the treatment of glaucoma, the matter shall be referred to the Board for further investigation not related to the treatment of glaucoma or referred to the Board for dismissal. The Texas Medical Board shall be advised of the disposition of the complaints.

(g) In all events, if the Case Review Consultant determines that a complaint regarding glaucoma treatment suggests that the continued practice by a licensee or the continued performance by a licensee of a procedure for which the person holds a glaucoma certification would constitute a clear, imminent, or continuing threat to a patient's health or well-being, the Board shall appoint a three-member disciplinary panel consisting of board members to determine whether the license issued should be temporarily suspended or restricted pursuant to §351.5015 of the Texas Optometry Act.

(h) Board staff shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that any information shared with the Case Review Consultant and/or Expert Panel contemplated in this section and §277.14 of this title hereof shall be redacted and de-identified so as to maintain anonymity of the licensee who is the subject of the complaint.

Source Note: The provisions of this §277.13 adopted to be effective May 31, 2022, 47 TexReg 3139

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