NEW BOARD POLICY GOING INTO EFFECT IMMEDIATELY Board Policy on Compliance With GS 90-121.6
TO: All Licensed North Carolina Optometrists
FROM: William B. Rafferty, O.D., Executive Director, North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry
SUBJECT: POLICY GOING INTO EFFECT IMMEDIATELY:
Board Policy on Compliance With GS 90-121.6
It is important that you read and understand your reporting responsibility associated with the Policy which is available on the Board’s website here.
In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly passed GS 90-121.6 entitled “Reporting and publication of judgments, awards, payments, and settlements.” (A copy may be found at this link) Simply put, this law requires optometrists to report two types of events to the Board:
1. Any malpractice judgment or award, no matter when such judgment or award occurred or the size of the judgment or award, and
2. Any settlement payment of $75,000 or more, or any series of payments totaling $75,000 or more occurring after May 1, 2008, relating to the same incident of alleged malpractice.
The law specifies the information that such report must contain and further requires the Board to publish such information on the Board website for seven years. See subsection (c) of the law for other important information about such publication.
The law, however, does not specify how or when such reports must be made to the Board. In some cases, the Board has received the required information—or portions of such information—years after the judgment or settlement at issue. Because the information contained in such reports will be important to North Carolina consumers making decisions about their eye care and visual health, the Board believes that it is important for such information to be reported promptly to the Board so that it can promptly be made available to the public.
Accordingly, the Board has adopted the attached Policy on Compliance With GS 90-121.6 to inform licensees how and when the information required by GS 90-121.6 must be provided to the Board. Please review the Policy and become familiar with its requirements, including the possible consequences of non-compliance.
Hopefully you will never have occasion to file a report under the Policy. However, should you find yourself subject to GS 90-121.6 and the Policy, you should consult with your attorney about how and when to respond, and you may contact me if you have any additional questions.
William B. Rafferty, O.D.
North Carolina State Board of Optometry
109 N. Graham St.
Wallace, NC 28466
(910) 285-3160 or (800) 426-4457
Fax: (910) 285-4546