Minutes of the

North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry                                                        

April 24, 2018                                                                                

Video Conference Meeting                                                                                      


The North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry met by video conference on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. The purpose of the meeting was to conduct business of the Board as outlined in the Agenda. Board members participating in the call were Dr. H. Mike Johnson, President, Dr. Andy Cook, Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Scott Philippe, Dr. Jerry Ellington, Dr. Michael Haines, Mr. James Raynor and Ms. Susan Watson.  Also present were. Dr. William Rafferty, Executive Director, Janice Peterson, Executive Administrator, Samantha Hardison, Administrative Coordinator and Johnny Loper, Board Counsel .


The meeting was called to order at 7:07 p.m. by Dr. Johnson, President of the Board, after which he read the “ETHICS AWARENESS & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST REMINDER” as required by the North Carolina State Ethics Commission. A copy of the”Reminder” was posted to the agenda so each member could review.

Agenda.  Dr. Ellington made a motion to adopt the agenda. It was duly seconded by Dr. Philippe and passed unanimously.

Approval of Minutes.  On a motion by Dr. Cook and seconded by Dr. Philippe, the minutes of the February 20, 2018 Video Conference Meeting were unanimously approved.


Report of the President.  Dr. Johnson reviewed the Agenda and stated that he would be offering comments on several of the agenda items as the meeting progressed.  On a motion by Dr. Cook and seconded by Dr. Ellington,  the remarks of the President were unanimously accepted.

Report of the Secretary-Treasurer.  Dr. Cook, Secretary/Treasurer, had made a detailed report ten days prior at the Board Meeting in Raleigh and stated there was nothing substantive to add to that report at this time. Dr. Cook is currently reviewing the 2018-2019 Budget which will be presented at the June annual meeting. He will attempt to distribute to the Board for review around mid-May. He said he would comment on any financial issues if appropriate as the meeting progressed. On a motion by Dr. Ellington and seconded by Ms. Watson, the remarks of the Secretary-Treasurer were unanimously accepted.

Report of the Investment Committee. Ms. Peterson mentioned she received the Fidelity Application and would provide copied to all members of the Investment Committee. Mr. Raynor indicated he would initiate the Application and ask for assistance from Drs. Cook and Rafferty as needed. The transfer of investment funds to Fidelity Investments should be completed by the end of this fiscal year.

Report of the Executive Director.  Dr. Rafferty mentioned the Federation of Medical Boards (FSMB) Annual Meeting started this Thursday, April 26, 2018. The first day of the Meeting was open to the public regulatory community by Webcast and was also being recorded. Dr. Rafferty will send a link to all Board Members and staff to register if they are interested in viewing. Dr. Rafferty also mentioned that the NC Occupational Licensing Board’s (NC OLB) Joint Meeting is scheduled for May 17, 2018 in Raleigh and that he and Mr. Loper will be attending again this year and will report back to the Board relevant information from the Meeting. Dr. Rafferty mentioned an upcoming agenda item dealing with “supervision” that would be part of his report. On a motion by Dr. Ellington and seconded by Dr. Philippe, the remarks of the Executive Director were unanimously accepted and approval for Dr. Rafferty to attend the NC OLB’s Meeting.


Report of Board’s Counsel. On a motion by Dr. Cook,  seconded by Dr. Haines and carried unanimously, the Board went into executive or closed session and was made for the purpose of consulting with the Board attorney regarding matters under investigation, pursuant to GS 143-318.11 (1) and (3) and GS 90-121.5.


After going into executive session, Mr. Loper briefed the Board on the number of current ongoing investigations without providing detail as to the identify of licensees or the issues involved.  He identified one matter in which the Investigative Committee had determined to take no further action at this time regarding an OD who had reported a significant malpractice settlement since that OD does not practice in this state, but the Committee flagged the file in the event that OD seeks to practice here at some point in the future.  Mr. Loper provided additional detail as to the status of the investigation as to one licensee who has received multiple private letters of concern as result of going through bankruptcy and emerging with his practice intact, and the measures the Investigation Committee intends to take to resolve that matter and bring it to a close.  In addition, Mr. Loper sought the Board’s direction with regard to next steps in the matter of Susan Burden, MD, and her indication to a General Assembly committee that an OD had contributed to the death of a patient via failure to diagnose a malignancy and the Board’s subsequent and unavailing efforts to have Dr. Burden supply the Board with the name of the OD involved if the OD is licensed by the Board, or if not, to confirm to the Board that the OD involved is not licensed in this state.  Dr. Rafferty described his efforts to gain this same information via direct inquiry to the licensing agents in the 50 states, but none of the ____ state agencies contacted so far recognize this fact pattern.  Accordingly, Mr.Loper outlined the legal alternatives available to the Board at this time, and responded to questions for information and clarification from the Board.


On a motion by Dr. Ellington, seconded by Dr. Cook,  and carried unanimously, the Board returned to open session.

Upon returning to open session a motion was made by Dr. Ellington, and seconded by Dr. Philippe to instruct Mr.Loper to proceed to issue another subpoena to Dr. Burden for records and testimony.  The motion passed unanimously with one abstention from Dr. Haines.

Report of the Committee on Candidate Exam Review.  Drs. Philippe and Rafferty met on April 17, 2018 in Charlotte, NC and reviewed performance and scores with three unsuccessful candidates. The purpose of the meeting is to help the candidates understand their weaknesses in hopes that they can improve their performance on a future examination.

Additionally, Dr. Denton (Member of the Military Review Committee) and Dr. Rafferty, met by conference call and reviewed with one military candidate their failure to demonstrate competence to practice Optometry in NC on their oral interview. The purpose was the same as above.

Association of Regulatory Boards in Optometry (ARBO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) Annual Meetings.  The ARBO and AOA Meetings are held back to back and will be in Denver, CO, (ARBO, June 16-20 and AOA June 20-24). On a motion by Dr. Cook and seconded Dr. Philippe, the Board voted unanimously to approve up to two Board members to attend the ARBO Annual Meeting including registration fees, honorariums, travel, hotel, and subsistence and for Dr. Rafferty to attend the AOA Annual Meeting and House of Delegates including registration fees, travel, hotel and subsistence. (Dr. Rafferty will also attend the ARBO Annual Meeting as a member of the ARBO Board of Directors.)

The Annual Meeting and Next Regularly Scheduled Meeting of the Board.  The Annual Meeting and next meeting of the Board will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel located at the Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach, S.C. June 6 through June 10, 2018.  Arrivals will be on Wednesday afternoon, June 6th with the meetings starting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 7, 2018 and ending no later than 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 10th.  On a motion by Dr. Ellington, seconded by Mr. Raynor, the Board unanimously approved reimbursement for this meeting for travel, 4 hotel nights and 5 day subsistence for the Members of the Board and attending Board Staff; further, that the Board Members be entitled up to 5 days per diem for their attendance.


There being no further business, at 9:28 p.m.  Dr. Cook made a motion to Adjourn. The motion was seconded by Dr. Haines and passed unanimously by the Board.

APPROVED 6/7/2018