Licensed optometrists, opticians, and ocularists
and registered apprentices shall have codes of ethical practice as stated in
4725.66 of the Revised Code for all licensees and registrants.
(A) "Unprofessional conduct"
means any departure from or failure to conform to the minimal standards of
acceptable and prevailing practice and shall also include, but not be limited
to the provision of professional services which are detrimental to person(s)
being served. The obtaining of any fee by fraud or misrepresentation or filing
any claim forms without providing the service represented constitutes
"dishonesty and unprofessional conduct" as that phrase is used in
section 4725.19 of the Revised Code.
(B) "Dual relationship" means
when more than one role occurs between the licensee and person(s) being served
professionally. A dual relationship is prohibited when the relationship between
the licensee and person(s) being professionally served involves a sexual or
intimate relationship or other conduct that constitutes a conflict of
(C) "Patient" means a person
for whom the licensee has provided health care services, whether provided by
mutual consent or implied consent, or provided without consent pursuant to a
court order. Once a licensee-patient relationship is established, a person
remains a patient until the relationship is terminated. Patient includes any of
(1) A person who is
receiving or has received health care services from the licensee without
termination of the licensee-patient relationship; or
(2) A person who meets
the criteria of a key third party, as that term is defined in paragraph (D) of
(D) "Key third party" means an
individual closely involved in the patient's decision-making regarding
health care services, including but not limited to, the patient's spouse
or partner, parents, child, sibling, or guardian. For purposes of this chapter,
an individual's status as a key third party ceases upon the termination of
the licensee-patient relationship or upon termination of the individual's
relationship with the patient.
(E) "Chaperone" means a third
person who, with the patient's consent, is present during a medical
(F) "Former patient" means one
of the following:
(1) A person for whom the
licensee has not rendered health care services since the licensee-patient
relationship was terminated; or
(2) A person who has
otherwise been admitted, discharged, or referred to another licensee for care
subsequent to receipt of health care services by a licensee in an emergency
setting or on an episodic basis, and such action has been recorded in the
person's medical record or chart.
(G) "Sexual misconduct" means
conduct that exploits the licensee-patient relationship in a sexual way,
whether verbal or physical, committed without consent, by force, intimidation,
coercion or manipulation and may include the expression of thoughts, feelings,
or gestures that are sexual or that reasonably may be construed by a patient as
sexual. Sexual abuse or misconduct can be committed by a person of any gender,
and it can occur between people of the same or different genders. Sexual
misconduct includes sexual impropriety, sexual contact or sexual interaction as
impropriety" means conduct by the licensee that is seductive, sexually
suggestive, disrespectful of patient privacy, or sexually demeaning to a
patient, including but not limited to, the following:
(a) Making comments that are not clinically relevant about
or to the patient, including but not limited to, making sexual comments about a
patient's body or underclothing, making sexualized or sexually demeaning
comments to a patient, criticizing the patient's sexual orientation, or
making comments about potential sexual performance;
(b) Soliciting a date or romantic relationship with a
(c) Participation by the licensee in conversation regarding
the sexual problems, sexual preferences, or sexual fantasies of the licensee;
(d) Requesting details of the patient's sexual
history, sexual problems, sexual preferences, or sexual fantasies.
contact" includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) Touching a breast or any body part that has sexual
connotation for the licensee or patient, for any purpose; and
(b) Touching of the patient's genitals.
interaction" means conduct between a licensee and patient, whether or not
initiated by, consented to, or participated in by a patient, that is sexual or
may be reasonably interpreted as sexual, including but not limited to, the
(a) Sexual intercourse, genital to genital
(b) Kissing in a romantic or sexual manner;
(c) Offering to provide health care services, such as
drugs, in exchange for sexual favors.
(H) "Board" means the state
vision professionals board.
(I) "Conduct" includes, but is
not limited to the following:
(1) Behaviors, gestures,
or expressions, whether verbal or physical that is committed without consent,
by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation; or
(2) The creation,
receipt, exchange, saving, or sending of images or communications, whether
verbal or written, via a telecommunications device; or
(3) The exploitation of a
client means to take unfair advantage of a person(s) being professionally
served; or the violating of client confidentiality with a failure to protect
and keep confidential any personal health information without the authorization
or consent of person(s) professionally served or where prohibited by law;
(4) The conflict of
interest means personal, financial, or other considerations influenced or
compromised professional judgment and objectivity to person(s) professionally
(5) The informed consent
means authorization by persons served, research participants engaged, or
parents and/or guardians of persons served to a proposed course of action after
the communication of adequate information regarding expected outcomes and
potential risks. Informed consent may be verbal unless written consent is
(6) To protect the public
confidence, public behavior shall reflect a high level of moral and ethical
(7) When making public
statements, licensees shall:
(a) Provide information about professional services and
products that do not contain misrepresentations or claims that are false,
deceptive, or misleading;
(b) Provide accurate information about the nature and
management of communicative disorders, the professions, and services rendered
to persons served, supervised professionally or participants in research;
(c) Announce services in a manner consonant with the
highest professional standards.
(8) Licensees shall subscribe to these
principles and the code of ethics adopted by the board and agree to abide by
the rules of the board and Chapter 4725. of the Revised Code.
(9) Licensees shall report to the board
any violation of the board rules or any breach of the code of ethics that a
licensee becomes aware.
(10) Licensees who have knowledge that a
colleague is unable to provide professional services with reasonable skill and
safety shall report the information to the appropriate authority, internally if
a mechanism exists and, otherwise, externally.
(11) Licensees shall notify the board in
writing of a conviction; been found guilty; or entered a plea of guilty or nolo
contendere to any felony or misdemeanor convictions, other than minor traffic
violations, including the case number and the court, within thirty days from
the date of the conviction, plea, or finding of guilt.
(12) Individuals who have been publicly
sanctioned or denied a license or a professional credential by any professional
association, professional licensing authority or board, or other professional
regulatory body shall self-report by notifying the board in writing of the
final action or disposition and shall provide a copy of the final action,
sanction or disposition within thirty days.
(J) Fundamental rules considered
essential. Violation of the code of ethics shall be considered unprofessional
(1) Licensees shall
maintain professional behavior.
(a) Licensees shall not engage in dishonesty, fraud,
deceit, misrepresentation, or other illegal conduct that adversely reflects on
the profession or the individual.
(b) Individuals shall work collaboratively, when
appropriate, with members of one's own profession and/or members of other
professions to deliver the highest quality of care.
(c) Licensees shall maintain a professional relationship
with the board.
(i) Licensees shall
conduct the practice according to Chapter 4725. of the Revised Code and agency
4725 of the Administrative Code.
(ii) Licensees shall
cooperate with all lawful requests of the board within thirty calendar
(iii) The denial or
revocation of licensure in another state, or from another board in this state,
may result in denial or revocation of licensure by the board.
(2) Licensees shall
maintain records and keep confidentiality of person(s) served,
(a) Maintaining adequate and timely records of professional
(b) Providing appropriate access to records of person(s)
(c) Not disclosing to unauthorized persons any confidential
information obtained from any person(s) served, supervised professionally, or
participants in research without the written consent of person(s) served or
his/her legal guardian unless required by law.
(d) Being compliant with all state and federal laws and
regulations relating to records keeping, records access and patient
(3) Licensees shall
exhibit professional behavior in the delivery of services by:
(a) Accurately representing his/her education, training,
credentials and competence.
(b) Providing only services for which licensee is properly
(c) Continuing professional development to enhance licensee
professional competence and expertise throughout licensees
(d) Providing reasonable notice and information about
alternatives for obtaining care in the event that the licensee can no longer
provide professional services.
(e) Accepting for treatment, persons:
(i) Who can reasonably be
expected to benefit from services and continue with treatment when there is
reasonable expectation of further benefit.
(ii) Following the
exercise of independent professional and evidence-based judgment, regardless of
referral source or prescription, and keeping paramount the best interests of
patient being served.
(f) Ensuring that all equipment used in the provision of
services or conduct of research is in proper working order and is properly
(g) A guarantee of services of any sort, express or
implied, oral or written, is contrary to professional ethics.
(h) Using every resource available, including referrals to
other specialists as needed, to effect maximum improvement in person(s) served.
(i) Identify competent,
dependable referral sources for person(s) served professionally;
(ii) Be compliant with
all state and federal laws and regulations governing the scope of practice of
optometry, opticianry and ocularistry and the dispensing and selling of
(iii) Make use of
equipment, technology and instrumentation consistent with accepted professional
guidelines in their areas of practice.
(4) Licensees supervising
apprentices shall prohibit anyone under licensee supervision from engaging in
any practice that violates Chapter 4725. of the Revised Code or agency 4725 of
the Administrative Code including the code of ethics.
(a) Supervisors shall:
(i) Provide direct and
indirect supervision; and
(ii) Maintain adequate
records of direct and indirect supervision rendered.
(b) Licensees shall:
(i) Not delegate any
service requiring the professional competence of a licensed optician to anyone
(ii) Ensure opticians do
not represent to the public as an optometrist and apprentices do not represent
to the public as an optician.
(5) Business practices
shall be compliant with regional, state and federal laws.
(a) Licensees shall:
(i) Charge fees
commensurate with services rendered;
(ii) Not charge for
services not rendered;
(iii) Abide by federal,
state and regional laws regarding billing for services and products rendered;
(iv) Not enter into
relationships, which pose a conflict of interest and shall not engage in
commercial or professional activities that conflict with the licensees'
responsibilities to the person served.
(b) Licensees who present or participate at meetings and/or
consultants who provide instruction shall disclose to participants potential
conflicts of interest.
(c) Licensees shall be compliant with state and federal
laws and regulations regarding business practices, sales practices, including
safe harbor and antitrust laws.
(d) Licensees owning stock or having financial interests in
a company whose products the licensee sells, dispenses or recommends shall
disclose to person(s) served the relationship and financial or consultative