Board of Optometry Considers Implementing New Changes to Regulations Regarding Substance Abuse

On March 6, 2013, the Board of Optometry will be having a Board Meeting to discuss changes to California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 1575, regarding the Uniform Standards Related to Substance Abuse and Disciplinary Guidelines. The changes to be discussed were originally proposed in December 2011, in response to Senate Bill 1441. The Legislature had declared that substance abuse monitoring programs, particularly for health care professionals, must operate with the highest level of integrity and consistency. Patient protection is paramount and mandated that the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) develop consistent and uniform standards and best practices in sixteen specific areas for use in dealing with substance abusing licensees. The Board of Optometry committed itself to addresses those areas through adding twelve new standards:

  1. Clinical Diagnostic Evaluation (CDE)
  2. Removal from Practice pending CDE
  3. Communication with Licensee’s Employer
  4. Drug Testing
  5. Implement Procedures for Positive Tests
  6. Participation in Group Support Meetings and Therapy
  7. Determining whether further Treatment is Required
  8. Standardize Worksite Monitor Requirements
  9. Consequences for Major Violations
  10. Consequences for Minor Violations
  11. Flexibility in Probationary Terms and Conditions
  12. Petition to Return to Practice, Petition for Reinstatement

The attached chart shows estimated costs for probation and discipline caused by substance abuse. Probation and discipline costs vary depending on the type of violation committed and terms in the probationary order.