The Opticians of Manitoba (OOM) as a regulator is accountable to the public. The OOM take seriously all concerns and complaints that are brought forward. Anyone including patients, family members, other opticians, colleagues and employers can contact the OOM if they wish to raise an issue about an optician’s conduct or practice.
One way the OOM protects the public is by investigating complaints about the practise of its’ registrants. This occurs through the Complaints Resolution Committee (CRC)
Sometimes the CRC finds reasonable and probable grounds to suggest professional misconduct. In these cases the CRC may refer allegations to an Inquiry Committee for a hearing.
This is a critical aspect of self-regulation and maintaining the public trust. If a hearing results in a finding of guilt, the Inquiry Committee can order a range of penalties including:
- a reprimand
- restrictions on the registrant’s license, called terms, conditions or limitations (TLC)
- suspending or revoking a members license
- reimbursing the OOM for monies provided to patients for counselling if needed and the OOM’S legal, investigation and hearing costs and expenses
Both the registrant and the OOM have the right to appeal a decision of the Inquiry Committee.
Complaint & Report Outcomes
One of the functions of the Opticians of Manitoba in fulfilling its mandate of protecting the public interest is to receive, investigate and act upon complaints and reports made against its registrants. The formal process for investigation of a complaint is outlined in legislation and each step of the process is designed to ensure fairness to both the person filing the complaint and the optician named in the complaint. After a thorough review of the complaint, submissions, and results of the investigation the Complaints Resolution Committee may do one or more of the following:
- Take no further action
- Issue a Letter of Guidance
- Require an Education or Remediation Specified Continuing Program -The registrant is required to successfully complete an education and remediation program specified by the Complaints resolution committee. It may include education, supervision, and/or monitoring, and may require further evaluation upon completion. A summary of the requirements to be completed by the registrant is posted to the registrant ’s profile and is included in the complaints and discipline information provided for the public .Both postings remain in place until the requirements have been completed.
- Provide an Oral Caution – The registrant is required to appear before the Complaints Resolution Committee where the registrant is given an oral caution. A summary of the caution is posted to the registrant ’s profile and is included in the complaints and discipline information provided for the public. Both postings remain in place for two years after the caution.
- Undertaking – a binding and enforceable agreement between the OOM and a registrant, put in place to protect the public interest. They set out obligations or restrictions with which a registrant must comply. There are two types of undertakings:
- Undertaking – terms, limitations and conditions (TLC) – The CRC may accept a registrant’s undertaking to improve his or her practice or to restrict his or her practice, through education, supervision, and/or monitoring
- Undertaking – resign, and to never apply or re-apply for a license as an optician in Manitoba
The terms of undertakings are posted to the registrant’s profile in the data base and are included in the complaints and discipline information provided for the public.
- Referral to an Inquiry Committee – is a disposition of the CRC where allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence and /or where there are concerns suggesting that the registrant is suffering from a physical or mental incapacity, have been referred for a hearing.
The Outcomes of the investigations of complaints are generally consistent with the following risk categories:
- No or Minimal Risk: Information does not support taking regulatory action.
- Low Risk: Unlikely to have a direct impact on patient care, safety, or the public interest.
- Moderate Risk: Clinical issues requiring remediation or significant improvement through didactic or hands-on courses, mentoring, assessments and/or evaluations. Concerns related to an aspect of the registrant ’s conduct or practice that may have a direct impact on patient care, safety, or the public interest if not addressed.The disposition of moderate risk complaints would include:
- Oral cautions
- Specified continuing education and remediation programs
- Undertaking -terms, limitations and conditions (TLC)
- High Risk: Serious concerns regarding the registrant’s conduct or practice that are likely to have a direct impact on patient care, safety, or the public interest. Concerns cannot be addressed through other remedial actions, or previous remedial actions have been attempted unsuccessfully. Clinical issues requiring restrictions or conditions on practice, or a withdrawal or resignation from practice.The disposition would include:
- Referral to Inquiry Committee: a disposition of the Complaints Resolution Committee where allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence have been referred for a hearing. Referrals to an Inquiry Committee for a hearing currently in effect would be listed as “Discipline Hearings”.
- Undertaking –improve or restrict practice (TLC)
- Undertaking – resign
Information to be Posted on Complaints and Discipline for the Public on the OOM Website
Procedure for Reporting Information for the Public on the Moderate and High Risk Categories
- There is a portal for information for the public on “Discipline Decisions” on the home page of the OOM website. It includes the definitions of the categories of complaints and the various disciplinary actions that may be taken as well as access to specific information about discipline decisions regarding complaints about OOM registrants.
- By selecting “Discipline Decisions “on the home page of the OOM website the public is provided with a list of the names of the disciplinary actions that may taken against a registrant as a result of c complaint investigations i.e.
- Oral caution
- Specified continuing education and remediation program
- Undertaking- TLC
- Referral to Inquiry Committee
- Undertaking – resign
- By selecting any of the above disciplinary actions, a list of the license numbers only (no names) of opticians in the category selected would appear under the appropriate discipline category unless it has been agreed by the OOM and the registrant during the discipline/investigation /settlement process that the name and license number should not appear. In that instance only the word “Registrant ” will appear. The public can access more information by clicking on the license number or the word “Registrant”
- The information regarding complaints and decisions included in Appendix A is shared with all optician regulatory bodies across Canada through each the registrant’s profile in the National data base. The only information shared with the public in the complaints and decisions information, if they click on the license number or the word “registrant” is:
- Name of the registrant and License number (unless agreed as above that the name and license number should not appear, then only the allegations, findings and decisions will appear)