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This matter came before a panel of the Discipline Committee of the College of Optometrists of Ontario this 7th day February 2018, in Toronto, Ontario, at 9:30 a.m. at 65 St. Clair Ave. E.
1. THE DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE FOUND Dr. Verma guilty of professional misconduct for having committed acts of professional misconduct as provided by subsection 51(1)(c) of the Health Professions Procedural Code (the “Code”) being Schedule 2 to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, S.O. 1991 C.18, and defined in paragraph 1. 7 of Ontario Regulation 119/94 in that he engaged in the practice of optometry while in a conflict of interest contrary to subsection 3(1) of Ontario Regulation 119/94 as follows:
i. He engaged in the practise of the profession in a working arrangement contrary to paragraph 3(2)(g); and
ii. He shared fees related to the practice of the profession with another person other than another member or a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario as set out at paragraph 3(2)(h).
2. THE DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE FOUND Dr. Verma guilty of professional misconduct for having committed an act or acts of professional misconduct as provided by subsection 51(1)(c) of the Code, and defined in paragraph 1.36 of Ontario Regulation 119/94 in that he contravened, by act or omission, the Optometry Act, 1991, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 or the regulations under either of those Acts for practising the profession through a corporation without having incorporated a professional corporation and obtaining a certificate of authorization as required by section 85.8 of the Code and Ontario Regulation 39/02.
3. THE DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE ORDERED that:
a. Dr. Verma shall be required to attend before the Discipline Committee of the College of Optometrists of Ontario (the “College”) to be reprimanded;
b. the following terms, conditions and limitations shall be imposed on Dr. Verma’s certificate of registration:
i. That he write an essay, within 60 days of the date of the Order of the Discipline Committee, the details of which are as follows:
a) It must set out the requirements for preventing a conflict of interest as set out in Ontario Regulation 119/94;
b) it must address the principles of conflict of interest, why a professional must control conflict of interest and in particular why it is important for optometrists to minimize conflict of interest or control that which cannot be eliminated;
c) It must contain self-reflection on the situation that resulted in the referral and the safeguards he intends to implement into his practice to minimize the possibility of reoccurrence;
d) It must be referenced and properly annotated and constitute Dr. Verma’s original work;
e) It must be at minimum 1,000 words in length; and
f) The Registrar shall determine whether or not the essay is acceptable; if it is not, Dr. Verma will be required to correct it to the Registrar’s satisfaction.
ii. That Dr. Verma provide to the Registrar copies of his Independent Contractor Agreements (“ICAs”) for every location where he practises optometry with anyone, other than another member engaged in the practice of optometry or physician who is engaged in the practice of medicine, for a period of three years following the date of the Order of the Discipline Committee. The ICAs must be in compliance with the conflict of interest provisions in Ontario Regulation 119/94.
c. The payment of the College’s costs in investigating and prosecuting this matter in the amount of $7,500 to be paid in two installments of $3,750 by way of post-dated cheques made payable to the College of Optometrists of Ontario dated March 7, 2018 and April 7, 2018. Dr. Verma shall provide the cheques to the Registrar at the Discipline Hearing.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Dr. Verma waived his right to appeal and the Discipline Committee delivered the reprimand.