S.C. Code Regs. 95-8 - Ethics

A. Patients
1. The licensed optometrist has a duty to:
a. Keep the patient's eye, vision and general health paramount at all times;
b. Respect the patient's rights and dignity regarding their healthcare decisions;
c. Inform the patient of the proposed treatments, any reasonable alternatives, or referrals to another optometrist or health professional when appropriate, in a manner that allows the patient to become involved in treatment decisions;
d. Ensure confidentiality and privacy of patient's protected health and other personal information;
e. Communicate truthfully and shall not represent the care being rendered to their patients in a false or misleading manner;
f. Be familiar with the signs of abuse and neglect and to report suspected cases if necessary; and
g. Refrain from harming the patient.
2. While an optometrist, in serving the public, may exercise reasonable discretion in selecting patients for their practices, optometrists shall not refuse to accept patients into their practice or deny service to patients because of the patient's race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity or national origin.
3. Once an optometrist has undertaken a course of treatment, the optometrist should not discontinue that treatment without giving the patient adequate notice and the opportunity to obtain the services of another optometrist or health professional. Care should be taken that the patient's optical health is not jeopardized in the process.
B. Education.
1. The privilege of optometrists to be accorded professional status rests primarily in the knowledge, skill and experience with which they serve their patients and society. All optometrists, therefore, have the obligation of keeping their knowledge and skill current.
2. Optometrists shall be obliged to seek consultation whenever the welfare of the patients will be safeguarded or advanced by utilizing those who have special skills, knowledge, and experience. When patients visit or are referred to specialists, or consulting optometrists or health professionals for consultation:
a. The consulting optometrist or health professional, upon completion of their care, shall return the patient, unless the patient expressly reveals a different preference to the referring optometrist, or, if none, to the optometrist of record for future care.
b. The consulting optometrist or health professional shall be obliged when there is no referring optometrist and upon a completion of their treatment to inform patients when there is a need for further optical care.
C. Ability to Practice.
1. It is unethical for an optometrist to practice while abusing controlled substances, alcohol or other chemical agents which impair the ability to practice. All optometrists have an ethical obligation to urge chemically impaired colleagues to seek treatment.
2. Optometrists are the leaders of the healthcare team. As such, their behavior in the workplace is instrumental in establishing and maintaining a practice environment that supports the mutual respect, good communication, and high levels of collaboration among team members required to optimize the quality of patient care provided.

Notes

S.C. Code Regs. 95-8
Added by State Register Volume 47, Issue No. 05, eff. 5/26/2023.

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