Texas State Bd. of Examiners in Optometry v. Carp
|Supreme Court of Texas
|412 S.W.2d 307
|TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EXAMINERS IN OPTOMETRY et al., Petitioners, v. Ellis CARP et al., Respondents.
|08 February 1967
Crawford C. Martin, Atty. Gen., Hawthorne Phillips and John Reeves, Asst. Attys. Gen., Will Garwood and Tom Gee, Sp. Asst. Attys. Gen., Niemann & Babb, Charles N. Bobb, Austin, Strasburger, Price, Kelton, Miller & Martin, Mark Martin, Dallas, for petitioners.
Price Daniel, Austin, Douglas E. Bergman, Dallas, Keith, Mehaffy & Weber, Quentin Keith, Beaumont, for respondents.
Doctors Ellis Carp, S. J. Rogers, and N. Jay Rogers sued The Texas State Board of Examiners in Optometry and sought a declaratory judgment that the Professional Responsibility Rule adopted on December 21, 1959 by the Board was void. They also asked for ad permanent injunction against the Board's enforcement of the rule. The trial court denied the relief prayed for and sustained the validity of the rule. The court of civil appeals held that although there was substantial evidence which supported the rule, the Board exceeded its delegated powers in promulgating it and therefore, the rule was invalid. 401 S.W.2d 639. In our opinion the Board did not exceed its statutory powers in promulgating the rule. We reverse the judgment of the intermediate court and affirm that of the trial court.
The court of civil appeals held that the rule was not arbitrary or capricious and that there was substantial evidence of the relationship between the rule and the general welfare of the citizens of Texas. We too find that the rule is grounded upon substantial evidence. The necessity for such a rule was demonstrated by the general support it received from the members of the optometry profession and professional societies and the record which abounds with evidence of the specific evils the rule was designed to correct. Some portions of the record will be mentioned and commented on in our analysis of the specific provisions of the rule.
The central question presented by the points before us is whether the Board exceeded its delegated powers in promulgating the Professional Responsibility Rule. In determining this issue, we must examine the general purposes of the Optometry Act as well as certain specific provisions of the act. The Legislature's primary purpose in passing the act was to assure and protect the personal and professional relationship between an optometrist and his patient. To make certain that this purpose was carried out, the act requires an optometrist to be licensed before he may practice within the state. The optometrist must evidence his identity and professional qualifications by registering and recording his license in any county in which he practices. Articles 4561--4562 1; article 735 Vernon's Ann. Penal Code. He must also display his license in his office, and when he practices away from his office, he must identify himself by affixing to each bill for glasses his signature, address and the number of his license. Article 736, Vernon's Penal Code. Personal identification by those practicing any of the healing arts is of such significance that the Legislature requires a licensee to identify the particular system which his license permits him to practice. Article 4556. It is in this statutory context of fixing professional identification and personal responsibility that we now examine the powers delegated to the State Board of Examiners in Optometry and the provisions of the particular statutes and the rule which the Board promulgated. Article 4556 is the source of the Board's rule-making authority. It provides:
'* * * The Board shall have the power to make such rules and regulations not inconsistent with this law as may be necessary for the performance of its duties, the regulation of the practice of optometry and the enforcement of this Act. * * *'
Article 4563 provides that the Board of Examiners may refuse to issue a license to an applicant and may cancel, revoke or suspend any license it has granted for any of the following reasons:
'(a) That said applicant or licensee is guilty of gross immorality;
'(b) That said applicant or licensee is guilty of any fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in the practice of optometry or in his seeking admission to such practice;
'(c) That said applicant or licensee is unfit or incompetent by reason of negligence;
'(d) That said applicant or licensee has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor which involves moral turpitude;
'(e) That said applicant or licensee is an habitual drunkard or is addicted to the use of morphine, cocaine or other drugs having similar effect or has become insane or has been adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind;
'(f) That said licensee has directly or indirectly employed, hired, procured, or induced a person, not licensed to practice optometry in this State, to so practice;
'(g) That said licensee directly or indirectly aids or abets in the practice of optometry any person not duly licensed to practice under this Act;
'(h) That said licensee directly or indirectly employs solicitors, canvassers or agents for the purpose of obtaining patronage;
'(i) That said licensee lends, leases, rents or in any other manner places his license at the disposal or in the service of any person not licensed to practice optometry in this State;
'(j) That said applicant or licensee has wilfully or repeatedly violated any of the provisions of this Act.'
The questioned Professional Responsibility Rule, except for its severability clause, is copied in the footnote to Texas State Board of Examiners on Optometry v. Carp, 388 S.W.2d 409, 411--412 (Tex.1965). The footnote to the opinion of the court of civil appeals, 401 S.W.2d 639, 640--641, is a good summary of section 1 of the rule, which we adopt. Section 1 provides that no optometrist shall:
'(b) Divide, share or split fees with another optometrist or physician except (1) on a division of services and (2) then only with the knowledge of the patient, but (3) the Rule will not be interpreted to prevent partnerships.
'(d) Use or allow his name or professional identity to be used on the door, window, wall or sign of any office or location where optometry is practiced unless said optometrist is actually present and practicing therein during office hours.
'(e) Practice in any office or location where any name or professional identification on any sign shall indicate that such office or location is owned, operated or supervised by any person not actually present and practicing therein during office hours.
'(f) Requirements (d) and (e) above shall be deemed satisfied if the optometrist is (1) physically present more than half the total hours the office is open for at least nine months of the year; or (2) physically present in such office at least one-half the time such person conducts, directs or supervises any practice of optometry; or (3) regularly makes personal examinations of eyes at such location or regularly directs or supervises such examinations.'
Section 2 of the rule provides that the wilful or repeated failure of an optometrist to comply with any provision of section 1 shall be considered prima facie evidence that such optometrist is guilty of a violation of law, and shall be grounds for filing charges to cancel, revoke, or suspend his license or to enjoin him from continuing such violation. Section 3 of the rule provides that if any part of the rule be held invalid, the intent of the Board was to promulgate the remainder of the rule.
The court of civil appeals in striking down the rule in its entirety, held that article 4563 and other statutes stated specific grounds for refusing or cancelling a license, that the statement of specific grounds was an exclusion of all others, and that the Legislature intended that the Board should not add new or inconsistent grounds. The authorities in support of the legal principles applied by the court of civil appeals are listed in the court's opinion. Our opinion is, however, that each provision of the rule must be separately examined to determine whether it is related to and consistent with the grounds for cancellation or refusal that the Legislature listed. In other words, the real question presented is whether the rule states new or inconsistent grounds as held by the intermediate court.
In Kee v. Baber, 157 Tex. 387, 303 S.W.2d 376 (1957), this court sustained the validity of three rules that the Board of Optometry promulgated. These rules regulated 'bait' advertising, basis competence, and corporate practice of optometry. The court held that article 4556 was a broad delegation of regulatory powers to the Board since it authorized the Board to adopt such rules as are necessary for 'the regulation of the practive of optometry.' The court also held that each of the rules was consistent with, related to, and an implementation of one or more of the prohibited categories set out in article 4563. The Professional Responsibility Rule which is under attack prohibits five forms of practice by those licensed as optometrists, and as in Kee v. Baber, we shall examine each of the prohibited practices with reference to article 4563 and other optometry regulations.
Section 1(a) of the rule prohibits fee-splitting by a licensed optometrist with an unlicensed person. Since the Optometry Act...
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