A Beaverton optometrist has been suspended for four months after making improper and false claims to OHIP.
According to the College of Optometrists of Ontario, a discipline committee recently found that Dr. Jon Barnes committed acts of professional misconduct over a nine-year period.
– that he failed to make and maintain records;
– that he signed or issued, in his professional capacity, a certificate, report or similar document that contains a statement he knew or ought to have known is false, misleading or otherwise improper, or omitted statements or information that he knew or ought to have known should be included;
– that he submitted or allowed to be submitted an account for professional services that he knew or ought to know is false or misleading; and,
– that he engaged in conduct or performed an act that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unethical.
Dr. Barnes’ counsel noted that the money at issue totalled less than $5,000 and argued that his client did not act “maliciously” or embark upon a “fraudulent scheme” to defraud OHIP.
The suspension of Dr. Barnes’ certificate of registration went into effect on May 31.
Barnes has also been ordered pay partial costs in relation to the proceeding in the amount of $20,000 payable to the College of Optometrists and repay nearly $5,000 to OHIP and is required to take courses related to OHIP billing and record-keeping.
“At the conclusion of the hearing, Dr. Barnes waived his right to appeal and the discipline committee delivered the reprimand,” the post reads.
For the full decision, click HERE. A public reprimand has been reprinted below.
This is the second time that Barnes has been suspended by the College of Optometrists of Ontario in recent years (see link).
Text of Public Reprimand
Dr. Barnes, the Panel after hearing the evidence, would like to express our concern with the gravity of the allegations. Specifically, we are a self-regulated profession with independence and with the moral imperative to act in a professional manner.
What we heard today with regard to improper billing and record-keeping over a period of nine years and involving many patients, concerns us. This constitutes for us a serious behavioural shortcoming.
The fact that you have admitted to the behaviour and agreed to rehabilitation is to your credit.
We expect you to fully comply with the terms of the penalty and previous remediation with regard to record keeping and proper billing practices.
Should you appear before the discipline committee again, the penalty would likely be significantly harsher. This panel views your conduct as unacceptable, unprofessional and unethical.
The Panel expects you to conduct yourself in accordance with the professional behaviour expected by members of this College.