18.35.105  <<  18.35.110 >>   18.35.120

RCW 18.35.110

Disciplinary action—Grounds.

In addition to causes specified under RCW 18.130.170 and 18.130.180, any person licensed or holding an interim permit under this chapter may be subject to disciplinary action by the board for any of the following causes:
(1) For unethical conduct in dispensing hearing instruments. Unethical conduct shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Using or causing or promoting the use of, in any advertising matter, promotional literature, testimonial, guarantee, warranty, label, brand, insignia, or any other representation, however disseminated or published, which is false, misleading or deceptive;
(b) Failing or refusing to honor or to perform as represented any representation, promise, agreement, or warranty in connection with the promotion, sale, dispensing, or fitting of the hearing instrument;
(c) Advertising a particular model, type, or kind of hearing instrument for sale which purchasers or prospective purchasers responding to the advertisement cannot purchase or are dissuaded from purchasing and where it is established that the purpose of the advertisement is to obtain prospects for the sale of a different model, type, or kind than that advertised;
(d) Falsifying hearing test or evaluation results;
(e)(i) Whenever any of the following conditions are found or should have been found to exist either from observations by the licensee or interim permit holder or on the basis of information furnished by the prospective hearing instrument user prior to fitting and dispensing a hearing instrument to any such prospective hearing instrument user, failing to advise that prospective hearing instrument user in writing that the user should first consult a licensed physician specializing in diseases of the ear or if no such licensed physician is available in the community then to any duly licensed physician:
(A) Visible congenital or traumatic deformity of the ear, including perforation of the eardrum;
(B) History of, or active drainage from the ear within the previous ninety days;
(C) History of sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss within the previous ninety days;
(D) Acute or chronic dizziness;
(E) Any unilateral hearing loss;
(F) Significant air-bone gap when generally acceptable standards have been established as defined by the food and drug administration;
(G) Visible evidence of significant cerumen accumulation or a foreign body in the ear canal;
(H) Pain or discomfort in the ear; or
(I) Any other conditions that the board may by rule establish. It is a violation of this subsection for any licensee or that licensee's employees and putative agents upon making such required referral for medical opinion to in any manner whatsoever disparage or discourage a prospective hearing instrument user from seeking such medical opinion prior to the fitting and dispensing of a hearing instrument. No such referral for medical opinion need be made by any licensed hearing aid specialist, licensed audiologist, or interim permit holder in the instance of replacement only of a hearing instrument which has been lost or damaged beyond repair within twelve months of the date of purchase. The licensed hearing aid specialist, licensed audiologist, or interim permit holder or their employees or putative agents shall obtain a signed statement from the hearing instrument user documenting the waiver of medical clearance and the waiver shall inform the prospective user that signing the waiver is not in the user's best health interest: PROVIDED, That the licensed hearing aid specialist, licensed audiologist, or interim permit holder shall maintain a copy of either the physician's statement showing that the prospective hearing instrument user has had a medical evaluation within the previous six months or the statement waiving medical evaluation, for a period of three years after the purchaser's receipt of a hearing instrument. Nothing in this section required to be performed by a licensee or interim permit holder shall mean that the licensee or interim permit holder is engaged in the diagnosis of illness or the practice of medicine or any other activity prohibited under the laws of this state;
(ii) Fitting and dispensing a hearing instrument to any person under eighteen years of age who has not been examined and cleared for hearing instrument use within the previous six months by a physician specializing in otolaryngology except in the case of replacement instruments or except in the case of the parents or guardian of such person refusing, for good cause, to seek medical opinion: PROVIDED, That should the parents or guardian of such person refuse, for good cause, to seek medical opinion, the licensed hearing aid specialist or licensed audiologist shall obtain from such parents or guardian a certificate to that effect in a form as prescribed by the department;
(iii) Fitting and dispensing a hearing instrument to any person under eighteen years of age who has not been examined by an audiologist who holds at least a master's degree in audiology for recommendations during the previous six months, without first advising such person or his or her parents or guardian in writing that he or she should first consult an audiologist who holds at least a master's degree in audiology, except in cases of hearing instruments replaced within twelve months of their purchase;
(f) Representing that the services or advice of a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery under chapter 18.71 RCW or osteopathic medicine and surgery under chapter 18.57 RCW or of a clinical audiologist will be used or made available in the selection, fitting, adjustment, maintenance, or repair of hearing instruments when that is not true, or using the word "doctor," "clinic," or other like words, abbreviations, or symbols which tend to connote a medical or osteopathic medicine and surgery profession when such use is not accurate;
(g) Permitting another to use his or her license or interim permit;
(h) Stating or implying that the use of any hearing instrument will restore normal hearing, preserve hearing, prevent or retard progression of a hearing impairment, or any other false, misleading, or medically or audiologically unsupportable claim regarding the efficiency of a hearing instrument;
(i) Representing or implying that a hearing instrument is or will be "custom-made," "made to order," "prescription made," or in any other sense specially fabricated for an individual when that is not the case; or
(j) Directly or indirectly offering, giving, permitting, or causing to be given, money or anything of value to any person who advised another in a professional capacity as an inducement to influence that person, or to have that person influence others to purchase or contract to purchase any product sold or offered for sale by the hearing aid specialist, audiologist, or interim permit holder, or to influence any person to refrain from dealing in the products of competitors.
(2) Engaging in any unfair or deceptive practice or unfair method of competition in trade within the meaning of RCW 19.86.020.
(3) Aiding or abetting any violation of the rebating laws as stated in chapter 19.68 RCW.
NOTES:
Work group2014 c 189: See note following RCW 18.35.010.
Effective date2002 c 310: See note following RCW 18.35.010.
Effective date1998 c 142 §§ 1-14 and 16-20: See note following RCW 18.35.010.
Effective date1996 c 178: "This act shall take effect July 1, 1996." [ 1996 c 178 § 25.]
Severability1987 c 150: See RCW 18.122.901.
Violation of chapter 69.50 RCW, the Uniform Controlled Substances ActSuspension of license: RCW 69.50.413.
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