Code Section

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 2. HEALING ARTS [500 - 4999.129]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )
  

CHAPTER 5.5. Registered Dispensing Opticians [2550 - 2569]

  ( Chapter 5.5 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 955. )
  

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [2550 - 2559]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 955. )

  
2556.2.  

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, subsequent to the effective date of this section and until January 1, 2019, any individual, corporation, or firm operating as a registered dispensing optician under this chapter before the effective date of this section, or an employee of such an entity, shall not be subject to any action for engaging in conduct prohibited by Section 2556 or Section 655 as those sections existed prior to the effective date of this bill, except that a registrant shall be subject to discipline for duplicating or changing lenses without a prescription or order from a person duly licensed to issue the same.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to imply or suggest that a person registered under this chapter is in violation of or in compliance with the law.

(c) This section shall not apply to any business relationships prohibited by Section 2556 commencing registration or operations on or after the effective date of this section.

(d) Subsequent to the effective date of this section and until January 1, 2019, nothing in this section shall prohibit an individual, corporation, or firm operating as a registered dispensing optician from engaging in a business relationship with an optometrist licensed pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3000) before the effective date of this section at locations registered with the Medical Board of California before the effective date of this section.

(e) This section does not apply to any administrative action pending, litigation pending, cause for discipline, or cause of action accruing prior to September 1, 2015.

(f) Any registered dispensing optician or optical company that owns a health plan that employs optometrists, subject to this section, shall comply with the following milestones:

(1) By January 1, 2017, 15 percent of its locations shall no longer employ an optometrist.

(2) By August 1, 2017, 45 percent of its locations shall no longer employ an optometrist.

(3) By January 1, 2019, 100 percent of its locations shall no longer employ an optometrist.

(g) Any registered dispensing optician or optical company that owns a health plan that employs optometrists shall report to the State Board of Optometry in writing as to whether it has met each of the milestones in subdivision (f) within 30 days of each milestone. The State Board of Optometry shall provide those reports as soon as it receives them to the director and the Legislature. The report to the Legislature shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other law and in addition to any action available to the State Board of Optometry, the State Board of Optometry may issue a citation containing an order of abatement, an order to pay an administrative fine, or both, to an optical company, an optometrist, or a registered dispensing optician for a violation of this section. The administrative fine shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). In assessing the amount of the fine, the board shall give due consideration to all of the following:

(A) The gravity of the violation.

(B) The good faith of the cited person or entity.

(C) The history of previous violations of the same or similar nature.

(D) Evidence that the violation was or was not willful.

(E) The extent to which the cited person or entity has cooperated with the board’s investigation.

(F) The extent to which the cited person or entity has mitigated or attempted to mitigate any damage or injury caused by the violation.

(G) Any other factors as justice may require.

(2) A citation or fine assessment issued pursuant to a citation shall inform the cited person or entity that if a hearing is desired to contest the finding of a violation, that hearing shall be requested by written notice to the board within 30 days of the date of issuance of the citation or assessment. If a hearing is not requested pursuant to this section, payment of any fine shall not constitute an admission of the violation charged. Hearings shall be held pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(3) The board shall adopt regulations to implement a system for the issuance of citations, administrative fines, and orders of abatement authorized by this section. The regulations shall include provisions for both of the following:

(A) The issuance of a citation without an administrative fine.

(B) The opportunity for a cited person or entity to have an informal conference with the executive officer of the board in addition to the hearing described in paragraph (2).

(4) The failure of a licensee to pay a fine within 30 days of the date of assessment, unless the citation is being appealed, may result in disciplinary action being taken by the board. Where a citation is not contested and a fine is not paid, the full amount of the assessed fine shall be added to the fee for renewal of the license. A license shall not be renewed without payment of the renewal fee and fine.

(5) Notwithstanding any other law, if a fine is paid to satisfy an assessment based on the finding of a violation, payment of the fine shall be represented as satisfactory resolution of the matter for purposes of public disclosure.

(i) Administrative fines collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the Dispensing Opticians Fund. It is the intent of the Legislature that moneys collected as fines and deposited in the fund be used by the board primarily for enforcement purposes.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 31, Sec. 3. Effective June 27, 2016.)