Code Section Group

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. )

2550.
  

Individuals, corporations, and firms engaged in the business of filling prescriptions of physicians and surgeons licensed by the Medical Board of California or optometrists licensed by the State Board of Optometry for prescription lenses and kindred products, and, as incidental to the filling of those prescriptions, doing any or all of the following acts, either singly or in combination with others, taking facial measurements, fitting and adjusting those lenses and fitting and adjusting spectacle frames, shall be known as dispensing opticians and shall not engage in that business unless registered with the State Board of Optometry.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 13. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2550.1.
  

All references in this chapter to the board shall mean the State Board of Optometry.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2551.
  

Individuals, corporations, and firms shall make application for registration and shall not engage in that business prior to being issued a certificate of registration. Application for that registration shall be on forms prescribed by the board, shall bear the signature of the individual, or general partners if a partnership, or the president or secretary if a corporation, and shall contain the name under which he or she, they or it proposes to do business and the business address. Separate applications shall be made for each place of business and each application must be accompanied by the application fee prescribed by Section 2565.

(Amended by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1190, Sec. 2.)

2552.
  

Each application shall be verified under oath by the person required to sign the application and shall designate the name, address, and business telephone number of the applicant’s employee who will be responsible for handling customer inquiries and complaints with respect to the business address for which registration is applied.

The applicant shall furnish such additional information or proof, oral or written, which the board may request, including information and proof relating to the provisions of Division 1.5 (commencing with Section 475).

The board shall promptly notify any applicant if, as of the 30th day following the submission of an application under this chapter, the application and supporting documentation are not substantially complete and in proper form. The notification shall be in writing, shall state specifically what documents or other information are to be supplied by the applicant to the board, and shall be sent to the applicant by certified or registered mail. Within 30 days of the applicant’s submission of the requested documents or information to the board, the board shall notify the applicant by certified or registered mail if the board requires additional documents or information.

This section shall become operative on January 1, 1988.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 15. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2553.
  

If the board, after investigation, approves the application, it shall register the applicant and issue to the applicant a certificate of dispensing optician. A separate certificate of registration shall be required for each address where the business is to be conducted.

A certificate authorizes the applicant, its agents and employees acting therefor to engage in the business defined in Section 2550 provided that the fitting and adjusting of spectacle lenses is performed in compliance with Article 1.5 (commencing with Section 2559.1) and the fitting and adjusting of contact lenses is performed in compliance with Article 2 (commencing with Section 2560).

Each certificate shall be at all times displayed in a conspicuous place at the certified place of business. The certificate shall not be transferable, but on application to the board there may be registered a change of address of the certificate.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 16. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2553.1.
  

(a) If a registered dispensing optician sells or transfers ownership of his or her place of business, both of the following requirements shall be satisfied:

(1) The registered dispensing optician selling or transferring ownership of the business shall return the certificate of registration to the board no later than 10 calendar days after the change of ownership is completed. This registered dispensing optician shall be responsible for complying with all laws relating to the optical dispensing business until the notice described in paragraph (2) is received by the board.

(2) The registered dispensing optician assuming ownership of the business shall record with the board a written notice of the change of ownership, providing all information required by the board. This notice shall be filed with the board no later than 10 calendar days after the change of ownership is completed.

(b) This section does not apply to a change of location of business by a registered dispensing optician.

(Added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 389, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2012.)

2553.5.
  

(a) A registered dispensing optician may fit and adjust spectacle lenses and frames or take facial measurements in any of the following locations:

(1) A health facility as defined in Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code for a person admitted to that facility or an employee of that facility.

(2) A business location as defined in subdivision (f) for an employee or independent contractor of the person operating the business at that location.

(3) Any certified place of business pursuant to Section 2553.

(b) A registered dispensing optician who fits and adjusts spectacle lenses at a health facility or business location shall provide to the patient written information disclosing the registrant’s regular business address, certificate of registration number, phone number, and the name and phone number of the person designated by the licensee to receive complaints and inquiries, as specified in Section 2554.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to permit a registered dispensing optician or registered contact lens dispenser to fit or adjust contact lenses at a health facility or at a business location, as defined in subdivision (f).

(d) A registered spectacle lens dispenser may fit and adjust spectacle lenses at a health facility or at a business location, as defined in subdivision (f), only if he or she is in personal attendance at a certified place of business pursuant to Section 2553 at least 40 percent of his or her regular working hours each week.

(e) A registered spectacle lens dispenser who fits and adjusts spectacle lenses at a health facility or at a business location, as defined in subdivision (f), other than on a temporary basis, shall maintain an emergency patient response system. This system shall consist of a telephone answering machine or service or a telephone paging device and the registered spectacle lens dispenser shall respond to patient inquiries received through the emergency system within 24 hours excluding weekends and holidays.

(f) “Business location” means the place at which any business employs more than 25 persons at any single business address, but shall not include a health facility, as defined in Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code, or a certified place of business as specified in Section 2553.

(g) This section shall not affect the requirements regarding fitting and adjusting as set forth in Sections 2559.1 and 2560.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 240, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1994.)

2553.6.
  

The board shall deny any application for registration under this chapter if any person licensed under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 2000), for whom the applicant, in accordance with Section 2550, proposes to fill any prescription, has any proprietary interest, or has designated or arranged for any other person to have any proprietary interest in or with the applicant.

The board may, in accordance with Section 2555, suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew the certificate of any individual or firm under this chapter, if such individual or firm, after the effective date of this section, fills, or has filled, while holding a certificate issued pursuant to this chapter, any prescription issued by any person licensed under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 2000) who has any proprietary interest, or has designated or arranged for any other person to have any proprietary interest, in or with such individual or firm.

Such penalties shall be in addition to, and not to the exclusion of, any other remedies or penalties provided by law.

“Proprietary interest,” for the purposes of this section, means any membership, coownership, stock ownership, legal or beneficial interest, any other proprietary interest, or profit-sharing arrangement, designated or arranged or held, directly or indirectly in any form, in or with any individual or firm applying for registration or registered under this chapter, except stock ownership in a corporation which is listed on a stock exchange regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission if the stock is acquired in a transaction conducted through such stock exchange.

This section shall apply only to a dispensing optician required to be registered pursuant to Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 2550) and shall not be construed to modify Section 2557, or to affect the fitting of prescription lenses by an assistant pursuant to Section 2544.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 604, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2011.)

2554.
  

Each registrant shall conspicuously and prominently display at each registered location the following consumer information:

“Eye doctors are required to provide patients with a copy of their ophthalmic lens prescriptions as follows:

Spectacle prescriptions: Release upon completion of exam.

Contact lens prescriptions: Release upon completion of exam or upon completion of the fitting process.

Patients may take their prescription to any eye doctor or registered dispensing optician to be filled.

Optometrists and registered dispensing opticians are regulated by the State Board of Optometry. The State Board of Optometry receives and investigates all consumer complaints involving the practice of optometry and registered dispensing opticians. Complaints involving a California-licensed optometrist or a registered dispensing optician should be directed to:

California State Board of Optometry

Department of Consumer Affairs

2450 Del Paso Road, Suite 105

Sacramento, CA 95834

Phone: 1-866-585-2666 or (916) 575-7170

Email: optometry@dca.ca.gov

Internet Web site: www.optometry.ca.gov”

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 17. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2555.
  

Certificates issued hereunder may in the discretion of the board be suspended or revoked or subjected to terms and conditions of probation for violating or attempting to violate this chapter, Chapter 5.4 (commencing with Section 2540) or any regulation adopted under this chapter or, Chapter 5.4 (commencing with Section 2540), or Section 651, 654, or 655, or for incompetence, gross negligence, or repeated similar negligent acts performed by the registrant or by an employee of the registrant. The proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, and the board shall have all the powers granted therein.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 18. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2555.1.
  

In the discretion of the board, a certificate issued hereunder may be suspended or revoked if an individual certificate holder or persons having any proprietary interest who will engage in dispensing operations, have been convicted of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a dispensing optician. The record of conviction or a certified copy thereof shall be conclusive evidence of the conviction.

A plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere made to a charge substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a dispensing optician is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this article. The board may order the certificate suspended or revoked, or may decline to issue a certificate, when the time for appeal has elapsed, or the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal or when an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence, irrespective of a subsequent order under the provisions of Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code allowing such person to withdraw his or her plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information or indictment.

The proceeding under this section shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, and the board shall have all the powers granted therein.

This section shall become operative on January 1, 1988.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 19. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2556.
  

(a) Except as authorized by Section 655, it is unlawful for a registered dispensing optician to do any of the following: to advertise the furnishing of, or to furnish, the services of an optometrist or a physician and surgeon, to directly employ an optometrist or physician and surgeon for the purpose of any examination or treatment of the eyes, or to duplicate or change lenses without a prescription or order from a person duly licensed to issue the same. For the purposes of this section, “furnish” does not mean to enter into a landlord-tenant relationship of any kind.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 125.9, the board may, by regulation, impose and issue administrative fines and citations for a violation of this section or Section 655, which may be assessed in addition to any other applicable fines, citations, or administrative or criminal actions.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 405, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2016.)

2556.1.
  

All licensed optometrists and registered dispensing opticians who are in a colocated setting shall report the business relationship to the State Board of Optometry, as determined by the board. The State Board of Optometry shall have the authority to inspect any premises at which the business of a registered dispensing optician is colocated with the practice of an optometrist, for the purposes of determining compliance with Section 655. The inspection may include the review of any written lease agreement between the registered dispensing optician and the optometrist or between the optometrist and the health plan. Failure to comply with the inspection or any request for information by the board may subject the party to disciplinary action. The board shall provide a copy of its inspection results, if applicable, to the Department of Managed Health Care.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 31, Sec. 2. Effective June 27, 2016.)

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.)

2556.5.
  

Any person who holds himself out as a “dispensing optician” or “registered dispensing optician” or who uses any other term or letters indicating or implying that he is registered and holds a certificate under the terms of this law without having at the time of so doing a valid, unrevoked certificate, as provided in this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(Added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1144.)

2557.
  

This chapter shall not affect any person licensed as an optometrist under Chapter 7 of Division II of this code, or any physician and surgeon licensed under Chapter 5 of Division II of this code. Such exemption shall not apply to any optometrist or physician and surgeon exclusively engaged in the business of filling prescriptions for physicians and surgeons. This chapter does not prohibit the sale of goggles, sun glasses, colored glasses, or occupational protective eye devices if they do not have refractive values nor do the provisions of this chapter prohibit the sale of complete ready-to-wear eyeglasses as merchandise.

(Added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 955.)

2558.
  

Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not less than 10 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both such fine and imprisonment.

The board may adopt, amend, or repeal, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, any regulations as are reasonably necessary to carry out this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 20. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2559.
  

Whenever any person has engaged, or is about to engage, in any acts or practices which constitute, or will constitute, a violation of any provision of this chapter, or Chapter 5.4 (commencing with Section 2540), the superior court in and for the county wherein the acts or practices take place, or are about to take place, may issue an injunction, or other appropriate order, restraining such conduct on application of the board, the Attorney General, or the district attorney of the county.

The proceedings under this section shall be governed by Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 525) of Title 7 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 489, Sec. 21. Effective January 1, 2017.)

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