For Immediate Release - February 08, 2005

State Investigators Find Violations at Over 70% of Worcester County Optical Businesses

The Board of Registration of Dispensing Opticians ("Board") recently conducted a sweep of 40 optical businesses in 18 cities and towns across Worcester County. Of the businesses visited, more than 70% were found to be in violation of Board rules and regulations, including failure to post licenses, wear identification or properly document apprentice training.

"These inspections are part of a statewide campaign to ensure that licensed professionals are living up to the regulatory standards of their profession," stated Anne L. Collins, director of the Division of Professional Licensure.

In verifying 71 dispensing optician licenses, investigators found three individuals to be operating with expired licenses. One of them, John Cather of Worcester, had been operating with an expired license for more than twenty years. These individuals will be required to appear before the Board and are subject to back fees, penalties and potential disciplinary action. This is the second sweep conducted by the Board of Registration of Dispensing Opticians. In 2003, Board investigators inspected businesses across Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, finding violations in over 60% of the businesses visited.

The Board of Registration of Dispensing Opticians licenses over 1,800 dispensing opticians throughout the Commonwealth. During fiscal year 2004, the Board received eight new complaints and resolved six complaints, resulting in four licensee consent agreements and the placing of one license on probation.

Consumers are urged to visit the Division of Professional Licensure's website at www.mass.gov/reg and select the "check a license" option to determine whether a professional they are considering doing business with is licensed and in good standing.

The Division of Professional Licensure is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. It is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the licensing process for 43 trades and professions regulated by 29 boards of registration, the updating and renewal of approximately 330,000 licenses and the maintenance of databases for licensing, enforcement and revenue collection. In fiscal year 2004, the Division of Professional Licensure imposed record levels of enforcement, including 829 disciplinary actions, $128,000 in fines and the return of more than $25,000 to consumers.