State's Professional Licensing Agency Reports 2nd Consecutive Year Of Record Results
Landmark legislation in '05 gives DPL enhanced authority to better protect consumers
On December 1, 2004, Governor Mitt Romney recognized the DPL for its impressive reduction of an existing enforcement case backlog. The commitment to administrative improvements by the DPL's twenty-nine licensing boards eliminated that backlog and significantly increased the amount of enforcement action taken in fiscal year 2005.
"Governor Romney's enactment of laws granting us greater enforcement authority gives our licensing boards the additional tools they need to make even greater strides in consumer protection and ensuring consumer confidence in our licensees," said Director Anne L. Collins.
Director Collins pointed to new laws that give the boards uniform fining authority, standards for discipline and the ability to prosecute unlicensed professional practice. Another provision bolsters the insurance fraud-fighting powers of two boards by granting them licensing and inspection authority over chiropractic and physical therapy facilities. In fiscal year 2005, DPL licensed 73 new facilities and the DPL's Health Care Fraud Unit recorded 21 enforcement actions, up 33 % from fiscal year 2004.
|Fiscal Year||New Cases Received||Cases Resolved||Enforcement Actions||Inspections Performed||Average Days Case Open|
Notable Fiscal Year 2005 DPL Enforcement Decisions
In August 2004, the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers suspended licenses held by Derek A. Wallace of Lawrence for five years after finding significant violations stemming from several complaints filed against him. Recently, Wallace was indicted on numerous counts of conspiracy to commit theft in New Hampshire.
In September 2004, the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers entered into a consent agreement with Stephen Winokur of Plymouth, suspending his license for two years. DPL assisted consumers in obtaining $42,487 in funds owed to them.
Health Care Fraud
In April 2005, the Board of Registration of Chiropractors entered into a consent agreement with William McClune of Dorchester, issuing a three-month license suspension followed by a thirty-three month probationary period. McClune allegedly hired an individual to serve as a "runner" to seek-out and direct clients to his chiropractic office for treatment. The use of runners is now a felony crime under state law.
In May 2005, the Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters entered into a consent agreement with Bruce E. Hadley of Westfield, agreeing to a six-month license suspension followed by a two-year probationary period. Hadley admitted to sufficient facts for failing to oversee the installation of a gas heater and allowing an unlicensed person to complete the installation.
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 licensure process for 43 trades and professions regulated by 29 boards of registration with oversight of approximately 330,000 licensees. In fiscal year 2005, the Division of Professional Licensure imposed record levels of professional enforcement, resulting in 1,186 disciplinary actions, over $184,000 in fines and $53,000 in refunds to consumers.