DCA Fiscal 2008-09 Accountability Milestones to Date
DCA's 2008/09 Success Stories
As the 2008-09 Fiscal Year progresses, DCA has begun some new initiatives and continued its work on others to both protect California consumers and serve its more than 2.5 million licensees.
Here is a look at some of our efforts thus far in 2008-09:
- Instituted a programmatic/performance auditing function within DCA's internal audits office.
Increasing Visibility, Transparency and Accessibility for Consumers
- Increased transparency in government by familiarizing the public with important initiatives underway at the Department by launching a section of its Web site entitled, "Director's Message".
Listening to Consumers Leads to More Consumer Outreach and Education
- Launched the "Take Charge, California!" campaign aimed at educating and empowering consumers.
Professionals Achieving Consumer Trust Summit (PACT)
During 2008-09, DCA proposed, planned, and executed a first ever department-wide meeting/conference/training called the Professionals Achieving Consumer Trust, or PACT, Summit. The PACT Summit provided an unprecedented opportunity for board members, consumer advocates, law enforcement and stakeholders to meet. Addressing the coming workforce shortage and reinforcing the value of the California professional license were the main summit themes.
The Summit was comprised of board and bureau regulatory meetings; training sessions designed especially for board members, consumer advocates and law enforcement; panel discussions on issues that affect DCA's consumer protection mission; a California Consumer Affairs Association Training Session and a Small Claims Court Advisors Association Training Session.
Other state agencies were also invited to attend, including the State and Consumer Services Agency (SCSA) and the Labor & Workforce Development Agency. The California Consumer Affairs Association and the California District Attorneys Association and the Los Angeles County of Consumer Affairs and the California Small Claims Advisors Association also attended and collaborated with DCA and various participants.
The Consumer Trust Summit provided an unprecedented opportunity for board members, consumer advocates, law enforcement and stakeholders to meet. The event laid the foundation for cooperation and collaboration in areas that impact consumers and licensees across the state. All boards and bureaus in attendance signed a PACT statement committing themselves to further consumer protection and education across the state.
Promoting the Value of the California Professional License
- Further enhanced efforts to combat unlicensed activity by developing the "Inquire Before You Hire" web site, www.inquirebeforeyouhire.ca.gov, to educate consumers, give businesses and students a resource to open a business; creating a toll free number to report ULA; and developing publications for consumers, businesses, and students to distribute at events.
- Continued to conduct multiple statewide enforcement stings/sweeps involving construction, automotive repair, appliance repair, furniture manufacturing and sales, security guards, cosmetology, and others.
- Held a focused discussion on the Value of the California Professional License at Professionals Achieving Consumer Trust Summit.
Protecting Consumers: Fingerprinting and Related Efforts
Director Carrie Lopez has instructed all of DCA's health care related boards and bureaus to move forward with a number of administrative and policy changes to strengthen the screening of existing licensees, commence appropriate disciplinary actions, and enhance transparency to the public concerning questionable licensees.
These directives include, but are not limited to:
- Collection of fingerprints from all active healing arts licensees who have not done so. DCA has established a timeline of no more than one renewal cycle (two years) in order for this to be accomplished.
- Inclusion on all healing arts renewal forms a question requiring licensee to disclose any conviction or administrative action taken against them by a government agency since their last renewal.
- The internet posting of the entire text of formal accusations filed against a licensee for those currently pending and for any new accusations filed by each board.
- A thorough review of all pending complaints and accusations to identify any cases that require immediate action to suspend a license in order to ensure public safety.
- In addition, the Department has re-affirmed and amplified its expectation that all regulatory programs seek to immediately suspend a license using either an interim suspension order (ISO) or a "PC-23" order. Section 23 of the Penal Code allows a judge in a criminal proceeding to suspend a professional's license. Either option allows the suspension of a license for those individuals who pose a clear and imminent threat to the health and/or well-being of consumers if allowed to practice.