Download this proposal as a PDF.

Commenting for this proposal will be open until the close of business on Monday, June 5.

Title of Proposal:

Truth in Advertising

On behalf of:       

Virginia Society of Plastic Surgeons

Describe the Idea or Issue:

Survival in the modern marketplace requires promotion of one’s practice and credentials in various advertising media. Most practitioners do so ethically, but there currently exists a loophole in Virginia’s health regulations that can be exploited. Virginia’s regulations state under 18VAC85-20-30. Advertising ethics:

D. A licensee shall disclose the complete name of the specialty board which conferred the certification when using or authorizing the use of the term “board certified” or any similar words or phrase calculated to convey the same meaning in any advertising for his practice.

Unfortunately, this language does not specify that such a board has to be a legitimate one. For example, a diplomat of the American Board of Laser Surgery is currently well within his/her rights in Virginia to advertise themselves as "Board-Certified", according to the current regulations. After paying fees and taking an open-book exam, the American Board of Laser Surgery offers “board-certification” and a fancy certificate to virtually anyone, including “non-physician cosmetic practitioners”.

If boards with lower standards are allowed to advertise as board-certified, the term loses its value to Virginia patients seeking an adequately trained and qualified physician.

We suggest changing Virginia’s regulatory code to specify that “board-certified” must refer to an ABMS, AOA, or other boards that maintain similarly high standards of certification.

Although this is a problem being brought forward by the Virginia Society of Plastic Surgeons, this is an issue recognized by many specialty medical societies. Nationwide, there is a coalition of physicians that have approved these efforts in other states and have approved specific language to be included in state regulations. This national Truth in Advertising Coalition includes the following organizations:

  • American Medical Association
  • American Academy of Dermatology Association
  • American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
  • American College of Emergency Physicians
  • American Osteopathic Association
  • American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Desired Outcome:

Change Virginia’s regulatory code to specify that “board-certified” must refer to an ABMS, AOA, or other boards that maintain similarly high standards of certification.

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Comments

I strongly support this reform/bill.  Keep up the good work and ty for your time and commitment to helping our patients.

 

Rick Lee MD

Lynchburg

removal of advertizing of which boards one has is of great benefit to ABMS

The leading body of the prompting the cumbersome and expensive maintenance of certification programs and which has insured its survival by refusing any new boards be created for decades.  I totaly oppose any ruling that would prevent non ABMS boards to automaticaly be labeled as substandard as it is not true

removal of advertizing of which boards one has is of great benefit to ABMS

The leading body of the prompting the cumbersome and expensive maintenance of certification programs and which has insured its survival by refusing any new boards be created for decades.  I totaly oppose any ruling that would prevent non ABMS boards to automaticaly be labeled as substandard as it is not true

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