Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bill Would Clarify Clinicians' Credentials, Stop Misrepresentation

When is a doctor not a doctor? That question is the focus of legislation just introduced in Congress and supported by APA calling for clarification of any practitioner’s qualifications and licensure. The Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act of 2013 (H.R. 1427) refers to surveys conducted in 2008 and 2010 and points out that “patient confusion result[s] from ambiguous health care nomenclature…” because “consumers are often unaware of the differences in, and seek more information about, the qualifications, training, and education of their health care professionals.”

For example, patients are often confused by obscure sets of initials following a practitioner’s name or by titles (like “medical psychologist”) that may not be connected to any actual professional license. The bill requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to identify misleading practices regarding health care practitioners' credentials and detail instances of harm these practices may have caused. It would prohibit any misrepresentation of a person’s licensing, training, or expertise, and be enforced by existing FTC measures. APA, the AMA, and other medical professional organizations have urged Congress to pass this bill.

(Image: Richard Cavalleri/


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