Christopher L. Nuland, Esq.
General Counsel

Recent events have called into question how those with minimal training can advertise cosmetic medical services with little or no training. Unfortunately, this trend is not new, and the FSDDS has worked diligently to protect the public and profession by promoting legislation and rules designed to ensure that misleading advertising is not used to fool the public.

For instance, in 1996 the FSDDS helped pass not only HB 699 (which places restrictions on aesthetic services provided in satellite offices), but also HB 587, the Truth in Medical Education (TIME) Bill. Under this law, any advertisement for health care services that names a practitioner must include the licensure under which the practitioner operates, and all a patients are entitled to have disclosed to them the licensure of any person providing treatment.

The TIME Bill also contained language in which the Legislature found a “compelling state need” to enact advertising laws that would prevent practitioners from misrepresenting their credentials to the public. As a result, the Board of Medicine’s advertising rules received the backing they needed to withstand a constitutional challenge.

Under these rules, found at 64B8-11.001, physicians may not disseminate any misleading information in their advertising. Among the prohibitions is a requirement that a physician may not hold himself or herself out as a specialist unless they hold board certification by a board approved by the Board of Medicine (the FSDDS continues to fight to ensure that only those accrediting boards meeting the highest standards are approved by the Board of Medicine). Moreover, a physician may not advertising board certification without also disclosing the board granting such certification. While enforcement of these rules has been less than vigilant, the FSDDS recently appeared before the Board of Medicine, where the FSDDS received assurances that the Board would actively prosecute violations of these rules.

The FSDDS is working diligently to protect both the profession and the public by promoting the enactment of statutes and rules to require that all health care advertising is accurate and not misleading and continues to fight for the vigilant protection of these consumer-friendly laws.