New Jersey Limits Advertising of Non-ABMS Boards
Physician advertising has been an ongoing issue for ASPS and its members throughout the country, and the Society works to ensure that appropriate advertising restrictions are not only in place, but properly enforced nationwide.
In New Jersey, an extensive effort recently culminated in the enactment of legislation limiting which board certifications physicians are permitted to advertise, using language that ASPS has long supported.
In late August, the Medical Society of New Jersey and New Jersey Office of Legislative Services reached out to a group of medical societies, including ASPS, in search of clarification on the meaning of language in the AMA's model truth in advertising (TIA) bill that limits advertising board certification. This was an indication that the New Jersey Legislature was poised to act on the language, and so ASPS clarified the intention of the policy: to ensure that any physician advertising board certification has completed an ACGME or AOA residency that provides complete training in the specialty being advertised.
Legislation begins to take shape
The Society's feedback and recommended language was incorporated into New Jersey legislation introduced earlier in the year, the New Jersey Health Care Transparency Act, which includes a number of additional TIA and identification provisions.
The amended bill passed the state Senate unanimously, however, the conversation soon shifted to additional amendments, with the state's dental lobby voicing concerns regarding OMS being inappropriately impacted and requesting an amendment. Upon reviewing the proposed amendment, ASPS staff felt it was overly broad and would have allowed some OMS diplomates with prohibited certifications – such as those with certifications from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery -- to advertise in the state while all the other non-OMS specialists are restricted. In response, ASPS proposed alternate language that would allow OMS to advertise only OMS dental specialization, and the issue was removed from consideration.
The final push
In order to generate momentum for the Society's recommended language in the bill, ASPS submitted supportive testimony to the New Jersey Assembly Health Committee and launched a grassroots campaign to members in the state, through which New Jersey physicians urged their elected officials to pass the bill and limit board certification advertising.
The efforts of ASPS and the New Jersey Society of Plastic Surgeons came to fruition in October, when the measure passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee and subsequently the full New Jersey General Assembly unanimously. The total vote count throughout the committee and floor processes was a resounding 177-0 in favor of the bill.
The passage of the New Jersey Health Care Transparency Act was a decisive win for both the specialty and patients in the state of New Jersey. ASPS is a strong proponent of legislation limiting advertising of non-ABMS boards and ensuring truth in advertising across the healthcare delivery environment. It is paramount that the high standards for physician advertising of board certification are upheld, and the Society will continue to engage in efforts to advance policies on this key issue on behalf of ASPS members nationwide.