Physician Certification Advertising Rules

Physician Certification Advertising Rules

In September 2018, in response to a Maryland bill promoting competition in physician certification, the U.S. Department of Justice issued an opinion in favor of more board certification options. The DOJ placed a special focus on medical industry influencers who back proposals that impose unnecessary requirements on physicians, which can “constrain the supply of specialized practitioners.”

One such proposal targets physician certification advertising. Laws governing this may differ between states, but most require that advertisements avoid misleading or untrue statements. Under the proposed rule, which has a broader reach, physicians would have the ability to advertise as board-certified only if they are certified with certain boards. This new rule would, in effect, limit competition by discriminating against physicians certified by other certification boards, such as the American Board of Physician Specialties®.

According to the DOJ, Maryland should consider ways to promote competition “by legitimate certifying bodies, consistent with patient health and safety.” As a nationally recognized choice in physician certification, the ABPS fully agrees with the DOJ.

In another case, in December the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery rightly questioned the Medical Board of California’s decision to prevent its surgeons from advertising their board certification.  With elective cosmetic procedures increasing each year, so does the number of unqualified doctors entering the field in order to capitalize on consumer demand. California’s decision, based on its Truth in Advertising legislation, does nothing to mitigate this problem, as it gives monopoly power to a particular certifying body at the expense of patient safety.

At the ABPS, we are committed to providing patients with the best health care possible. Our certification standards are notably stringent for a reason – to ensure that only the most skilled and knowledgeable practitioners go on to achieve board certification. Therefore, any rule that limits physician certification advertising denies patients a measure of access to highly skilled ABPS Diplomates, which limits choice and stifles competition.

By passing rigorous exams and completing several hours of continuing medical education every year, ABPS physicians distinguish themselves as exceptionally dedicated practitioners who are among the leaders in their fields. The expertise that ABPS Diplomates bring to their practice not only boosts the reputation of medical organizations, but also serves to assure patients that they will receive world-class medical care at hospitals where ABPS Diplomates are on staff.

The ABPS believes that competition leads to improved patient care as well as more innovation. No certifying body in this country, no matter how well-established, can be the sole provider of the innovation necessary to continually improve medical care. With more competition comes more opportunities for talented board-certified physicians to improve the lives of the patients they serve.

To learn more about why fair certification advertising rules can lead to better patient care, contact the ABPS today.

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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine