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.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine