RE: New APA-backed U.S. House Bill Attacks Consumer Confusion about Physicians and Non-Physicians
We are pleased to let you know that today Representative John Sullivan (R-OK) and Representative Gene Green (D-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation to help safeguard patients from misleading claims by healthcare providers about qualifications and training. Representatives Sullivan and Green were joined by Representatives Michael Burgess (R-TX), Joe Schwarz (R-MI), Charles Bass (R-NH), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) as original cosponsors.
The bill, the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act, will promote patient safety and informed choice by better distinguishing between physicians and non-physician groups who create confusion by their apparent efforts to cloak themselves in the medical or physician label. As an example of the potential for consumer confusion, your DGR provided our congressional leaders with examples of the growth in the use of "medical psychologist" -- a misleading and frankly meaningless term that is the creation of those in organized psychology who seek prescriptive authority by state legislative fiat, not by virtue of medical education or training. The Sullivan bill says that:
‘It shall be unlawful for any person who is a licensed health care service provider but who is not a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of dental surgery, or doctor of dental medicine to make any deceptive or misleading statement, or engage in any deceptive or misleading act, that deceives or misleads the public or a prospective or current patient that such person is a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of dental surgery, or doctor of dental medicine or has the same or equivalent education, skills, or training. Such deceptive or misleading statements or acts shall include advertising in any medium, making false statements regarding the education, skills, training, or licensure of such person, or in any other way describing such person’s profession, skills, training, experience, education, or licensure in a fashion that causes the public, a potential patient, or current patient to believe that such person is a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of dental surgery, or doctor of dental medicine.’
As part of our ongoing efforts to deal withnon-physician scope issues, the APA has also joined a coalition of medical specialties and the AMA in foundingthe Coalition for Health Care Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency (CHART), which is committed to promoting and supporting the Sullivan bill.
Both the Sullivan bill itself, and APA's membership in and support for the CHART organization, together with APA's founding role in the AMA scope of practice center, are concrete examples of our continuing efforts to proactively respond to the psychology prescribing struggle. We hope theapproach taken by the Sullivan bill willoffer our District Branches and State Associationsa template for relatedefforts in the states. At a minimum, enactment of the Sullivan bill will provide a means at the federal level of addressing efforts by non-physician groups to use tactics that may mislead and confuse the public. As part of our ongoing campaign to assist our District Branches and State Associations, APA is also working on other legislative "templates" that we hope will be of use in playing offense as well as defense in the states.
Trick-cycling's post about nurse practitioners and physicians, along with today's well-timed announcement, made me think of posting this. I do find still that many folks don't know their ologist from their iatrist. Now there's the urse actitioner. The legislation would require these non-MD providers to correct patients, when asked the question, "What's up, Doc?"