If the Affordable Care Act is upheld by the Supreme Court, approximately 32 million individuals will gain access to health insurance starting in 2014, requiring the services of a wide range of health care professionals.
The Truth and Transparency Act sponsored by Representatives John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and David Scott (D-Ga.) will make it easier for patients to understand the qualifications of their health care professionals and make the best choices about their care.
Specifically, HR 451 would make it unlawful for any health care professional to make deceptive statements or engage in any act that misleads patients whether in person, in advertisements or marketing efforts as to one's education, training, degree, licensure, or clinical experience.
A 2008 survey commissioned by the Scope of Practice Partnership of the American Medical Association indicated that 93 percent of people supported legislation requiring medical professionals to clearly state their education, training and licensing in advertisements. The survey found widespread confusion about whether certain types of health care professionals were physicians.
The Truth and Transparency Act would bring advertising standards in medicine in line with those of other industries. HR 451 gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) authority to fine health care professionals for failing to include their full credentials in advertisements or for misleading patients about their qualifications.
The legislation requires the FTC to conduct a study of health care professionals for the purpose of identifying those acts and practices that would constitute a violation of deceptive health care provider marketing. The Truth and Transparency Act has bipartisan support of more than 50 Members of Congress.