Medical Board Convenes Task Force on Specialty and Board Certification Advertising

This week the NC Medical Board’s Task Force on Specialty and Board Certification Advertising met for three hours. The purpose of the meeting was to provide the Board with input on a proposed rule  to regulate advertising of board certification by its licensees. The task force consisted of three Board members (including two physicians) and nine physicians representing a variety of interested specialties. The group heard presentations from several organizations ranging from national entities that oversee medical specialty boards to state specialty societies.

For many years, the Board has published a “position statement” on this issue. Those statements, however, are not enforceable in the same manner as a rule would be. Position statements have a sentinel effect and provide a safe harbor for licensees who comply with them. Violation of a rule on the other hand, may lead to disciplinary action by the Board. The Medical Board, using input it received during the task force deliberations, will need to balance the right of every licensee to make truthful, non-misleading statements about their qualifications with the need to ensure the public is not misled by claims of certification from bogus boards.

Those with input for the Medical Board on standards for advertising board certifications are encouraged to communicate their views to Christina Apperson (christina.apperson@ncmedboard.org) at the NCMB by June 18, 2010. Please send a copy of your letter or email to Stephen Keene (skeene@ncmedsoc.org) or Amy Whited (awhited@ncmedsoc.org) at the NC Medical Society. The NCMS is preparing comments based on input from its members and affected specialty organizations. A proposed rule may be considered by the NCMB as early as July 21, 2010.

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