In an effort to provide patients with more clarity and transparency in their search for a health care practitioner, a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Thomas Giblin and Angelica Jimenez called the “New Jersey Health Care Transparency Act” was signed into law Monday.
The law (formerly bill A-4143/S-2465) requires health care professionals to clearly and accurately state their license and degree when advertising their practice and providing in-person care to patients. Any misleading or deceptive information in an advertisement regarding the professional’s training, skills, education, expertise and licensure/certification is prohibited.
In order to help patients understand the professional’s qualifications, in-person notification must be provided through office signage and a nametag/embroidered identification worn by the provider that lists their license and degree. The legislation also specifies that medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine can only describe themselves as “board certified” if they meet a specific set requirements.
Upon the legislation becoming law, the sponsors issued the following statements:
“When it comes to a professional field as complex and diverse as health care, we must have clarity and consistency across the board,” said Assemblyman Conaway (D-Burlington). “Patients need access to information that will help them make an educated decision about who to entrust their care to, based on the care each professional can actually provide. This law will make sure advertising and labeling clearly states a provider’s qualifications.”
“It is far too common for patients to be confused about whose services they are seeking due to similar titles being given to different specialists,” said Assemblyman Giblin (D-Essex, Passaic). “For example, someone seeking a psychiatrist may accidentally visit a mental healthcare professional who is not able to prescribe the medicine they require. Patients need straightforward information from providers to understand the differences between them.”
“When someone is experiencing a medical problem, the last thing they should have to worry about is how to figure out whether a professional is qualified to give them the specific care they need,” said Assemblywoman Jimenez (D-Bergen, Hudson). “Requiring health care professionals to clearly and accurately state their qualifications and skills will make it easier for patients to find who they’re looking for and get the help they need.”