Federal Appeals Court Panel Upholds State Rules on Physician Advertisements
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld state rules that limit the content that physicians can include in their advertisements, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. The regulations, enacted in 1994, mandate that physicians cannot advertise that they are "board certified" from medical institutions in the event that those institutions do not meet standards established by the Medical Board of California. In the case, the Sonora-based American Academy of Pain Management filed a lawsuit against the state over allegations that the rules violated the First Amendment after the medical board said that physicians could not advertise that they are board certified by the group. Judge Procter Hug ruled that the rules did not the violate First Amendment rights of physicians because the regulations did not prevent them from "advertising that they limit their practice to certain fields or that they are members of, or have had special education from, non-qualified boards or associations." Hug wrote, "Such consistent usage informs the medical community and the general public that the physicians and surgeons advertising that they are 'board certified' have met a certain standard of postgraduate education and experience" (Kravets, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.