New Bill Requires Changes to Advertisements and Delegation in New Jersey

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, November 13, 2020

A new bill requiring health care professionals to make certain disclosures in their advertisements and identification badges, as well as providing penalties for improperly delegating tasks, is one step from becoming law in New Jersey. Senate Bill 2465 (S 2465) has already passed the New Jersey Senate and the State Assembly, and now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. You can read the text of the bill here.
The preamble of S 2465 explains the intended purpose behind this bill: There are a number of professions and degrees that allow for the use of “doctor,” but this can often be confusing to the public. Studies find that people commonly confuse DCs, DNs, DPMs and psychologists with medical doctors. Therefore, the purpose of this bill is to clearly and directly inform the patients about what type of professional they are seeing and what their credentials are. Under S 2465, all advertisements for health care services that include the name of a health care professional must not be deceptive or misleading. This includes any false or misleading information regarding the professional’s licensure, training or certifications. “Advertisements,” in this context, are not just TV or radio ads, but also any other type of communication, including in emails, on business cards and on your website. “Health care professional” also is broadly defined as anyone who needs a license issued by the state government to practice a health care profession, but does not include electrology, genetic counseling, massage and bodywork therapy, mortuary science, or veterinarian medicine.
The health care professional must also communicate the specific license they hold in the office in two main ways: They must wear a name tag containing certain information during patient encounters, and a poster or sign with this information must be clearly visible in the office. In addition to needing the professional’s full name, the name tag must also state the license they hold, state the expiration date of the license and display a recent photograph of the professional. The requirement that the professional clearly disclose the license held and the prohibition of being “false or misleading” will likely prohibit the use of informal titles and certifications such as “certified injector,” “medical aesthetician” or “nurse injector.”
In addition to the above notice requirements, S 2465 has a few provisions that may affect the operation of some New Jersey medical spas. When a physician supervises or works in a collaborative practice agreement with other non-physicians, they must additionally post a conspicuous schedule of hours that the physician is present in that office. The bill also explicitly makes is unlawful for a health care professional to:
Each day the professional fails to comply with those provisions constitutes a separate offense. In addition to any punishment, all fees or amounts the professional has billed to patients shall be refunded to them, and all disciplinary actions, fines or sanctions imposed will be publicly reported.
This bill will become effective the seventh month after it is signed. Because this bill has very exacting requirements for name tags and signage, all health professionals in New Jersey should begin reviewing and updating their materials to be compliant. Additionally, because of the stiff penalties and punishments possible for improperly delegating tasks or allowing unlicensed persons to perform tasks, health care professionals should carefully review their current practices to make sure that are not in violation of these provisions.
While S 2465 is not yet law, it is likely that it soon will be unless it is vetoed by the governor. It will impose a new set of notifications and requirements, but these can be addressed relatively easily without needing to unduly disrupt your current practice.