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ASA Supports New Health Care Provider Transparency Legislation

Thursday, May 13, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the United States prepares to add 32 million more patients to the healthcare system through healthcare reform, 11 of the leading medical societies in the country joined together today to publicly support the introduction of the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2010.

The bill, introduced by Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) and Rep. David Scott (D-GA), provides much needed clarification and resources to address patient confusion in the healthcare marketplace. The bill adds enhanced transparency requirements regarding the delivery of healthcare and additional resources to support existing federal regulations.

“The bill empowers patients,” said Alexander A. Hannenberg, MD, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. “A properly informed patient will be better prepared to make healthcare decisions. As physician specialists providing care in highly complex environments such as the operating room and intensive care unit, we believe it is essential that patients clearly understand the training and qualifications of those at their bedside. We welcome the introduction of the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2010 and commend Representatives Sullivan and Scott for their leadership on this important and timely patient issue.”

A nationwide survey conducted in 2008 confirmed that there is increasing patient confusion regarding the many types of healthcare providers – including physicians, technicians, nurses, physician assistants and other allied providers. The study further found that patients want accurate information about these providers.

“The truth and transparency act would significantly reduce patient confusion and safeguard the public by prohibiting the dangerous practice of some healthcare providers who use misleading terminology to misrepresent themselves or their qualifications,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Patients should be confident in their healthcare decisions without having to second-guess their providers’ credentials.”

Passage of the bill would make it unlawful for any healthcare professional to make deceptive statements or engage in any act that misleads patients whether it is in person, in advertisements or marketing efforts as to one’s education, training, degree, licensure or clinical experience.

“As our nation embarks on the implementation of comprehensive healthcare reform, it is important for patients to have accurate information on those individuals providing their care. This legislation will take significant steps toward educating consumers on who is providing their healthcare, thus empowering patients to have a more proactive role in their healthcare,” said Larry Wickless, DO, president of the American Osteopathic Association.

About the Coalition
The following medical societies are a part of the coalition in support of the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2010:

American Academy of Dermatology Association
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American College of Surgeons
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association
American Society of Anesthesiologists
American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Reps. Sullivan and Scott Introduce Bipartisan Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act

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