On January 3, 2018, the Florida Medical Board’s Rules/Legislative Committee published intended final approval for physicians in Florida to advertise their certification by the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (ABEM). The ABEM requested this rule change in late fall of 2017, with the final approval going into effect in early 2018.
Previously, if physicians in Florida wanted to advertise ABEM certification on marketing materials, the following statement was required: “The specialty recognition identified herein has been received from a private organization not affiliated with or recognized by the Florida Board of Medicine.”
“I did not want to add that statement at the end of my letterhead, but did want to remain in compliance with the Florida Board of Medicine regulations,” said David J. Sinclair, MD, Panama City, Florida. “I understand why the Florida Board of Medicine has the regulation in place. There are a plethora of certifications available to physicians that have neither a discriminating process to qualify nor a rigorous exam that demonstrates eminence. Consumers and providers need a metric to compare physicians and the phrase ‘board certified’ need not be diluted frivolously.”
Dr. Sinclair said that the ABEM exam, however, is different than others in than it requires extensive preparation and training. “It was far more rigorous than that of other certifications I hold … and I hope it continues to be that way. To find that the Florida Medical Board had yet to recognize ABEM certification was a surprise at first, but I was confident they would realize it is a mark of excellence. I’m glad to have that confidence confirmed.”
Currently, more than 150 physicians are ABEM-certified in the state of Florida. Physicians considering advertising opportunities to promote their ABEM certification should research applicable state laws to ensure compliance. Advertising of ABEM certification was approved by the Texas Medical Board in December 2016.