Notice To Consumers Regulation
Effective June 27, 2010, a new regulation, mandated by Business and Professions Code section 138, will go into effect requiring physicians in California to inform their patients that they are licensed by the Medical Board of California, and include the board's contact information. The information must read as follows.
The purpose of this new requirement (Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 1355.4) is to inform consumers where to go for information or with a complaint about California medical doctors.
- Prominently posting a sign in an area of their offices conspicuous to patients, in at least 48-point type in Arial font. (See link "Sign for printing", below, to print the actual notice.)
- Including the notice in a written statement, signed and dated by the patient or patient's representative, and kept in that patient's file, stating the patient understands the physician is licensed and regulated by the board.
- Including the notice in a statement on letterhead, discharge instructions, or other document given to a patient or the patient's representative, where the notice is placed immediately above the signature line for the patient in at least 14-point type.
NOTICE TO CONSUMERS: Frequently Asked Questions
If I choose the signage option, where should it be posted?
The language of the regulation reads, "Prominently posting the notice in an area visible to patients on the premises where the licensee provides the licensed services.." The board expects a common-sense interpretation/application of this regulation. Your waiting room, examination rooms, or patient-registration area are the most obvious choices.
How do I comply if my practice setting is not a traditional physician's office?
Physicians are responsible for the implementation of this regulation. This means you must make sure, regardless of practice setting, that the regulation is being complied with. Probably the easiest way is to make sure the necessary sign is posted in an area where patients are likely to see it, e.g., waiting room, discharge location.
Are there any exceptions, e.g., radiologists, pathologists?
No, but the board anticipates working with physician groups to refine this regulation.
Must the disclosure be made in other languages?
Does the regulation apply to hospital and clinic settings?
Yes. Again, this regulation applies to every location where medicine is practiced by a physician in California, and that includes hospitals, nursing homes, medical clinics, outpatient facilities, urgent care centers, etc. It is the responsibility of the physician(s) who practice there to see that this regulation is complied with. At this time, we are leaving it to physicians and the facilities they work in to determine where the sign, should the physicians(s) choose that option, is to be posted. In hospitals and multi-level clinics, posting in a conspicuous place on each floor where patients are likely to see it would be a good-faith gesture that would suffice.
Does this regulation apply to osteopaths?
No. Medical doctors (M.D.s) only.
Does the physician's name have to be disclosed along with the other, mandated information?
No. The only information required is the exact language in the regulation noted in bold, above.
Must physicians who make house calls comply with this regulation?
Yes. Option (b) (2) or (3) would work.
Are physicians' facilities where the physicians themselves do not practice medicine exempt from this regulation?
No, because the affiliated healing arts professionals who see the patients are under the direct supervision of physicians.
Can I post the sign or provide the wording for the permissible options in another language?
Yes. Although the sign or other permissible notification must be in English in order to meet the requirements of the regulation, we encourage you to provide that same sign or information in other languages as well if it will better assist your patient population.
If a California physician is offering medical services outside of California, is he/she required to provide this notice to out-of-state patients?
No, the Medical Board of California only has jurisdiction over what occurs in California.