The Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act of 2015
A new bill that is making its way onto the desks of legislators throughout Capitol Hill, is posing serious threats to the discipline of chiropractic care and its role in the United States healthcare system moving forward. With an ominous name like The Truth In Healthcare Marketing Act of 2015, there are so many potential implications without true knowledge of what this bill means for our healthcare system.
Essentially, the Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act of 2015 provides an additional system of regulation and monitoring for service providers that are not given M.D. or D.O. designation. More specifically, the bill calls for the involvement of the Federal Trade Commission in assessing the performance and the nature of a provider’s effectiveness. If a service provider is acting in a way that misleads or deceives patients, than the Federal Trade Commission has the right to document and effectively shut down these providers.
So how does a service provider engage in misleading or deceitful practices with respect to their patients? The founders of this bill point to marketing tactics efforts to expand the patient network as the main forms of misleading patients, but there are many more that are highlighted in the bill as bench markers for the Federal Trade Commission to assess.
This piece of legislation is especially concerning for those within the chiropractic care community as not only are chiropractors not registered as M.D. or D.O. professionals, but that chiropractic clinics are among the most controversial service providers in terms of their reputation on Capitol Hill. Many interest groups, such as the American Chiropractic Association and the Patients' Access to Responsible Care Alliance, feel that that this legislation is targeting chiropractic care along with many other alternative medicine disciplines in an effort to reduce funding allocations and minimize competition in healthcare. Additionally, these groups fear that this bill adds a whole new element of uncertainty to the decision that patients make in seeking the proper care pathway.
As this bill moves throughout Capitol Hill, there is a growing concern that the qualifications of chiropractic professionals will be called into question and that there will be an increased level of scrutiny placed on the results and costs of chiropractic clinics across the country. Chiropractic professionals, interest groups, and patient advocate groups have made a commitment to fighting this bill and ensuring that there is not a new level of adversity presented to an already unstable discipline of medicine.