Patient’s Right to Know: Groundbreaking New Legislation Requires Health Care Providers to Give Patients More, Clearer Information
Bill to Empower Patients, Simplify Confusing Health Care System
LANSING—Physicians with the Michigan State Medical Society today stood with patients across the state in support of new legislation being unveiled by state Representative Gail Haines that would give patients the transparency they deserve when it comes to their health care.
In order to make informed decisions, physicians believe patients ought to have access to the best, most accurate information about who is treating them and what their health care provider is trained and licensed to do, which is more than the system currently affords them. The Patient’s Right to Know bill, being introduced today in the state House, requires medical professionals to wear and display their credentials and expertise both in the office and/or hospital, as well as in any advertising promoting their services.
“Confusing titles and misleading advertisements may cause patients to mistakenly believe they are meeting with physicians or other health care providers when they are actually meeting with someone with a different set of experiences and training altogether,” said Haines (R-Waterford), Chair of the House Health Policy Committee. “Guaranteeing patients the right to know who is delivering their health care will help fix a confusing system and empower them to make better health care decisions.”
The Patient’s Right to Know bill puts patients first by:
- Requiring all health care professionals to wear a name tag during all patient encounters that clearly identifies the type of license they hold;
- Requires all health care professionals to visibly display their education, training and licensure in their offices; and
- Ensures that any advertisements or professional websites created to promote health care services clearly identify the type of license the provider holds and the extent of services they are legally permitted to provide.
“There is no place for confusion in health care that can put patient safety at risk,” said Kenneth Elmassian, D.O., a Lansing area anesthesiologist and President-Elect of the Michigan State Medical Society. “A confusing health care system can lead to medical errors and patient harm when patients or their loved ones mistakenly take advice from medical professionals whose training or experience is something other than what the patient believed or expected. Patients are entitled to transparency when it comes to their health care providers.”
According to a recent national survey, only half of patients believe that it is easy to identify who is a licensed medical doctor—and who is not—by reading their title or other advertising materials.
By contrast, 87 percent of patients believe that health care providers, including physicians, should be required to more clearly display their level of training and legal licensure.
MSMS is a professional association of more than 16,000 Michigan physicians. Its mission is to promote a health care environment which supports physicians in caring for, and enhancing the health of Michigan citizens through science, quality, and ethics in the practice of medicine. Please visit www.msms.org/ for more information.