What does SB 230 do?
SB 230 creates a new section in chapter 456, F.S., which applies to all health care practitioners regulated by the Department of Health (DOH) or its boards. The bill defines key terms such as advertisement, educational degree, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representation, and profession. Further, it lists several titles and designations that are reserved for allopathic or osteopathic physicians.
The bill provides that if anyone other than an allopathic or osteopathic physician uses any of these titles or designations in an advertisement or in a way that is misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent, they are committing unlicensed practice of medicine or osteopathic medicine and are subject to penalties under s. 456.065, F.S.
The bill also provides some exceptions for certain professions and titles authorized under their respective practice acts. For example, dentists can use the title "doctor" or "Dr." if they also indicate their profession as dentists. Similarly, podiatric physicians can use the title "podiatric physician" or "podiatrist" if they also indicate their degree as DPM.
The bill also allows health care practitioners to use titles and specialty designations that are authorized under their respective practice acts. For example, advanced practice registered nurses can use the title "APRN" and their role designation such as CRNA, CNP, etc.
How does SB 230 affect health care practitioners?
SB 230 revises the grounds for disciplinary action for health care practitioners who fail to comply with the new requirements. Specifically:
- A practitioner must wear a name tag that includes his or her name and profession when treating or consulting with a patient unless he or she is in his or her office where his or her license is prominently displayed in a conspicuous area.
- A practitioner must verbally identify himself or herself by name and profession to all new patients.
- Any advertisement naming a practitioner must include his or her profession and educational degree.
- The DOH or its boards must adopt rules to determine how practitioners must comply with these requirements.
When does SB 230 take effect?
SB 230 has an effective date of July 1, 2023. However, it still needs to pass both chambers of the Legislature and be signed by the Governor before it becomes law.
Why is SB 230 important?
SB 230 protects consumers from being misled or deceived by healthcare practitioners who use titles or designations that imply they have more qualifications than they actually do. According to Senator Harrell, “This legislation will ensure Floridians receive accurate information about their healthcare providers’ education level so they can make informed decisions about their healthcare.”
The bill also prevents confusion among consumers who may not be familiar with the different types of health care practitioners and their scopes of practice.
The House companion, HB 583 by Massullo, has three remaining committees of reference. To date, no committee has heard the bill.