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The analysis of any legal or medical billing is dependent on numerous specific facts — including the factual situations present related to the patients, the practice, the professionals and the medical services and advice. Additionally, laws and regulations and insurance and payer policies are subject to change. The information that has been accurate previously can be particularly dependent on changes in time or circumstances. The information contained in this web site is intended as general information only. It is not intended to serve as medical, health, legal or financial advice or as a substitute for professional advice of a medical coding professional, healthcare consultant, physician or medical professional, legal counsel, accountant or financial advisor. If you have a question about a specific matter, you should contact a professional advisor directly. CPT copyright American Medical Association. All rights reserved. CPT is a registered trademark of the American Medical Association.

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California Physical Therapy Advertising 

Can I advertise my practice?

A physical therapist may advertise the provision of any services authorized to be provided by a physical therapy license. Such advertising shall be in a manner described below so long as such advertising does not promote the excessive or unnecessary use of such services.

It is unlawful for any person licensed under this division or under any initiative act referred to in this division to disseminate or cause to be disseminated any form of public communication containing a false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive statement, claim, or image for the purpose of or likely to induce, directly or indirectly, the rendering of professional services or furnishing of products in connection with the professional practice or business for which he or she is licensed.

A “public communication” as used in this section includes, but is not limited to, communication by means of mail, television, radio, motion picture, newspaper, book, list or directory of healing arts practitioners, Internet, or other electronic communication.

What is considered to be a false or misleading statement?

A false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive statement, claim, or image includes a statement or claim that does any of the following:

    • Contains a misrepresentation of fact.
    • Is likely to mislead or deceive because of a failure to disclose material facts.
    • Is intended or is likely to create false or unjustified expectations of favorable results, including the use of any photograph or other image that does not accurately depict the results of the procedure being advertised or that has been altered in any manner from the image of the actual subject depicted in the photograph or image.
    • Use of any photograph or other image of a model without clearly stating in a prominent location in easily readable type the fact that the photograph or image is of a model.
    • For purposes of this paragraph, a model is anyone other than an actual patient, who has undergone the procedure being advertised, of the licensee who is advertising for his or her services.
    • Use of any photograph or other image of an actual patient that depicts or purports to depict the results of any procedure, or presents “before” and “after” views of a patient, without specifying in a prominent location in easily readable type size what procedures were performed on that patient.
    • Any “before” and “after” views:
      • o   shall be comparable in presentation so that the results are not distorted by favorable poses, lighting, or other features of presentation, and
      • o   shall contain a statement that the same “before” and “after” results may not occur for all patients.
    •  Relates to fees, other than a standard consultation fee or a range of fees for specific types of services, without fully and specifically disclosing all variables and other material factors.
    • Contains other representations or implications that in reasonable probability will cause an ordinarily prudent person to misunderstand or be deceived.
    • Makes a claim either of professional superiority or of performing services in a superior manner, unless that claim is relevant to the service being performed and can be substantiated with objective scientific evidence.
    • Makes a scientific claim that cannot be substantiated by reliable, peer reviewed, published scientific studies.
    • Includes any statement, endorsement, or testimonial that is likely to mislead or deceive because of a failure to disclose material facts.

Any person so licensed may not use any professional card, professional announcement card, office sign, letterhead, telephone directory listing, medical list, medical directory listing, or a similar professional notice or device if it includes a statement or claim that is false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive.

What is required if I advertise my prices?

Any price advertisement shall be exact, without the use of phrases, including, but not limited to, “as low as,” “and up,” “lowest prices,” or words or phrases of similar import. Any advertisement that refers to services, or costs for services, and that uses words of comparison shall be based on verifiable data substantiating the comparison. Any person so advertising shall be prepared to provide information sufficient to establish the accuracy of that comparison. Price advertising shall not be fraudulent, deceitful, or misleading, including statements or advertisements of bait, discount, premiums, gifts, or any statements of a similar nature. In connection with price advertising, the price for each product or service shall be clearly identifiable. The price advertised for products shall include charges for any related professional services, including dispensing and fitting services, unless the advertisement specifically and clearly indicates otherwise.

Any person so licensed shall not compensate or give anything of value to a representative of the press, radio, television, or other communication medium in anticipation of, or in return for, professional publicity unless the fact of compensation is made known in that publicity.

What may be included in my advertisement?

Advertising by any person so licensed may include the following:

    • A statement of the name of the practitioner.
    • A statement of addresses and telephone numbers of the offices maintained by the practitioner.
    • A statement of office hours regularly maintained by the practitioner.
    • A statement of languages, other than English, fluently spoken by the practitioner or a person in the practitioner’s office.
    • A statement that the practitioner is certified by a private or public board or agency or a statement that the practitioner limits his or her practice to specific fields.
    • A statement that the practitioner provides services under a specified private or public insurance plan or health care plan.
    • A statement of names of schools and postgraduate clinical training programs from which the practitioner has graduated, together with the degrees received.
    • A statement of publications authored by the practitioner.
    • A statement of teaching positions currently or formerly held by the practitioner, together with pertinent dates.
    • A statement of his or her affiliations with hospitals or clinics.
    • A statement of the charges or fees for services or commodities offered by the practitioner.
    • A statement that the practitioner regularly accepts installment payments of fees.
    • Otherwise lawful images of a practitioner, his or her physical facilities, or of a commodity to be advertised.
    • A statement of the manufacturer, designer, style, make, trade name, brand name, color, size, or type of commodities advertised.
    • A statement, or statements, providing public health information encouraging preventive or corrective care.
    • Any other item of factual information that is not false, fraudulent, misleading, or likely to deceive.

Citations

Cal. Bus. and Prof. Code § 651

16 CCR § 1398.10



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