Though its code seems to be pretty standard, Arkansas throws a bit of a wrinkle into healthcare marketing on medical websites by potentially penalizing physicians who advertise the quality of their medical services. Since “quality” is such a vague word, this could make it very difficult to legally highlight your practice’s high levels of care and excellent cosmetic results in your healthcare advertising. Be sure to talk with your legal counsel and have them review your marketing materials for compliance with all relevant laws and statutes.
Arkansas State Medical Board
A.C.A. § 17-95-409
Denial, suspension, or revocation – Grounds.
(a)(1) The Arkansas State Medical Board may revoke an existing license, impose penalties as listed in § 17-95-410, or refuse to issue a license in the event the holder or applicant, as the case may be, has committed any of the acts or offenses defined in this section to be unprofessional conduct.
(2) The words “unprofessional conduct”, as used in the Arkansas Medical Practices Act, §§ 17-95-201 – 17-95-207, 17-95-301 – 17-95-305, and 17-95-401 – 17-95-411, are declared to mean: (…)
- (L) (i) Soliciting for patronage;
- (ii) Advertising for patronage in a false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading manner;
- (iii) Advertising the quality of medical services; or
- (iv) Advertising illegal procedures and practices
Sample Best Practices
We’ve developed some sample best practices to help you get started discussing your medical marketing with your legal counsel in more detail. Find out if you need to take steps to avoid the following:
- Advertising in a false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading manner.
- Advertising the quality of the medical services you provide, which most likely means that you should avoid comparing your services to those offered by other doctors, or making claims that your are a leader/innovator/expert/etc., even if this is in fact the case.
- Advertising that you perform illegal procedures.
- Making scientific claims that cannot be substantiated.
- Assuring a permanent cure for an incurable disease.
- Showing patient before and after photos without indicating that results vary and the results shown are not a guarantee.
- Showing models without clearly indicating that the photos are not of actual patients.
- Saying you are board-certified without including in any advertising the name of the board that has certified you.
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