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Consumer Information and Awareness Act


1    To amend Chapter 1 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to

2    general provisions relative to professions and businesses, so as to provide for certain

3    identification by health care practitioners to patients with regard to their license; to provide

4    for a short title; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for definitions; to require that

5    advertisements identify a health care practitioner's license; to require identifiers and signage;

6    to provide for applicability; to provide for violations; to provide for related matters; to

7    provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


9    SECTION 1.

10  Chapter 1 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general

11   provisions relative to professions and businesses, is amended by adding a new Code section

12   to read as follows:

13   "43-1-33.

14   (a)   This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Consumer Information and

15   Awareness Act.'

16   (b) The General Assembly hereby finds and declares that:

17   (1)  There are numerous professional degrees that include the term 'doctor,' such as

18   Doctor of Medicine (M.D.); Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.); Doctor of Dental Surgery

19   (D.D.S.); Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.); Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.);

20   Doctor of Optometry (O.D.); Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.); registered professional

21   nurses  or  advanced  practice  registered  nurses  (nurse  practitioners,  clinical  nurse

22   specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified nurse anesthetists) with doctorate

23   degrees (D.N.P., D.N.S., Ph.D., or Ed.D.); audiologists with doctorate degrees (A.U.D.);

24   speech-language pathologists with doctorate degrees (S.L.P.D. or Ph.D.); and other

25   designations, which may be used by health care practitioners; and

26   (2) Each health care professional receives education and training that qualifies them to

27   provide general and specialized services respectively.  This training is necessary to

28   correctly detect, diagnose, prevent, and treat serious health conditions.

29   (c) As used in this Code section, the term:

30   (1) 'Advertisement' means any communication or statement, whether printed, electronic,

31   or verbal, that names a health care practitioner in relation to his or her practice,

32   profession, or institution in which the practitioner is employed, volunteers, or otherwise

33   provides health care services.  This term includes business cards, letterhead, patient

34   brochures, e-mail, Internet, audio, and video.

35   (2) 'Health care practice or facility' means a hospital, physician practice setting, nursing

36   home, assisted living community, or personal care home.

37   (3) 'Health care practitioner' means a:

38   (A) Chiropractor licensed pursuant to Chapter 9 of this title;

39   (B) Professional counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist licensed

40   pursuant to Chapter 10A of this title;

41   (C) Dentist licensed pursuant to Chapter 11 of this title;

42   (D) Dietitian licensed or registered pursuant to Chapter 11A of this title;

43   (E)Advanced  practice  registered  nurse,  including  nurse  practitioner,  certified

44   registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, registered

45   professional nurse, and licensed practical nurse, licensed or registered pursuant to

46   Chapter 26 of this title;

47   (F) Occupational therapist licensed pursuant to Chapter 28 of this title;

48   (G) Optometrist licensed pursuant to Chapter 30 of this title;

49   (H) Physical therapist licensed pursuant to Chapter 33 of this title;

50   (I) Physician or osteopath licensed pursuant to Chapter 34 of this title;

51   (J) Physician assistant licensed pursuant to Chapter 34 of this title;

52   (K) Acupuncturist licensed pursuant to Chapter 34 of this title;

53   (L) Podiatrist licensed pursuant to Chapter 35 of this title;

54   (M) Psychologist licensed pursuant to Chapter 39 of this title;

55   (N) Audiologist or speech-language pathologist licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 of this

56   title;

57   (O) Pharmacist licensed pursuant to Chapter 4 of Title 26;

58   (P) Ophthalmic technician;

59   (Q) Medical assistant or certified nursing assistant; and

60   (R) Respiratory care professional certified pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 34 of this

61   title.

62   (d)(1) An advertisement by a health care practitioner shall identify the type of license the

63   health care practitioner holds.

64   (2)  This subsection shall not apply to an advertisement by a health care practice or

65   facility and shall not be construed to require any such practice or facility in which

66   multiple health care practitioners are employed to list in an advertisement the name of

67   every health care practitioner so employed by such practice or facility.

68   (e)(1) A health care practitioner providing services in this state in a health care practice

69   or facility shall conspicuously post and affirmatively communicate the practitioner's

70   specific licensure to all current and prospective patients as follows:

71   (A)(i)   The health care practitioner shall wear an identifier during all patient

72   encounters that shall include:

73   (I) The health care practitioner's name; and

74   (II) The type of license or educational degree the health care practitioner holds.

75   (ii) The identifier shall be of sufficient size and be worn in a conspicuous manner so

76   as to be visible and apparent. A lab coat or similar distinguishing clothing or uniform

77   indicating the practitioner's specific licensure may be considered an identifier if such

78   clothing or uniform meets the requirements of division (i) of this subparagraph.

79   (iii) An identifier shall not be required in an operating room or other setting where

80   surgical or other invasive procedures are performed or in any other setting where

81   maintaining a sterile environment is medically necessary.

82   (iv) An identifier shall not be required in any mental health setting where it would

83   impede the psychotherapeutic relationship.

84   (v)  If a safety or health risk to the health care practitioner or a patient would be

85   created as a result of the practitioner wearing such identifier in a specified practice

86   setting, an identifier shall not be required or may be modified by omitting or

87   concealing the last name of the practitioner in accordance with the requirements of

88   the health care practice or facility; and

89   (B) A health care practitioner in a health care practice or facility other than a hospital

90   shall display in the reception area of such practice or facility a notice that clearly

91   identifies the type of health care practitioners employed in such practice or facility and

92   the right of a patient to inquire as to the type of license of the health care practitioner

93   treating such patient.  The notice shall be of sufficient size so as to be visible and

94   apparent to all current and prospective patients.

95   (2)  A health care practitioner who practices in more than one office shall place the

96   identifier information conspicuously on such practitioner's website if he or she maintains

97   a website.

98  (3)A health care practitioner who practices in a nonpatient care setting and who does not 

99  have any direct patient care interactions shall not be subject to the provisions of this 

100  subsection.

101  (4)A health care practice or facility which requires, as of the effective date of this Code 

102  section, its health care practitioners to wear an identification badge shall not be required 

103  to replace such badges to conform to the requirements of subparagraph (A) of paragraph 

104  (1) of this subsection.

105  (5)Except as otherwise provided by paragraph (6) of this subsection, this subsection 

106  shall only apply to health care practices and facilities where more than one type of health 

107  care practitioner interacts with patients in exam settings. This subsection shall not apply 

108  to health care practices or facilities in which only one type of health care practitioner 

109  practices.

110  (6)This subsection shall only apply to a dentist if such dentist is practicing in a hospital. 

111  This subsection shall only apply to a chiropractor or optometrist if such chiropractor or 

112  optometrist is practicing in a hospital, nursing home, assisted living  community, or 

113  personal care home.

114  (f)A health care practitioner who intentionally violates any provision of this Code section 

115  may be subject to disciplinary action by the health care practitioner's professional licensing 

116  board. Notwithstanding the imposition of any sanction, the health care practitioner's 

117  professional licensing board may seek an injunction or other legal means as appropriate 

118  against such health care practitioner violating this Code section.

119  (g)A violation of this Code section shall not constitute a private cause of action."

120  SECTION 2.

121  This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law 

122  without such approval.

123  SECTION 3.

124  All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.


214 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
© 2012 Georgia Secretary of State