Registrar’s message: increasing awareness of the College and the importance of licensing and regulation

Over the past five years, the College has been successful in prosecuting a number of unlawful practitioners who have made false claims about their credentials, used reserved titles to imply that they are registered and licensed to practise medicine, or performed medical procedures such as cosmetic surgery, and injecting Botox and dermal fillers.

Recently, an unlawful practitioner was incarcerated for 60 days for contempt of two BC Supreme Court injunctions prohibiting her from injecting Botox. 

Read the news release and backgrounder here.

We are also aware of recent advertising infractions by other regulated health professionals involving false or unverifiable claims of treatment, cures and specialization, which have the potential to mislead the public and put their health at risk.

Registrants have an important role to play in educating patients about the risks associated with receiving services from unlawful practitioners, and the importance of verifying an individual’s credentials before agreeing to any treatment or procedure, especially if it carries risk. 

Regulations in California require all physicians and surgeons licensed by the Medical Board of California to inform patients that they are licensed and regulated by way of public signage in a conspicuous place in their office, and on each floor in every location where they practise medicine (e.g. hospital, nursing home, clinic, outpatient facility or urgent care centre). The public notice must include contact information for the Medical Board of California—website and phone number—should patients want to check their physician’s credentials or find out more information about the regulatory body. 

Maintaining public confidence in the health-care system and the individuals who work in the system has never been more critical. Patients should be aware that they are being treated by a qualified physician or surgeon who is licensed and registered to practise medicine in BC. We also feel it’s important that members of the public know that physicians and surgeons are governed by the College, and know how to contact the College if they need to. 

The College has reviewed California’s Regulations and is considering implementing a similar requirement for registrants to post conspicuous signage in all practice settings indicating that they are licensed and regulated. This would require a new bylaw. More information on this proposal will be provided in the coming months.

To share your thoughts on this proposal, click here.

Heidi M. Oetter, MD
Registrar and CEO

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