ILLINOIS - PHYSICIAN ADVERTISING AND SOLICITATION

January 1, 2008

Illinois state laws and regulations that affect your medical practice

1. May physicians advertise in Illinois?

Illinois allows physician advertising but puts some limitations on the ad content.

225 ILCS 60/26

Ads cannot contain a false or misleading statement regarding the physician's skill or the efficacy or value of prescribed medicine, remedy or treatment. Also prohibited is the promotion of the sale of drugs, devices, etc. in a manner that exploits the patient for financial gain, any statement that is false, fraudulent, misleading or deceptive and representations that an incurable condition can be cured. Testimonials are not allowed, and neither are claims of superiority, guarantees of success, fee comparisons, statements that play on the vanity or fears of the public or statements which promote or produce unfair competition.

225 ILCS 60/26

3. May a physician participate in activities that solicit prospective patients?

It is grounds for discipline for a physician to solicit professional patronage by any corporation, agents or persons, or profiting from those representing themselves to be his/her agents.

225 ILCS 60/22

4. May a physician advertise their fees and that services are provided free of charge or at discounted rates?

Illinois prohibits advertising the waiver of a co-payment or deductible. If fees are stated, it must be noted that fees could be adjusted in the event of complications or unforeseen circumstances. It is unlawful to advertise fee comparisons of available services with those of other persons licensed under the Act.

225 ILCS 60/26

5. What are the restrictions on physicians on announcements of practice locations?

All ads must include the licensee's title as it appears on his license. Publication of the person's name, title, office hours, address and telephone number may be included, as well as information pertaining to the person's areas of specialization, including appropriate board certification and limitation of professional practice. A licensee may also include information on usual and customary fees for routine professional services offered, but the information must include notification that fees may be adjusted due to complications or unforeseen circumstances. A licensee may announce the opening of, change of, absence from, or return to business as well as announcement of additions to or deletions from professional licensed staff. Advertising must contain all information necessary to make the communication informative and not misleading, and must identify the type of license held by the licensee. The information in an ad must be communicated in a direct, dignified and readily comprehensible manner.

225 ILCS 60/26; 68 Ill. Admin.Code §1285.245

Copyright Kern Augustine Conroy and Schoppmann, P.C. Used with permission.