Message From the President
I want to lead off this latest edition of our newsletter by thanking each of you for your membership in the Virginia Society of Plastic Surgeons. We have had a substantial increase in membership over the past year and our Society now has over 50 members! As our society grows, our voice grows louder advocating for our patients and we are better able to network with each other. Thank you again.
The VASPS Board met via conference call April 24. Financially we are healthy and are able to continue legislative monitoring and occasional regulatory initiatives with our legislative consultant James Pickral of Commonwealth Strategy Group. The VASPS Biennial meeting plans are proceeding well; we have secured event space at the Boar’s Head Inn for the Meeting October 26-27 and are working on the educational schedule and CME crediting. Dr. Rod Rohrich is confirmed as our visiting professor. We are also hoping to have a presentation by the FDA about ALCL and are working on offering a CME course on opiod prescribing so you can take care of this Virginia requirement at our meeting. This will not be a home game football weekend for UVA, so that means the room rate at the Boar’s Head Inn will be substantially less expensive!
We are welcoming abstracts or interesting case submissions to our Bienniel Meeting; if you have something you would like to present this will be an excellent venue to share your experience with your Virginia colleagues. Please contact Chris Pfrang, our executive director at email@example.com if you would like more information on submission format. Our website will also have links for this soon.
The 2017 legislative season is over and we are pleased to report progress on two initiatives the VASPS is working on. The first item is HB 2119 governing laser hair removal in Virginia. Previously, the purchase and operation of lasers and IPL devices for hair removal in Virginia was unregulated, meaning that anyone, even those without a medical license, could own and operate them. That is no longer the case. This bill passed and is now law, but its regulatory actions need to be refined by the Board of Medicine. The VASPS is working with the Board of Medicine as they develop the specific regulations this bill will cover, with the next meeting scheduled for September to discuss the matter. Stay tuned.
The second item is our “Truth in Advertising” initiative, which we presented to the MSV’s Advocacy Summit on May 5 in Richmond. We have partnered with the ASPS on promoting ethical advertising regulations that will govern what it means when someone advertises they are “board certified”. Currently, Virginia regulations state that anyone who advertises this must:
Currently, Virginia’s regulations state under 18VAC85-20-30. Advertising ethics.:
D. A licensee shall disclose the complete name of the specialty board which conferred the certification when using or authorizing the use of the term “board certified” or any similar words or phrase calculated to convey the same meaning in any advertising for his practice.
Unfortunately, this language does not specify that such a board has to be a legitimate one. For example, a diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery is currently well within his/her rights in Virginia to advertise themselves as “board certified”, according to the current regulations. After paying fees, taking an open-book written exam and a webcam-administered oral exam, the American Board of Laser Surgery offers “board certification” and a fancy certificate to virtually anyone, including “non-physician cosmetic practitioners”. We feel this type of “board certification” is misleading and potentially dangerous to Virginia patients, most of whom associate the term “board certified” with “accomplished and skilled” but are unable to differentiate between high and low-quality training.
We will be working with the MSV in the next few months to gain their support for changing Virginia’s regulatory code to specify that “board-certified” must refer to an ABMS, AOA, or other boards that maintain similarly high standards of certification. Stay tuned for more in the coming months. In the meantime, if you are aware of examples of unethical advertising or websites by Virginia practitioners, please bring them to our attention!
Thank you again for your support of our society and I wish you a good summer!
Henry Wilson, MD
As you are probably aware, the FDA’s March release of five year USA data citing 359 reported cases of ALCL, most in textured implants, has been reported in the press and is gathering more ongoing media attention including this article in the New York Times earlier last month. Patients are asking about it and we are seeing more inquiries regarding whether their implants should be removed or exchanged. The VASPS advises discussing the possibility of ALCL with each patient who is receiving breast implants whether for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons, especially when textured implants are being considered.
by: James Pickral
Since the end of the 2017 General Assembly session things have been busy here in the Commonwealth. VASPS has been working on several issues that affect our membership.
On May 5th, Dr. Henry Wilson, current President of the Society, presented a request for regulatory change to the Medical Society of Virginia at their annual Advocacy Summit. The change entails modifying the existing regulation regarding advertising. The current regulation states that if a physician claims to be board certified then the full name of the board must be included in the advertisement. As we know, there are organizations that claim to be boards who have unacceptably low standards. Our suggestion is that a board must be a recognized board with standards comparable to ABMS standards. This doesn’t limit certification to ABMS but does ensure that when a consumer sees the term “board certified” they can be confident that the physician has been properly trained and educated in the area for which they are advertising.
Legislation was passed in the 2017 session of the General Assembly to set limits on the prescribing of opioids. These limits now include prescribing for acute pain after surgery. Unless extenuating circumstances are clearly documented in the medical record an opioid prescribed as part of treatment for a surgical procedure shall be for no more than 14 consecutive days. These regulations are in effect now. You can download and review the full regulations here: View Regulations Governing the Prescribing of Opioids and Buprenorphine.
This is an important election year in Virginia. The offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General are all on the ballot. Additionally, all 100 seats of the House of Delegates are on the ballot as well in their respective Districts. Primaries for both political parties will be held on June 13th. The General Election will be held on November 7th. You can find out more information on the upcoming elections here: http://www.vpap.org/elections/ .