Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 1, 2012

AG, Portsmouth hospital settle misleading-ad case

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and a Portsmouth hospital have reached an agreement to settle allegations of misleading advertising.

Attorney General Jack Conway on Wednesday announced that under the agreement, known as an assurance of voluntary compliance, Southern Ohio Medical Center will pay $2,000 to the state.

The agreement was tendered Wednesday in Franklin Circuit Court, according to a news release from Conway’s office.

Although it’s in Ohio, the Attorney General’s Office took action against SOMC because the hospital markets its services to Kentucky consumers.

The allegations against SOMC stemmed from the hospital’s promotion of its “hybrid room,” which features heart catheterization and surgery in the same room.

The Attorney General’s Office maintained SOMC’s advertisements for the hybrid room were misleading because they represented the service as something not available at other hospitals. The commercials stated: “The hybrid room is something you won't find at other institutions.”

In fact, King’s Daughters Medical Center also has a hybrid heart catheterization/operation room, according to Conway.

SOMC has corrected the representations and has agreed to cease further misleading advertising, the news release states.

“Hospitals, like all businesses that market and sell products and services in Kentucky, must follow laws relating to truth in advertising,” Conway said. “I am pleased that we have reached an agreement that puts a stop to this type of misleading advertising.”

Under Kentucky law, any false, misleading, deceptive or unfair act in trade or commerce is prohibited. All companies are required to have prior substantiation for claims they make, or that a reasonable consumer would understand to be made when reading, hearing or watching an advertisement.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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