Supreme Court Ruling Has Regulatory Implications for APN Practice
Friday, February 27, 2015
On February 25, 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that a North Carolina dental regulatory board illegally suppressed competition when it prevented non-dentists in the state from providing teeth-whitening services.
In the case of North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners vs. Federal Trade Commission, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling in which the FTC deemed the actions of the dental board to have been an illegal suppression of competition.
This case has far reaching implications for professional regulatory boards whose actions aim to restrict the practices of lower-cost providers of similar services. Contrary to the argument made by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, the fact that the board was a state agency did not exempt it from federal anti-trust laws.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners applauded the ruling, with a statement by AANP Chief Executive Officer, David Hebert, noting that "Many health providers, including nurse practitioners, understand first hand that state regulatory boards have the capacity to pose practice restrictions that do not reflect the best interests of the public. We have seen patients unnecessarily suffer as a direct result of meaningless constraints placed by external professional boards on qualified professionals. We are therefore extremely gratified by the Court's decision and anticipate that it will positively impact health care delivery nationwide."
The Supreme Court ruling further strengthens arguments in support of MCNP/MANA legislation, An Act to Remove the Restrictions on the Licenses of NPs and CRNAs as Recommended by the Institute of Medicine and the Federal Trade Commission, and in particular our goal of removing the Mass Board of Registration in Medicine's authority over the Mass Board of Registration in Nursing's adoption of regulations.
Please remain engaged and stay tuned for the next chapter in what is already shaping up to be a very exciting legislative session.