FTC to examine how to boost healthcare competition
The Federal Trade Commission wants to know if outdated regulations are squelching healthcare innovations such as telehealth, retail clinics and advanced nurse practices that could cut healthcare costs.
On March 20-21, the FTC is holding a public workshop in Washington to examine healthcare competition, with a live webcast of the event. It wants public input on some of the most hotly debated questions in healthcare:
Are the professional boards that regulate healthcare stifling competition by preventing non-physicians such as nurse practitioners and dental hygienists from practicing in hospitals and retail clinics to the full extent of their training?
Do state licensing and other regulatory barriers prevent the adoption of technologies such as telehealth across state lines?
Is it possible to publish healthcare prices to enhance market competition without facilitating price-fixing?
The FTC has been active in these types of debates. Later this year, the agency will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, defending its decision to prohibit a North Carolina dental board from enforcing scope-of-practice rules. Last January, the agency supported legislation in Massachusetts to remove physician-supervision requirements for advanced-practice nurses.