FTC to ex­am­ine how to boost health­care com­pe­ti­tion

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEAK AHEAD - —Joe Carl­son

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.

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