Wednesday, July 23, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court to Determine States' Authority to Set Scope of Practice

In early October, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear North Caroline Board of Dental Examiners v. the Federal Trade Commission to determine scope of practice regulation. The case stems from the North Carolina Dental Board's policy that prohibits non-licensed dentists from administering teeth-whitening treatments.  This issue came to light when the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners issued cease and desist letters to spas, mall kiosks, and other pedestrian locations that began to offer teeth-whitening services. 

State medical and dental boards in all 50 states currently regulate scope of practice.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asserts that this facilitates monopolies and inhibits competitive pricing in many cases.  Medical and dental groups argue that the FTC doesn't have the authority to oversee state practice and that patient safety is a critical component to any medical or dental care.  Scope of practice is, thus, a critical component to ensuring that those administering such treatments are qualified, competent, and certified.   

What do you think? Does a federal agency have the right to interfere with state law? Should state medical and dental boards oversee scope of practice?

Read more about this case at 

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