AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has voiced its support for the U.S. Supreme Court decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners vs. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in which the justices affirmed that state regulatory boards are not exempt from federal antitrust laws.
On Wednesday, February 25, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a North Carolina dental regulatory board, made up mostly of dentists, does not have the authority to tell dental hygienists to stop offering teeth whitening services. The justices affirmed the FTC's previous stance that the dental board's actions constituted an illegal suppression of competition.
According to AANP, the ruling helps ensure state regulatory boards protect the best interests of patients by limiting unnecessary, anticompetitive restrictions that impede access to care, increase costs and exacerbate delays. The group says the decision will also improve transparency surrounding health care regulatory processes, and encourage states to provide oversight to regulatory boards across the health care sector.
"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," said David Hebert, Chief Executive Officer of AANP. "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."
In August 2014, AANP joined several other national nursing in groups in filing a friend of the court brief in support of the FTC position backed by the court.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of more than 205,000 NPs, including approximately 57,500 individual members and 200 organizations, providing a unified networking platform and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered and personalized health care. The organization provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers.
SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners