This week, the FTC is convening a two-day public workshop in Washington titled “Examining Health Care Competition.” The FTC is seeking information about whether outdated regulations are squelching the potential of telemedicine, including telemental health and retail clinics to take costs out of the healthcare system. The agency also wants to know whether non-physicians should be allowed to take on more job duties, and whether consumers facing higher out-of-pocket spending can benefit from price transparency.
It will examine some of the most hotly debated questions in 21th century healthcare:
- Are the professional boards that regulate healthcare stifling competition by preventing non-physician providers such as advanced-practice nurses and dental therapists from practicing to the full extent of their training in hospitals and retail clinics?
- Do regulatory barriers prevent the adoption of technologies such as telemedicine across state lines, which could save money and extend access in remote areas?
- Is it possible to publish healthcare prices to create market competition without also creating the risk that the providers will simply engage in price-fixing after their trade-secret prices are revealed?
The FTC is also soliciting the comments of all stakeholders electronically by April 30. To submit your own comments regarding licensure, please see this page.