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Federal Trade Commission (FTC) State Engagement

The FTC is increasing its antitrust examination of state medical board and state legislative actions, particularly those concerning scope of practice. The American Medical Association (AMA) is concerned that these actions will chill the ability and willingness of state legislatures, regulators, and boards of medicine to initiate legislation, regulation, or other actions to protect the public for fear of potential antitrust liability.

The AMA believes that the antitrust "state action exemption" should be interpreted to protect the work of state professional boards.  In particular, scope-of-practice actions of state medical boards are, and should be, immune from successful antitrust challenge under the antitrust state action exemption doctrine, even if the board consists primarily or entirely of practicing physicians. The AMA also believes the FTC must closely examine it's ability to advocate on such complex medical issues as the relative competency of providers of perform certain medical procedures.

Antitrust relief is a  priority for physicians. The AMA stands ready to work with our state medical associations and national medical specialty societies to address this concerning trend of FTC engagement.  Please see the resources below for more information on FTC engagement at the state level.

Please contact Kristin Schleiter, JD, Legislative Attorney, with any questions.

Resources

AMA Amicus Briefs: 
North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC (U.S. Supreme Court brief in support of petition for certiorari)
North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC (Fourth Circuit)

AMA White Paper:
Application of the State Action Antitrust Exemption to Actions of State Medical Boards

Antitrust law and state medical boards
Frequently asked questions 

Chart:
50 state survey - medical board composition

Issue brief: 
AMA engagement with FTC at the state level

AMA Correspondence