KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

AMA: FTC Decision On Who Can Whiten Teeth Could Change Medical Practice Regulation

The doctors' group says the federal rule could have a "devastating impact on public health" by impeding state regulation. Other legal cases in today's news include a dentist in trouble in Florida and a deal on mental health care in Arizona.

Modern Healthcare: AMA Seeks Reversal Of FTC Ruling
The AMA filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., seeking to reverse an FTC order forbidding the state dental board to restrict nondentists from whitening teeth in North Carolina. ... "That effect would reach far beyond providers of teeth whitening services, far beyond dental boards, and far beyond North Carolina. In fact, as this brief will demonstrate, affirming the FTC order would greatly impede state regulation of the practice of medicine, with a devastating impact on public health, at least within the Fourth Circuit and perhaps nationally" (Robeznieks, 5/17). 

Meanwhile in Florida, recent administrative law decisions could undermine professional board decisions.

Health News Florida: Legal Opinion Forces Dental Board To Drop Fraud Charges
Professional boards have always held doctors and dentists responsible for filing accurate claims and honest bills. Deliberate overcharges or fraud could end a career. Now a legal opinion in a South Florida dental case has placed that assumption in question. It has forced dismissal of fraud charges against two dentists, including one who is to come before the Board of Dentistry today in Panama City (Gentry and Sexton, 5/18).

In an Arizona lawsuit, officials announced an agreement on care for the mentally ill.

Arizona Republic: Interim Deal OK'd In Arizona Mental-Health Case
Gov. Jan Brewer, state health officials and attorneys for the seriously mentally ill today announced a two-year agreement in a landmark class-action lawsuit that governs treatment of some of the state's most vulnerable residents. Key to the agreement was new funding for people with serious mental illnesses who don't qualify for Medicaid. Roughly 12,000 people lost about $50 million worth of services in 2010. The budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 includes $38.7 million for this population (Reinhart and Sanchez, 5/17).

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