AMA advocacy is bringing positive changes to FTC actions

LETTER — Posted Sept. 10, 2012

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Regarding “FTC decision jeopardizes authority of medical boards, doctors say” (Column, Aug. 20): The AMA is spearheading efforts to combat overly aggressive advocacy and antitrust enforcement actions against physicians by the Federal Trade Commission. In addition to participating in the litigation against the FTC, AMA leadership has met directly with the FTC commissioners to make clear that the FTC does not have the clinical expertise to make judgments regarding the competency of health care professionals to perform medical procedures.

Since our meetings, FTC letters to state medical boards and legislators no longer include misleading clinical judgment, and disclaimers have been added, stating that “FTC staff are not experts in patient care or safety,” and do not offer advice on such matters. The FTC also has agreed to reach out to medical associations before drafting letters in the future and has said that meetings with the AMA led to changes in the language and tone of FTC advocacy letters.

While we are pleased with progress made to date, concerns remain that overzealous enforcement of antitrust laws can negatively impact the ability of state medical boards to regulate medicine and protect patient safety. The AMA will remain actively engaged to alleviate physician concerns and protect them from overreaching antitrust enforcement.

Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, President, American Medical Association

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/09/10/edlt0910.htm.

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