FTC Warns of Excessive State APRN Regulation

FTC Warns of Excessive State APRN RegulationDecember 5, 2014 by Vickie Anenberg

Well-intentioned regulation of Advanced Practice Nurses at the state level has the potential for negative impact across the full spectrum of healthcare provider organizations. This is the finding of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

In a report filed earlier this year, “Competition and the Regulation of Advanced Practice Nurses,” the Commission noted, “(W)ell-intentioned laws and regulations may impose unnecessary, unintended or overbroad restrictions on competition, thereby depriving healthcare consumers of the benefits of vigorous competition.”  

Further, the FTC commissioners stated, “While state legislators and policymakers addressing health care issues are rightly concerned with patient health and safety, an important goal of competition law and policy is to foster quality competition, which also furthers health and safety objectives. Likewise, to ignore competitive concerns in health policy can impede quality competition, raise prices, or diminish access to health care – all of which carry their own health and safety risks.”

Section III.A.3, “Fixed Supervision Requirements May Constrain Innovation in Health Care Delivery Models,” may be of particular interest to provider organizations. In it, the Commission states, “As the health care marketplace evolves, new models of provider organization and collaboration typically represent an important form of innovation in health care delivery and quality … Rigid physician supervision requirements not only inhibit competition by independent APRNs, but also may constrain the ability of physician practices, hospitals, retail clinics, and other providers to experiment with flexible oversight and collaboration arrangements for employed or otherwise-affiliated APRNs.”

Healthcare providers in each state should review any proposed regulations to determine if they contain unintended consequences that may have a negative impact on care delivery, patient safety, or revenue. To understand the full scope of APRN regulation according to the FTC, download the report before state legislators begin convening in January.

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