Alabama dental regulators have agreed to drop a competitive anti-scheme that has shut down teledenster services in the state.
As part of the consent agreement announced Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the Alabama Dental Examiners Board would stop enforcing rules that “limit consumer choice and exclude new providers” that provide braces and other dental alignment services.
These rules were created in 2017, after startups like SmileDirect Club started working in Alabama. According to the FTC, the board has taken steps to stop the expansion of “clear aligner suppliers in Alabama through the teledentistry model” by amending its rules to ban dental hygienists and other medical professionals from scanning. Alignment device. Previously, licensed dentists were allowed to supervise scans remotely. Under the new rules, they must be on site when scanning.
Over the next two years, the board distributed non-stop letters to service providers who provided these services without the site’s unlicensed dentists.
The FTC argued against the board, arguing that “the dental board’s actions have deprived Alabama consumers of a convenient alternative to dental alignment treatment at low cost, without any valid argument or defense.” The commission says it “unreasonably restrained competition” and violated federal law.
A sequel to the FTC’s 2015 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in a lawsuit challenging competitive anti-behavior by a similar board in North Carolina. In that case, the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners sent intermittent and intermittent letters to kiosks providing teeth whitening services. The practice of whitening teeth, declared by the board, can only be done by licensed dentists.
When the lawsuit was settled out of court in the U.S. Supreme Court, the judges ruled that licensing boards controlled by “active market participants” could not deliberately create anti-competitive rules যদি unless those boards were “actively supervised” by other elements of the state. As a result, competing lawsuits may be filed against the licensing board for violating federal antitrust laws.
The decision opens a new legal avenue to challenge repressive licensing boards that limit economic opportunities by preventing competition in some professional professions. Maureen Ohlhausen, then chairman of the FTC, said it was a great defeat for overcoming state control and “the result of 15 years of effort”. Because Shortly after the verdict.
The lawsuit was settled out of court in Alabama, where six of the seven board members are licensed by law and are required to actively practice dentistry. And the board’s actions “are not reviewed or approved by neutral state officials with the power to veto or amend its decision”, the FTC found.
Under the terms of the consent agreement between the FTC and the Alabama Dental Board, the Board does not acknowledge any violation of the law or involvement in alleged competitive adversarial behavior. But, going forward, the board has agreed to stop the need for site supervision by licensed dentists for alignment scans required for teledentistry services.
That should pay off for Alabama residents – of whom about 1.8 million live in areas that are perceived to lack dental professionals and would obviously benefit from a larger supply of teledenster services – which is something to laugh at.