State lawmakers are looking to build upon the successes of last session to increase efficiency and reign in regulatory overreach by taking on the multiple boards and commissions that regulate the health professions in the state.
HB2501 would make three primary improvements that will benefit both the licensed community and consumers:
- Saving Money by Relocating the Health Boards
Many boards spend thousands of dollars on renting space, such as the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners that spends $7,492 a month and the Board of Nursing that spends $24,405 a month. Under HB 2501, all of the health boards beginning in FY 2017 would be relocated to the Department of Health Services, which would save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
- Provide Oversight of Board Rules and Contracts
A recent Supreme Court case, North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners VS Federal Trade Commission, it was determined that industry boards autonomous from direct oversight did not have immunity from antitrust laws. In the case of the North Carolina, the Dental Examiners Board was issuing cease and desist letters to mall kiosks distributing teeth whitening services on the grounds that their board regulated dental services in the state and teeth whitening fell under services only a licensed dental profession could administer. To prevent continued regulatory overreach by the health boards, HB 2501 would give the AZ Department of Health Services Director the authority to reject Board rules if they are anticompetitive in nature. This is a major victory for increased competition and consumer choice.
- Conduct ongoing studies to uncover more efficiencies and cost savings
In conjunction with the physical move, the Arizona Department of Health Services will continue to study the board’s consolidation efforts and make recommendations on additional ways to streamline operations and create continuity between the boards. This ensures ongoing continued improvement as well as accountability to the regulated community. For example, the Medical Board has an annual budget of $5.7 million but takes in almost $7 million in fees and services. This is clearly an opportunity to examine the proper fee assessments and put money back into the pockets of the regulated community.
HB2501 has successfully passed out of the House and now awaits a committee hearing in the Senate. This is one of the most aggressive efficiency bills of the session and would take a large step in reigning in industry boards that tend to overreach and put up barriers to their competition.