October 17, 2014 — The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Texas business groups are urging the rejection of new rules proposed by the state dental board regarding dental service organizations (DSOs), saying they would restrict dentists’ ability to contract with DSOs and could hamper business competition.
While the proposed rule changes do not expressly refer to DSOs, the “rules seem likely to discourage dentists from affiliating with DSOs by mandating that dentists assume responsibility for the types of functions that DSOs typically provide, and by expanding the board’s authority to take disciplinary action against dentists who enter into such prohibited agreements,” according to an FTC letter by three staff members sent to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE).
The new rules (22 Tex. Admin. Code § 108.70 and 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 108.74) would impose “new restrictions on the ability of Texas dentists to enter into contracts with ‘unlicensed persons’ for the provision of nonclinical services, such as administrative support and business functions” and “would make dentists who own, maintain, or operate a dental practice that employs a dentist ‘responsible for all administrative and operational’ functions,” they wrote.