Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dentists: Patient Advocates

From the New Haven Independent 3/24:

State dentists could get a monopoly on the lucrative business of teeth whitening pending action by a commission they control.

The State Dental Commission held a hearing in December to review whether teeth whitening should be classified as "dentistry" - a move that would result in the procedure being done only under a dentist's supervision. The commission is set to vote on the issue at its May 11 meeting. If the panel rules that it is dentistry, others who provide the service in shopping malls, salons and spas could be put out of business.

You think this is unreasonable? You think this is just a craven power play by a State Commission to monopolize a lucrative side business flimsily related to dental health? You see a conflict of interest in that the Dental Commission is comprised almost entirely of...dentists? Are you crazy? Just wait till you see what is coming down the pike in other fields:

The American Hand Surgery Commission is considering a resolution that defines all finger nail clipping as "digital-related surgery". Early drafts of the bill would require Americans to obtain finger nail clipper licenses from a Hand Surgeon-approved weekend instructional class. (To be renewed every three years.)

Rumors have it that the American College of Dermatologists are hoping to define the application of any SPF lotion above 30 as "practical dermatology" thereby mandating a visit with your local dermatologist and a prescription prior to that summer trip to the Outer Banks.

Working its way through subcommittees is a resolution from the State Board of Pediatrics that would try to re-classify classic remedies for your kids' colds as "rudimentary pediatric medicine". So no more over the counter Vicks to your kids' scrawny chests. No more TLC. No more ginger ale without a prescription. And the only chicken soup you can administer your kid is the the leftover slop that your pediatrician fed her family the previous night.

The Bariatric Surgery Commission is close to an agreement that would deem any form of exercise as a "bariatric intervention", to be monitored by highly trained obesity specialists. GPS monitors would be placed on anyone with a BMI of over 30 to ensure that nobody obese is moving faster than a crustacean without first seeking advice from a friendly local bariatric surgeon and informed of the harmless, easily tolerated surgical options in the War on Obesity.

Finally, the American Society of Pulmonologists and Critical Care Intensivists is lobbying to regulate the way Americans breathe. It isn't just a gasp or a sigh or a mere inhale. No sirree. Just because you breathe involuntarily doesn't mean that a highly trained sub specialist shouldn't be lucratively involved in your own personal world of O2/CO2 exchange. A mechanism that complex requires close surveillance. If enough votes are garnered, citizens will be forced to see a pulmonologist every 6 months for a full assessment of his or her "respiratory mechanics".


Asinine Academia said...

While I love your blog, and will always insist upon a physician as my healthcare provider over any other "practitioner", don't you feel a bit of cognitive dissonance about disliking these government created monopolies, but simultaneously not wanting consumers to chose a cheaper (and less qualified) NP for their routine healthcare needs? Or a technician suitably trained in a specific procedure?

To my mind, it's a bit disingenuous to want to curtail anything that limits the scope of your profession, while simultaneously curtailing other professions.

People have the choice (or rather should) of using whomever they want for their healthcare...witchdoctor, shamen, nurse practitioner. It's their problem if that practitioner isn't trained. Will I always want a real physician and pay for that extra expertise...yes. Is it right to force everyone to pay for that high level of expertise when a less knowledgeable, but cheaper alternative is available...no.

Joseph Sucher, MD FACS said...

Is this satire? This is so absurd that it appears to border on the impossible.

Maybe Charlie Sheen is behind all of this. That's the only way I can make sense of it.

Anonymous said...

There is not a shred of a "professional scope" concern involved in this.


NikkiK said...

While I generally enjoy your blog, I do take issue with this. Of course, that's because I have a personal connection - I work as a dental assistant. While I generally don't care where people whiten their teeth, I know at least for the dentist I work for, the concern is not about the money, or the whitening; it's about the fact that people think that whitening is all they need to do.

My boss regularly tells people to use Crest White Strips (at <$40/kit, it's much more reasonable than the in-office procedure). BUT not until their decay in their mouth is taken care of. I'm astounded by how many people want to whiten teeth that are actually darkened by untreated decay. Or who want to just whiten the front ones when they have broken teeth and obvious abscesses just behind the smile line. A technician has neither the tools nor the training to diagnose decay or gum disease.

Jeffrey Parks MD FACS said...

I am not opposed to NP or PA's providing baseline medical care. Nor do I have a problem with a CRNA administering my anesthetic. I've even blogged about the equivalent care provided by CRNAs vs MD anesthesiologists.

Good point, but do you really truly believe that "dental health" is the underlying driving force behind this attempt to limit the availability of a very lucrative cosmetic procedure??