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Enforcement of Commercial Violations by Health Professional Regulatory Boards: A Research Note

JHHSA, Vol. 28 No. 3, (2005)

This article explores the nature of disciplinary decisions of
health professional regulatory boards in response to commercial
violations by licensees. Decisions of the Virginia Boards of Dentistry,
Medicine and Optometry are analyzed to assess the extent to which
disciplinary decisions appear to protect the economic interests of
professionals versus the health, safety and welfare of the public.
Sanctions imposed on commercial and non-commercial violations are
compared. Given the criticism that regulatory boards are more
concerned with commercial practices rather than quality of care
practices, it was expected that board disciplinary actions would reflect
this concern. The results indicate that there is no significant difference
in the severity of sanctions imposed on both types of violations.
Commercial violations, when compared with non-commercial
violations, are not sanctioned more harshly by regulatory boards. The
implications for self-interest theories of professional regulation and
policies governing commercial practices of health professionals are

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