HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

State Medical Boards Can Place Restrictions on Physicians in Practice Specialties

Puerto Rico regulations that prohibit physicians from performing cosmetic surgery if they are not trained in that specialty do not violate the U.S. Constitution pursuant to a federal appeals court ruling in Gonzalez-Droz v. Gonzalez-Colon, 1st Cir., No. 10-1881, 9/16/11. According to BNA Reports,

[t]he U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said the regulations satisfied the constitutional test that they reflect a “rational basis” for creating a regulatory distinction between different classes of physicians—those who are trained to perform cosmetic surgery and those who are not. The court also found the application of those regulations to a specific physician, Dr. Efrain Gonzalez-Droz, did not violate his civil rights.

In upholding the regulations, the court found Puerto Rico reasonably determined that a general license to practice medicine was insufficient to ensure patients were not injured and that the regulations were needed to guide and protect patients. Using board certification in dermatology or cosmetic surgery was a reasonable surrogate for classifying those authorized to provide those services, the court said.


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