The state board that licenses Missouri’s physicians and surgeons is looking for a definition that gets to the heart of what it does: What IS the practice of medicine?

The State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts has been around for 70 years. It licenses medical doctors, osteopathic doctors to be physicians and surgeons. The board also has the power to discipline those it licenses and to investigate those who are not authorized to practice medicine.

The board has set up a task force to consider a state law defining "practice of medicine." Board president Jean Hasher (house-hair) says current statutes are based on case law which is based on a person’s intent. "If an individual is intending to heal in some way or practice the healing art, then that is considered the practice of medicine in what they’re doing," she explains.

But case law can change and some things need to be specifically defined as medical practice–or not medical practice.

Hausheer, an ophthalmologist from Kansas City, says the definition should keep out fake healers who call themselves, or imply that they are, doctors.

The task force plans meetings with health care organizations to help write the definition that it hopes the legislature will put on the books next year, providing some clarity and stability in the law that is lacking with definitions based on court cases.


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