When picking up a book titled licensed to practice the supreme court defines the american medical profession one cannot be faulted for expecting a rather dry legal and perhaps historical discourse on the supreme court cases that cemented medical licensure as the norm of american lifejames mohr dispels these expectations from the very first page of the volume. Licensed to practice describes the contentious and forgotten struggle to pass west virginias physician licensing law in 1881 west virginia was not the first state to deal with regulation of the medical profession nor was it a center of medical science and learning but its physician licensing law was recognized as a landmark at the time 1 perhaps more importantly this law set the legal . What is more controversial is out of court activities particularly drafting of documents and giving advice and whether that is considered to be unauthorized practice of law some states have defined the practice of law to include those who appear as a representative in arbitration or act as arbitrators in disputes. Medicine is a regulated profession because of the potential harm to the public if an incompetent or impaired physician is licensed to practice each of the 50 states the district of columbia and the us territories has a medical practice act that defines the practice of medicine and delegates the authority to enforce the law to a state
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