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The recent wave of public concern about health care has precipitated a trend toward public scrutiny of professional standards. This trend has created a tension in the system which is prompting a redefinition of the role of professionalism within the health care system, as well as a rethinking of governmental and public roles in the system's operation. Courts and legislatures, the ultimate propounders of public policy, can play a crucial role in this redefinition and rethinking. As policy makers and interest groups have sought firmer handholds on the professionally dominated standard-setting processes, the demands on courts and legislatures to scrutinize the system have escalated. Responding to these demands, courts and legislatures are beginning to reshape -the relationship of the law to the health care system. This article examines the reshaping process and suggests directions for future development in one crucial area of concern: the role of the judiciary in reviewing exercises of power by health professional associations, particularly with respect to their standard-setting functions.



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