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Monday, April 11, 2011

TMA'S TMB-REFORM PACKAGE MOVING THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE

TMA’s bills to reform the Texas Medical Board (TMB) are moving. We understand many physicians’ frustration with the board, and we are behind a package of bills that would improve how TMB handles complaints against physicians without undermining the board’s responsibility to protect the public from bad actors. Here’s a status update on our package of reform legislation:

  • The Senate has passed Senate Bills 190 and 191 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound). SB 190 would allow physicians to tape the proceedings of a TMB informal settlement conference, which eliminates the truly anonymous complaints. It would provide a physician with notice if an insurance company files a complaint. It would prohibit the granting of a license to an applicant who has had a medical license suspended or revoked by another state or country. SB 191 would bind TMB to the ruling of an administrative law judge in a proceeding supervised by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
  • SB 177 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) is waiting to be voted out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. It requires the board to do all of the above.
  • SB 227 by Senator Nelson was passed by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and is now waiting for debate in the full Senate. SB 277 would provide discretion for TMB to waive a fine in lieu of a remedial action plan for a minor administrative violation.
I’ve seen lots of e-mails crowing about a small step taken by House Bill 2013, a self-serving piece of legislation designed to remove legitimate oversight from those who practice outside the scientific basis of modern medicine. HB 2013 weakens TMB to the point that it would place our 2003 health care tort reforms at risk. If doctors are unable to police themselves through a strong and fair medical board, then today’s complaint is tomorrow’s lawsuit.

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