The Association of Physicians and Surgeons is urging Texas physicians and others concerned about facing a potential licensing board disciplinary action in Texas to urge the Texas Legislature to enacted SB 1813, which would end confidential complaints against physicians and provide access to other information.
SB 1813 would amend the required notice requirements for licensing board actions by the Texas Medical Board to require that the Board:
Notify a physician subject to a Board complaint of the filing of the complaint
Provide the physician a full copy of the complaint, without redaction, and a statement of the alleged violation in plain language
- Require the Board to deliver a copy of the preliminary and final reports, including any dissenting or minority report, to the physician who is the subject of the review.
- Provide the name and medical credentials of each physician who files an expert report to the physician under review.
Although opposed by the Texas Medical Association and Texas Hospital Association, the majority of the Texas Senate Health & Human Services Committee voted in favor of S.B. 1813.
Expanding medical regulation and expectations are driving up the standards physicians are expected to meet. Meanwhile reimbursement is declining and competition is increasing. These and other changes make physicians at risk not only for discipline for legitimate quality issues as well as allegations of billing fraud, disruptive conduct and a host of other highly subjective charges. Frequently these charges are made by competitors or others with agendas other than traditional quality. Not being able to identify and confront their accuser is viewed by many physicians as a major impediment to defending themselves.
Effective defense is critical. The Texas Medical Board is known for its heavy handed investigation and discipline. Discipline by a licensing board or peer review organization results among other things in reports to the Health Care Quality Data Bank, loss or restrictions on privileges, licenses, employment or a combination of these, great expense, lost income, embarrassment and more.
Timely access to information and records is viewed by many as one small piece of the puzzle that many physicians believe would help doctors understand and defend against charges. Physicians or others that support this change should communicate their support to their elected representatives and others in the Texas Legislature as soon as possible.