Texas Removes Barrier to Physician-Chiropractor Integrated Practices
With the passage of two bills during Texas’s 85th Legislative Regular Session, chiropractors scored significant victories relating to both how they practice and with whom they practice.
Senate Bill 304
Signed into law on May 29, 2017 and effective September 1, 2017, chiropractors no longer have to fight to protect their rights to diagnose patients under Senate Bill 304 (“Sunset Bill”). While chiropractors have had a long standing tradition of diagnosing patients, a recent case filed by the Texas Medical Association and its decision questioned the future of “diagnosis” by claiming the act exceeded a chiropractor’s scope of practice. The Sunset Bill settles this issue by amending the Texas Chiropractic Act to clarify the scope of practice for chiropractors includes the ability to “diagnose” biochemical conditions of the spine and musculoskeletal system in addition to the ability to analyze, examine, and evaluate. The Sunset Bill also extended the regulation of chiropractors by the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners until 2029 and eliminated the registration requirement of chiropractic facilities.
Senate Bill 679
Signed into law on June 1, 2017 and effective immediately is Senate Bill 679 (“Ownership Bill”). The Ownership Bill adds chiropractors to the list of practitioners already including doctors of medicine, osteopathy, and podiatry that are authorized under the Texas Business Organizations Code (“TBOC”) to jointly form partnerships or own health organization corporations, professional associations, or professional limited liability companies. While this opens up options for corporate structuring of physician-chiropractor integrated practices, the TBOC makes clear ”the authority of each of the practitioners is limited by the scope of practice of the respective practitioners” keeping in place the same hurdles relating to scope of practice and delegation rules within those practices. Physicians and chiropractors must still ensure that any integrated model is carefully structured such that the business operations of the integrated practice do not create issues for any of its licensed practitioners who will still be subject to oversight by their respective licensing board.
For further details on chiropractors’ scope of practice or physician-chiropractor integration please feel free to contact Jay D. Reyero (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you for the significant contribution by SMU law student, Raylee Starnes, for the research and drafting of this article.