Texas Legislature Considers Bill to Update Physician-Related Investigations and Resolution Process

Evangeline O. Lalangas | 4.19.17

evangeline[1]

The Texas Legislature convenes every 2 years and is currently in its 85th session. Texas House Member Bill Zedler authored and introduced House Bill (“HB”) 537 last December, and it is now being reviewed by the Public Health Committee (of which Rep. Zedler is also a member).

HB 537 seeks to amend the section of the Medical Practice Act that outlines how the Texas Medical Board (“TMB”) should regulate physicians when certain complaints and challenges regarding the care they provide are received and filed against them, which is found in the Texas Occupations Code Chapter 154.

HB 537 aims to increase the specificity by which the TMB must notify a physician when a complaint is filed. The TMB must include “factual allegations”, and the “specific statute, rule, or standard of care alleged to be violated” rather than just explaining “the nature of the complaint” as the process currently outlines. HB 537 also prohibits the TMB from adding charges from a different investigation to the particular complaint at hand.

Overall, HB 537 increases the TMB’s burden to list exact facts and legal support when a complaint is filed against a physician. This is an important bill to follow since TMB complaints and investigations could lead to sanctions, other reprimands, or even the loss of a physician’s license.

HB 537 is currently under review and has not been put up for a vote so at this point in time there is no guarantee it will amend the current laws. We will stay tuned for further developments on this bill.

To read HB 537 please click here.