Testimony: SB 227 (Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville)
By: Les Secrest, MD, Member of TMA's Council on Legislation
Madam Chair, members of the committee, I am Dr. Les Secrest. I am a psychiatrist from Dallas and I am speaking on behalf of the Texas Medical Association and our more than 45,000 physician, resident and medical student members.
We strongly support Senator Nelson’s bill and believe it addresses one of several very useful process improvements for the Texas Medical Board. It strengthens both the effectiveness of the Board as the state’s licensing agency and the fairness with which it deals with both physicians and the public.
Senate Bill 227 would allow the Texas Medical Board some specific discretion in its dealing with minor administrative violations. Specifically, it would allow the Board to impose a remedial plan in lieu of a fine for violations that might be considered minor administrative violations of the Medical Practices Act.
A minor violation might include a breach of standard in the timely release of medical records, for example. The remedial plan might be to direct a physician to take a certain educational course in medical record keeping or jurisprudence but wave any fine associated with the action.
As set forth in the bill, the Board’s remedial plan could not be used with regard to a complaint related to an offense amounting to a serious quality of care violation or the commission of a felony. Nor could such a plan be used if the action of the Board placed restrictions on manner in which the physician’s practice was limited. And, the Board cannot use a remedial plan for a physician who had previously entered into such an agreement with the Board for a minor violation. (Can’t be a frequent flyer)
Again, we view it as a process improvement to allow the Board some discretion in how it may handle minor violations of the law that do not involve quality of care, impairment or any other serious breach of the standards of practice. It gives the Board the prerogative to sanction without fine. But, it sends a clear message that while the first offense might be considered minor, subsequent offenses will not.
Again, Senator Nelson, members of the committee, I thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of SB 227 and will attempt to answer questions if that is your wish.
82nd Texas Legislature Testimonies