TMA Testifies: Harris Hospital District Employment

Testimony: HB 1568 by Garnet Coleman (D-Houston)

House County Affairs Committee

 By: Doug Curran, MD
March 10, 2011

Mister Chairman, members of the committee, I am Dr. Doug Curran. I am a family physician from Athens Texas and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Texas Medical Association. I speak on behalf of the more than 45,000 physician, resident and medical student members of the TMA.

HB 1568 would allow the Harris County Hospital District in Houston to employ physicians, primarily in their community clinics, to meet the district’s mission of providing medical care for the indigent residents of Harris County. It is based largely on bill passed last session, with TMA and local physician support, for the Dallas County Hospital District.

Under this bill, the supervision of all matters related to the practice of medicine – by all physicians, both employed  or not – is the responsibility of the District’s Medical Executive Board. This board is made up of physicians from both Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas – Houston and it establishes the rules related to credentialing of physicians, peer review process, quality assurance programs and any other function related to the clinical responsibilities of physicians practicing in district facilities.

This is good legislation and worthy of support by the Texas Medical Association. But I want to recognize that it is good legislation because of the process of consensus building that occurred locally. I want to recognize the good faith and leadership of the Harris County Hospital District, Baylor College of Medicine, the UT Houston School of Medicine and the Harris County Medical Society in reaching agreement on this bill.

In many ways, the process in achieving agreement is every bit as important as the end product. And while we believe this bill represents a good template for other communities to follow – and a couple of communities are – each situation is different. While the large county hospital districts all have the same mission, each community’s resources and organizations are different.

The relationships that exist in each community – among the hospital districts, the medical schools, and the medical associations – are critical in meeting a vital community need. And we believe it is vital that consensus emerge locally from these groups.

Again, Mister Chairman, I appreciate your efforts and those directly involved in these conversations in Houston that have led to a bill for Harris County that we can strongly support. It serves as a workable template for others to work from.

82nd Texas Legislature Testimonies     

     


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