Chair, Sunset Review Commission
Robert E. Johnson Building, 6 th floor
Austin, Texas 78701
Re: Sunset Review of the Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners
Dear Chairman Solomons,
Texas Medical Association is a medical professional association of more than 39,500 physicians, residents, and medical students whose stated goal is the improvement of the health of all Texans. The association appreciates the opportunity to offer the following comments to the Sunset Review Commission as it considers the current authority and past actions of the Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners.
Texas Medical Association agrees with the staff report of the Sunset Review Commission in that the Podiatric Medical Board has not disciplined its licensees to the extent necessary to protect the citizens of Texas. A small board that negotiates away sanctions in an effort to avoid litigating any case before the State Office of Administrative Hearings, or fails to prosecute a case because the licensee simply refuses to respond and participate, is not providing the service to Texans mandated by its statute.
The board also needs to focus its efforts on enforcing its current statute rather than act as a surrogate for the professional association that represents many of its licensees. Although the board fails to enforce its act against podiatrists who violate the Podiatry Act, the board is willing to extend its powers to include authority exclusively reserved to the legislature. As an example, the board has attempted to pass rules that clearly expand the authority of a podiatrist. To assure viability of the rules, the Texas Podiatric Medical Association filed a "friendly lawsuit." Its goal was to secure an agreed-to settlement that would put a judicial stamp of approval on an otherwise inappropriate expansion of podiatrists' scope of authority. It should be noted that the Texas Attorney General in Opinion No. JC-0441 held that the Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners may not adopt a rule that enlarges the practice of podiatry beyond what chapter 202 of the Occupations Code permits. (See also Texas Orthopaedic Association and Andrew M. Kant v. Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners , Cause No. GN 204-022, in the 345 th Judicial District, Travis County, Texas.)
The Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners should not be engaging in such adventures that are clearly within the domain of the legislature. The board should be required to enforce the act currently in force, or one that is narrowed, so that the resources of the board and the state are efficiently utilized and the mission of the board is transparent.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide these comments.
Bohn Allen, MD
Texas Medical Association