Protect Physician's Independent Medical Judgment

At TMA’s urging, the 2011 Texas Legislature passed ground-breaking new laws that protect patients and their physicians’ ability to exercise independent medical judgment free from interference by a hospital administrator or corporate officer. At the same time, we preserved Texas’ ban on the corporate practice of medicine with several carefully delineated expansions for physician employment. These included strong protections for physicians employed by or associated with hospital-controlled health care corporations, rural county hospital districts, large urban hospital districts, and the newly established Texas health care collaboratives. Texas is the first state in the country to take the critical step of protecting clinical autonomy. The laws place responsibility for monitoring and enforcement with the Texas Medical Board, which is the agency responsible for upholding the standards of medical practice in the state. Read more.



Key Issues


Defend Physicians’ Ethical Responsibilities to Patients
The relationship between patient and physician is based on trust and gives rise to physicians’ ethical obligations to place patients’ welfare above their own self-interest and above obligations to other groups, and to advocate for their patients’ welfare. Read more of TMA’s strategic roadmap for this decade in Healthy Vision 2020: Caring for Patients in a Time of Change. 

Maintain Restrictions on Lay Control of the Practice of Medicine
Protecting the patient-physician relationship lies at the heart of Texas’ legal doctrine banning the corporate practice of medicine. Patients must be able to trust that the tests and treatments their physicians recommend are tailored to their individual medical needs and are shielded from improper lay influence. Each patient encounter must be governed by the ethics of the medical profession, the integration and application of advancing medical knowledge, and the partnership with the patient in making good decisions for that patient’s health. 




Advocacy and Communications


Physician Employment Protections Passed Into Law
At the onset of the 82nd legislative session, more than 20 bills were asking lawmakers to lift Texas' ban against the corporate practice of medicine. Both rural and urban hospital districts wanted the ability to employ physicians. However, by mid-session TMA accomplished these two major feats: (1) Protect Texas' ban against the corporate practice of medicine, and (2) Create important employment protections for physicians who choose to be employed. 

Linda Adair, MD, Tells Her Story: When Corporations Play Doctor
Why did the owners of a residential treatment center try to stop a doctor from reporting a child sex scandal to authorities? Why did they fire her when she did report it? 

TMA Legislative Testimonies
Every year, TMA physician leaders testify before state lawmakers to educate them on the importance of the patient/physician relationship. Read physicians testimonies during 82nd Legislative Session.