• Legal

    • TMA Offers Legal Information and Education

      Some of the most common, yet vexing, legal issues facing medical practices involve questions about medical records.  To whom may I release them?  How long do I have once a request has been made?  How long must I keep the records? What do I do when records are subpoenaed?  How much may I charge for copies? To that end, TMA has a variety of informational and educational resources to assist physicians and their staffs. 

  • Regulatory Compliance, Contracts, Ethics

    • Deadlines for Doctors

      Find out about upcoming state and federal compliance timelines and key health policy issues that impact Texas physicians.
    • Contracts

      Health care payment plan contracts and employment contracts can be a jungle of legal language; TMA identifies some of the contract clauses of which physicians should be aware. 
    • Ethics

      Look here for guidance on appropriate standards of conduct for the physician as well as links to ethics CME courses and tools such as the “do not resuscitate form” and physician directives. 
    • TMA HIPAA Resource Center

      TMA offers a variety of HIPAA resources, including the text of the regulations, standards, policies and procedures; HIPAA news; educational material; and links to HIPAA-oriented Web sites. 
  • Have questions about other legal issues?

    • Do your patients have questions about medical power of attorney?
      What duties does the health care provider have when presented with a principal's Medical Power of Attorney?  A principal's physician, health or residential care provider, or an employee of the provider shall follow a directive of the principal's agent to the extent it is consistent with the desires of the principal, the law, and the Medical Power of Attorney. 
    • Negotiate a Physician Salary With Eyes Wide Open
      With more physicians going into employment in a large group or hospital arrangement, it is important they understand the pros and cons of various compensation methods they might be offered in an employment contract.
    • OIG Focuses Fraud Efforts on Physician Compensation
      A recent U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) fraud alert warns that physician compensation arrangements may result in significant liability.
    • New Information About Informed Consent
      Q: Are physicians required to use the disclosure and consent forms that the Texas Medical Disclosure Panel (TMDP) created for certain procedures? A: Use of these forms is not required. However, using them gives physicians an important measure of protection. TMA recommends that physicians always use them when applicable. Includes links to the forms.
    • Which Tests Need a CLIA Waiver Certificate?
      Q. I am a physician who performs urine dip sticks and finger sticks for blood glucose in my office as part of the patient’s visit. Am I considered to have a laboratory, and do I need a CLIA certificate?
      A. Yes, the testing you perform qualifies as waived laboratory testing, and you need a CLIA Certificate of Waiver. View the new tests that were added to the list by the FDA.
    • Informed Consent for Anesthesia and Other Procedures
      Physicians now need to inform patients of the risks and hazards of anesthesia and/or perioperative pain management (analgesia) and obtain their signed consent for these procedures. 
    • How Long Do I Have to Keep Patient Medical Records?
      Seven is the important number to remember in the Texas Medical Board rules for retention of medical records.
    • Your Payer Contracts: Money Makers or Money Drains?
      A 2014 TMA survey of Texas physicians revealed that Texas doctors have a median of six preferred provider organization contracts and one HMO contract, and a majority are contracted with at least one of the five major payers. The question is: Is each of your contracts profitable for your practice?
    • Delegating Prescriptive Authority — to How Many?
      What is the ratio for the number of advanced practice registered nurses or physician assistants to whom a physician may delegate prescriptive authority?
  • Tax Fraud Scheme

    • Effective Sept. 1: Lower Taxes, Greater Plan Accountability, More
      This legislative session, TMA fought tirelessly to ensure physicians can continue to give their patients the best care possible. Several TMA-backed bills become law today.
    • Capitol Success
      This legislative session, medicine resolved to ensure physicians can give their patients the best care possible. The hard work paid off in significant victories that largely build on the Texas Medical Association's 2013 legislative successes.
    • TMA's 2015 Legislative Victories Build on Past Successes
      In a 2015 legislative session marked by new state leadership, new money, and big shifts in how Texas' major health care agencies oversee care delivery, the house of medicine remained as steady as ever in its mission to ensure physicians can give their patients the best care possible. That resolve paid off in significant victories that largely build on the Texas Medical Association's 2013 legislative successes.
    • Medicine's Bills Pick Up Speed
      With roughly six weeks to go in the Texas Legislature, lawmakers near the finish line in drafting a state budget for the next two years with significant improvements over last session that march the house of medicine closer to accomplishing its goals. With House and Senate committees in full swing as well, TMA is tracking a plethora of bills on the move that could help or hurt medicine's agenda.
  • Get the latest news on legal topics.

    • Teladoc's Antitrust Suit Against TMB Moves Forward
      Teladoc's lawsuit against the Texas Medical Board (TMB) is heating up. On Dec. 14, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Pitman refused to dismiss telemedicine provider Teladoc Inc.'s antitrust challenge of TMB's rule requiring, in most circumstances, a defined physician-patient relationship (including a physical examination either in person or face-to-face via telemedicine with a presenter) before  prescribing a dangerous drug or a controlled substance.
    • Doctors Can Prohibit Handguns in Medical Offices
      If you're not exactly jazzed about the thought of patients carrying handguns into your medical practice next year, you can do something to prevent it. House Bill 910 by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, and it allows Texans with handgun licenses to openly carry their handguns in a hip or shoulder holster. TMA has received questions regarding whether physicians can post a notice at their practices prohibiting anyone from entering with a handgun – concealed or openly. The answer depends on the type of property the medical office is located on. Generally, a private property owner may post notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns   , but HB 910 contains many requirements. TMA's white paper, titled [insert title and link], has more information for physicians.
    • New Mexico Lawsuit Challenges Texas Physician Immunity
      Is a Texas physician subject to out-of-state medical liability laws if his patient files a negligence lawsuit in the patient’s home state? Which state’s medical liability law should apply — the state where the care took place, or the state where the patient lives?
    • Documenting Patient Care in EHRs
      New Texas Medical Board rules attempt to underscore the importance of accurate information in the data-saturated electronic health record system and make doctors' reporting requirements clearer.
    • Supreme Court Ruling Maintains Six-Year Limit on Damage Claims
      A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has physicians who care for patients enrolled in federal health care programs breathing easier. The ruling in KBR v. United States of America Ex Relator Benjamin Carter prevents doctors from facing civil lawsuits for an unlimited period of time and maintains the six-year limitation on damage claims under the False Claims Act.