Legal

Supreme Court Sides With Physician’s Push to Clear National Practitioner Data Bank Record - 06/14/2022

In a major victory for medicine, a Texas Supreme Court decision has paved the way for physicians exonerated of wrongdoing to fully clear their names in the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), the federal clearinghouse that records certain adverse or disciplinary actions taken against health care workers.


Dulling the Pain of Future Damages: High Court Ruling Addresses Periodic Payments - 05/31/2022

Texas Supreme Court decision carries new implications for periodic payment of future medical expenses.


“Black Robes, Not White Coats”: Can Courts Compel Unproven Treatments? - 05/31/2022

COVID-19 patients and their families have involved judges and attorneys in an effort to compel physicians to treat the disease in unproven ways, against their medical judgment. And in some cases around the country, patients’ families have been successful in getting a court order to do so. The Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Patient-Physician Advocacy, while not directly involved in such cases, has a keen interest in making sure physicians can exercise their medical judgment.


Contract Do’s and Don’ts: How to Negotiate From a Place of Strength - 05/31/2022

By leaning on Texas Medical Association resources and their own health care attorney, physicians can gain confidence and better negotiate favorable terms to secure their economic success.


How to Start a Medical-Legal Partnership - 05/31/2022

Medical entities can join forces with legal entities to form medical-legal partnerships (MLPs), and these partnerships are helpful for patients whose conditions are worsened by social determinants of health.


Picking the Right Battles: TMA Stands Up for Medicine in the Courts - 05/31/2022

When a big point of legal contention arises – “big” meaning impactful for Texas physicians and their patients – the Texas Medical Association responds big. That’s been the case for decades, including in the courts. 


Surgeon’s Multimillion-Dollar Defamation Award Tossed by Texas Supreme Court - 05/16/2022

The Texas Supreme Court has nullified a $6.4 million jury verdict for a Houston cardiothoracic surgeon in his lawsuit alleging defamation and business disparagement by Memorial Hermann Hospital System.    


AMA Honors TMA Attorney With Lifetime Achievement Award - 05/04/2022

The American Medical Association (AMA) has honored Donald P. “Rocky” Wilcox, vice president and general counsel of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), with the Medical Executive Lifetime Achievement Award. The award honors a medical association executive who has contributed substantially to the goals and ideals of the medical profession.


Legal Legacies: TMA General Counsel Rocky Wilcox Retires After 42 Years of Service - 05/01/2022

After nearly five decades of service to organized medicine, Rocky Wilcox, the man behind TMA’s storied history of advocating for physicians and their patients through the legal and legislative systems is retiring. But the legacy he leaves behind has put physicians in Texas – even across the nation – on solid legal ground.


Investigations of Gender-Affirming Care Halted Again by Appeals Court - 03/24/2022

The latest court order in the battle over gender-affirming care in Texas has once again blocked the state from investigating that care as child abuse.


TMA Supports Evidence-Based Gender-Affirming Care in Lawsuit - 03/14/2022

As the Doe v. Abbott lawsuit heads to a hearing today over whether to block state investigations involving certain care provided to transgender youth, among other issues, the Texas Medical Association has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in support of medically necessary, gender-affirming care, and opposing the criminalization of such treatment.


TMA in Talks With State Leadership on Gender-Affirming Care - 03/07/2022

In a series of meetings with state leadership, the Texas Medical Association has reiterated its opposition to the criminalization of medically necessary gender-affirming care and emphasized the need for protecting the patient-physician relationship with transgender youth and adolescents.


Update: OSHA Halts Enforcement of Federal Vaccine Mandate - 11/23/2021

For now, the Biden administration’s sweeping vaccination requirement for large employers is on hold after a federal appeals court blocked the regulation from going into effect, quickly responding to a lawsuit from Texas and other states. If eventually implemented, however, the administration’s rule, issued as part of a pair of regulations on Nov. 4, will carry implications for physicians in larger practice settings.


TMA White Paper: Does COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Ban Affect Your Practice? - 10/21/2021

If you run a business, any business – including a medical practice – you may be subject to Texas’ new law barring businesses from requiring customers to produce COVID-19 vaccine documentation – now known in common parlance as a “vaccine passport.”


Offering Access to Patients With Limited English Proficiency - 10/19/2021

Under the Affordable Care Act and accompanying federal rules, certain medical practices must take “reasonable steps” to provide meaningful access to people with limited English proficiency (LEP). A new Texas Medical Association white paper provides members with information on their LEP obligations under the law and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rulemaking, including the most recent rules published in 2020.


Know Your ADA Obligations - 10/11/2021

If someone asked you about your training on federal requirements for accommodating patients with disabilities, would your answer sound something like this? “Oh golly. I have no idea. I’m sure I had to read or study something sometime. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been a doctor for quite a while, so I suspect I had to learn it somewhere, but I don’t remember where.” That’s an actual answer from one internal medicine physician in a recent study of doctors’ knowledge of their legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). And if the results of that small study are any indication, many physicians might be lacking in their knowledge on the subject.  


TMA Argues to Overturn Physician Dispensing Ban - 07/15/2021

Two Texas physicians are taking on the state’s general ban on physicians dispensing medications out of their offices, now with support from the Texas Medical Association for their argument that the prohibition does more to protect pharmacies than patient care.


DSHS Receives CDC Grant to Help Identify, Report Birth Defects - 07/07/2021

The state of Texas received an assist in combating birth defects when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded the Texas Department of State Health Services a grant for improved surveillance and diagnosis totaling $300,000 per year for five years, the state agency announced.


Dispensing With Reason? Overturning State Ban on Providing Drugs From Physician Offices - 07/03/2021

Only a handful of states effectively ban physicians from dispensing medications out of their offices. Texas is one of them. Two Texas physicians have taken their case to the courts, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional because it does more to protect pharmacies than it does to protect patients. And TMA is lending its support to that argument.


Livelihood on the Line: Surgeon Sues Hospital over Alleged Disparagement, Malicious Peer Review - 06/10/2021

San Antonio cardiothoracic surgeon sues hospital over alleged disparagement, malicious peer. In less than two years, San Antonio cardiothoracic surgeon J. Marvin Smith III, MD, says his distinguished surgical career spanning about five decades was effectively wiped out.


Outrageous Overreach Medicine Fights Broad Documentation Requests - 02/27/2021

When Andrew Indresano, MD, got a subpoena in January 2019, he found it “a little shocking” and “really invasive.” The Fort Worth orthopedic surgeon wasn’t even part of the personal-injury lawsuit for which he was being asked to produce a backward-looking swath of documents.


New CMS Rule Allows More Physician Self-Referrals Under “Stark Law” - 12/04/2020

Physicians who have financial relationships with medical services facilities, such as labs and imaging services, are able to refer more Medicare or Medicaid patients to those facilities under a final rule published this week.


Preserving Do No Harm: Supreme Court Tosses Challenge to Medical Ethics Committee Law - 10/13/2020

Twenty years after it took effect, Texas’ medical ethics committee review law has withstood challenge after challenge. The Texas Supreme Court is on the verge of ending the latest high-profile attack on the law that ensures physicians can uphold their professional obligation to “do no harm.” In October 2019, the state’s high court declined to take up Kelly v. Houston Methodist Hospital, in which the mother of a deceased patient attempted to overturn a provision of the Texas Advance Directives Act. Justices’ action leaves intact an appeals court decision that preserves physicians’ ability to use their medical judgment in end-of-life cases.


Pandemic Poses Legal Pitfalls: TMA Seeks Better Liability Shields - 08/03/2020

Under Texas law, physicians treating COVID-19 patients in a volunteer capacity have potential defenses against lawsuits that might arise from that care. But for non-volunteer physicians on the COVID battlefield – often working in harrowing, overloaded settings, high on patient count and low on equipment – the same liability shields don’t exist. And with a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations taking hold in June, the Texas Medical Association continued its pandemic-long push to extend liability protections to all frontline physicians, volunteer or not.


Covered for COVID? Business Interruption Insurance Could Come in Handy - 07/01/2020

Business interruption insurance could come in handy for losses related to COVID-19.