New Laws Protect Texans, Cut Red Tape for Patients, Physicians

June 15, 2013

 Statement by Texas Medical Association President Stephen L. Brotherton, MD, in response to Gov. Rick Perry signing important bills into law. 

“Texas physicians applaud Gov. Rick Perry for signing bills into law yesterday that take important steps to protect patient safety by ensuring the right professional is providing the right care permitted by his or her education, training, and skills; improves Texas’ vaccination policies; and dramatically reduces red tape and hassles in a physician’s practice that delay patient care.

New Patient Protections Laws 

  • “Senate Bill 406 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) puts in place a more streamlined and less bureaucratic system of supervision and strengthens physician led patient care teams. Physicians, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and physician assistants are natural and important partners in patient care. The new law strengthens this partnership but continues to recognize that independent prescribing is the practice of medicine.
  • “Senate Bill 63 by Senator Nelson and Rep. J.D. Sheffield, MD (R-Gatesville), allows minors who are pregnant or who are parents to consent to their own vaccinations. This helps well-intentioned young moms and dads get the shots they need to ensure they don’t pass potentially deadly diseases on to their babies. This law is a win for the young parents and a win for their babies.
  • “Senate Bill 64 by Senator Nelson and Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton) requires licensed child care centers to create an immunization policy for their staff who works with children. Adults can unwittingly pass potentially life-threatening diseases on to infants, who are too young to get vaccinated. We want to prevent young Texans from getting sick, and this law is a step in that direction. 

New Red Tape Reductions Laws for Patients and Their Physicians 

  • Senate Bill 1803 by Rep. Bill Callegari (R-Katy) and Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) eliminates bureaucratic red tape and prevents patient care disruptions. Every year doctors have to go through the outmoded steps of printing and mailing a paper application to the Texas Department of Public Safety to receive a Controlled Substances Registration (CSR) permit. The permit sometimes takes several weeks, even months to process. Without it, doctors suddenly can’t work in their local hospitals or prescribe medications. Under the new law, doctors’ CSR permit renewal is due every two years, instead of annually, and the permit will be processed at the same time as their medical license renewal. Doctors also can reapply for the permit electronically with the Texas Medical Board.
  • Senate Bill 1216 by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) and Rep. Sara Davis (R-West University Place; and Senate Bill 644 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and Representative Zerwas, will dramatically reduce the number of preauthorization forms currently used for medical services and prescriptions. All health insurers and government payers require preauthorization of medical services and many prescriptions before patients can receive care, but they don’t use one form; instead each uses a wide variety of different forms – sometimes up to 50. Doctors have to employ extra staff just to juggle all the patient preauthorizations. These two new laws will help reduce administrative cost and hassles by creating two standardized forms that all health insurers, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program use for preauthorizations. SB 1216 creates one form for medical and health services preauthorizations; while SB 644 creates one form for prescription preauthorizations. Reducing administrative cost reduces expense for everyone — but more importantly, it ensures patients receive their medical service in a more timely fashion.
  • “Senate Bill 1221 by Sen. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney) and Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo), ensures managed care plans cannot apply physicians’ existing agreed-to discounts for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to new commercial products in the health insurance exchange without notification and consent.” 

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

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Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
 Pam Udall 


Contact: Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
Brent Annear                             


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