New Laws Arrive Next Month to Help Patients, Doctors

Aug 22, 2013 

New laws take effect on Sept. 1 that will help patients and physicians across Texas. 

“Anytime you can cut red tape that delays patient care and costs everyone more money, increase funding for mental health and women’s health care services, protect babies from diseases, and help keep young doctors in Texas, you’ve made good progress — and the Texas Legislature has accomplished these things,” said Stephen L. Brotherton, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA). 

Each of these laws becomes effective Sept. 1. 

Red-Tape Reduction 

Patient Access to Care 

Public Health 

New Laws, Their Authors, and Brief Description 


SB 166 

Sen. Robert Deuell, MD (R-Greenville); Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) 

Physicians/staff can check in patients using the electronic strip on Texas driver license 

SB 644 

Sen. Joan Huffman (R- Houston); Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton) 

Requires the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to appoint a stakeholder workgroup to design a standard prescription drug prior-authorization form applicable across all payers, including Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program, for use starting in 2015 

SB 1216 

Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler); Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston) 

Requires TDI to appoint a stakeholder workgroup to design a standard request form for prior authorization of health care services, applicable to all payers for use starting in 2015 

SB 822 

Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown); Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston) 

Regulates companies/networks that sell, lease, or share physician discounts without the physician’s knowledge or consent 

SB 1 

Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands); Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) 

Increases spending in the state budget for mental health, substance abuse services, and women’s health services; restores funding for the state’s Physician Education Loan Repayment Program and takes steps to reverse the 2011 cuts made to graduate medical education funding 

SB 63 

Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound); Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville) 

Allows a minor who is pregnant or is a parent to consent to his or her own immunizations 

SB 64 

Senator Nelson; Representative Zerwas 

Requires licensed child care facilities to develop and implement an immunization policy for their employees who care for the children 


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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