Following a three-month delay, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
reports it is beginning to synchronize physicians' controlled substances
registration (CSR) expiration dates with their Texas Medical Board (TMB) license
On Jan. 1, renewal of CSR permits issued by DPS should have become part of
physicians' biennial online medical license renewal with TMB. TMA helped pass
House Bill 1803 by Rep. Bill Callegari (R-Katy) and Sen. Joan Huffman
(R-Houston) to ease the administrative hassle and red tape on physicians when
they renew their CSR permits and to avoid interruptions in patient care and in
physicians' practices due to inadvertent expirations.
TMB had completed the work necessary to implement HB 1803 by Jan. 1,
including developing data-sharing capabilities that allow information to flow
electronically to DPS for processing. In February, however, DPS said it wasn't
Under the law, permits valid on Jan. 1, 2014, would automatically extend to
the date of the physician's next state medical license renewal. At that time,
the CSR permit would be valid for two years for a $50 fee.
To ensure you do not experience disruption in your prescribing authority or
place medical staff privileges at risk, DPS has posted the following information
on its Controlled Substances Search and Verification System website for
physicians with CSRs set to expire in April:
- If your TMB license expiration date is May 31, 2014, or Aug. 31, 2014, CSRs
have been automatically renewed to expire April 30, 2015. The next certificate
you receive will be synchronized with your TMB license expiration date.
- All remaining registrations scheduled to expire in April have been
synchronized with the TMB expiration date.
- No action is required by the physician. Affected physicians will receive
new CSR certificates in the mail.
- New CSR expirations have been updated on the Controlled Substances Search
and Verification System website.
In the past,
physicians have had problems when DPS didn't process renewals in a timely
manner, before the CSR permit's expiration. When physicians are unable to renew
their CSR permits, they can't prescribe medications. A physician's ability to
prescribe medications hinges on possession of a valid CSR, which is necessary to
obtain a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
critical, a physician whose CSR permit lapses faces (at least) temporary
suspension of hospital privileges, as maintaining current certifications is a
requirement to retain medical staff privileges in Texas
TMA has been meeting with DPS officials and TMB representatives to address
concerns among physicians and to ensure DPS would be prepared to allow for the
two-year permit and to synchronize the expiration of the CSR with the
physician's medical license renewal date.
Visit the Regulatory Services Division webpage for updates and additional information about
synchronization of CSRs that expire in the future.
Almost every contract has an escape hatch — but you might have to escape to
a place you don't want to be.
Most physician employment contracts, and many health plan contracts, have
provisions known as covenants not to compete, or noncompete clauses, which
prevent you from competing with your former employer if you decide to leave and
open a practice somewhere else.
Sometimes they go too far. Texas law says noncompete clauses are enforceable
if they contain reasonable limits on when, where, and how a physician can
establish a new practice. The TMA Board of Councilors says, "Restrictive
covenants are unethical if they are excessive in geographic scope or duration in
the circumstances presented, or if they fail to make reasonable accommodation of
a patient's choice of physician."
Physicians can negotiate the terms of a noncompete clause before they sign a
contract, and Texas says that for a covenant not to compete relating to a
performance of medical services to be enforceable, it must — among other things
— include a buy-out clause.
Check out these TMA resources for more details:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a
new HIPAA compliance tool for small- to medium-sized practices.
The Security Risk Assessment (SRA) tool helps these practices
conduct and document a risk assessment to determine potential HIPAA security risks and address them. The SRA website has user tutorials and videos available to help
you get started.
Conducting a security risk assessment is a key requirement of the HIPAA
Security Rule and a core requirement for physicians participating in the
Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs. The SRA
tool also allows practices to print a report that can be provided to
If you need more in-depth assistance, the Texas regional extension centers
(RECs) can help with EHR selection, workflow optimization with the EHR system,
meeting meaningful use measures (including the security risk assessment), and
attesting to meaningful use to receive the incentives.
For more information about the Texas RECs, check out TMA's REC
Resource Center. Our REC locator tool can help you determine which REC
serves your area.
You can direct questions related to EHRs and other office technologies to
TMA's Health Information Technology Department by calling (800) 880-5720 or by