Bad Scope Bills Defeated
By Joey Berlin


Among other ill-advised proposals put forth during this year’s session, the House of Medicine stopped every troublesome attempt by nonmedical professionals to creep into the practice of medicine during this session.

That included not just the eventual death of bad legislation, but in one key case, working with nonphysician practitioners to arrive at something mutually beneficial.

Ophthalmologists reached a compromise with organized optometry to prevent allowing optometrists the authority to perform surgeries. As a result of those negotiations, Senate Bill 993 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) morphed into a measure TMA could support, and it has reached the governor’s desk.

Some of the bad scope bills that TMA helped defeat:

  • House Bill 1462 by Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin) would have granted psychologists authority to prescribe.
  • House Bill 2029 by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) would have given advanced practice registered nurses the authority to independently prescribe and to interpret diagnostic tests.
  • House Bill 2049 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) would have allowed pharmacists to diagnose and prescribe medications for strep throat and the flu.

Despite the persistence of certain groups during this and past sessions, TMA once again fought off attempts to alter state laws on advance directives and medical decisionmaking.

As filed, Senate Bill 917 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler) would have required physicians to maintain life-sustaining treatment on a patient indefinitely until the patient could be transferred elsewhere. The bill ultimately stalled, as did House Bill 2180 by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), which would have allowed multiple people to simultaneously act as co-medical decisionmakers for another person, with simultaneous authority under medical power of attorney.

Last Updated On

June 11, 2021

Originally Published On

June 11, 2021

Joey Berlin

Managing Editor

(512) 370-1393

Joey Berlin is managing editor of Texas Medicine. His previous work includes stints as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and publishing companies, and he’s covered everything from hard news to sports to workers’ compensation. Joey grew up in the Kansas City area. He lives in Austin.

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