Re: Support for HB 3804
To: Representative Byron Cook
Chair, Texas House State Affairs Committee
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee,
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons supports HB 3804 protecting the exercise of independent medical judgement by physicians in providing care to patients.
Our association increasingly hears from physicians who have been inappropriately disciplined by hospitals when advocating for their patients instead of following directives from hospital administrators.
For example, physicians who refer patients to certain specialists based on years of experience and trust in that specialist’s skills are told to discontinue those referrals and to refer only to physicians employed by the hospital. Physicians who choose instead to act in the best interest of their patients are at risk for being terminated from hospital employment or otherwise disciplined.
The protections provided by HB 3804 are urgently needed due to the growth of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), designed to cut health care spending, and the combining of hospitals and insurance companies to form Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs) that limit choice to a small panel of physicians.
We also encourage the committee to consider extending the legislation’s protections to non-employed physicians on a hospital’s medical staff in addition to employed physicians.
Ultimately, HB 3804 protects patients and we respectfully ask the committee to vote to recommend adoption of HB 3804.
Jane Orient, MD
AAPS Executive Director