We are nearing the end of the Texas legislative session, and some of the bills we have followed have met their end. Some have potential, good or bad, and we will be diligent to watch for movement to the best of our ability.
SB1243, the drug donation bill, passed the Senate 31-0, but is sitting in the House Public Health Committee, chaired by Rep Myra Crownover. We have to keep asking them to bring it up for a committee hearing.
SB1813 would have protected physicians by allowing them to know their accusers (especially competitors) before the medical board. It was essentially gutted by amendments, rendering it useless. Sen Campbell opposed the amendments, but they were ultimately accepted and the bill passed.
HB3804 got a favorable hearing, support from TOMA and TMA in addition to AAPS, but was not brought up for a house vote in time for the deadline, so is officially dead. It was the Calendars committee that killed it. We will bring this back because it is extremely important as a protection for patients and doctors against intrusion by hospital administration into the practice of medicine. Many thanks to Dr. Roughneen, who testified for the bill!
SB538 could still come up for a house vote. It is the infectious disease control bill that has a lot of due process issues and is poorly constructed to address a true emergency. It grants broad powers to the Governor and peace officers.
HB179, sponsored by Rep Zedler, was another bill designed to protect physicians from vague and non-specific accusations by the medical board. It was sent to Locals and Consent and has not been scheduled for a vote.
HB2498 is a bill that already passed the House and will go to the Senate. It creates an interstate commission governing EMS and has some similarities to the physician licensing bill except that it also involves the certification of military personnel and addresses the transport of patients across state lines. It is purported to be limited to certifying EMS for hospitals on state borders but the bill itself includes references to statewide emergencies, which would be a very different situation.
HB2351 was a bill that would have allowed hospitals to write their own conflict of interest policy. It did not make it to the floor for a vote. Thank you to Andy Schlafly for his testimony against that bill!
HB2711 is also dead. It would have given EMT workers the power to involuntarily commit people to mental health facilities.
If I omitted anything, please reply to this email and let us know so I can add it to the bills we are watching. Thank you!
Sheila Page, DO