The Texas Medical Board (TMB) regulates the licenses of physicians. However, the TMB also licenses and regulates some other medical professionals, as well. These professionals include:
- Medical Radiological Technologists (General and Limited)
- Non-Certified Radiologist Technicians
- Surgical Assistants
- Medical Physicists
- Respiratory Care Practitioners
In addition to licensing or denying licensing to individuals in these professions, the TMB also receives and processes complaints concerning these license holders. TMB generally must investigate complaints against these professionals within 30 days of receiving them. As a result, the TMB may take disciplinary action against license holders in appropriate circumstances.
Disciplinary Proceedings Before the TMB
The TMB operates disciplinary proceedings in roughly the same manner for all medical professionals it regulates, although it maintains separate rules for each profession. After completing a full investigation of a complaint, the TMB typically will set up an informal meeting with the license holder to try to resolve the complaint informally. Board staff and the license holder each present evidence to a Board panel. The panel then can recommend that the investigation be closed or try to mediate an agreed settlement.
Suppose the license holder rejects the proposed settlement or the recommended disposition of the complaint. In that case, the TMB can send the matter to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) for a contested administrative hearing. An administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to the case will conduct an administrative hearing and, following the hearing, issue a proposed decision to the TMB. Ultimately, the TMB will determine whether to accept, modify, or reject the ALJ’s proposed decision.
Disciplinary Authority of the TMB
Tex. Occ. Code § 164.001 gives the TMB the authority to take disciplinary action against any license holder under its jurisdiction who has violated a law or rule that governs their profession. Disciplinary action may include suspending or revoking a license, placing a person whose license is suspended on probation, or reprimanding a license holder. Furthermore, for certain actions, TMB may impose the following types of disciplinary action:
- deny the person’s application for a license or other authorization;
- administer a public reprimand;
- suspend, limit, or restrict the person’s license or other authorization, including:
- limiting the practice of the person to or excluding one or more specified activities; or
- stipulating periodic board review;
- revoke the person’s license;
- require the person to submit to care, counseling, or treatment of a health care practitioner designated by the board as a condition for:
- the issuance or renewal of a license or other authorization; or
- continued practice under a license;
- require the person to participate in an educational or counseling program prescribed by the board;
- require the person to practice under the direction of a health care practitioner designated by the board for a specified period;
- require the person to perform public service considered appropriate by the board; or
- assess an administrative penalty against the person.
However, if the TMB decides that the medical professional’s continued practice would pose a continuing threat to the public welfare, the TMB shall revoke, suspend, or deny the individual’s license.
Grounds for Disciplinary Action Against License Holders
The TMB generally can take disciplinary action against license holders who violate any rules or laws that pertain to the license holder’s profession. Some professions also have specific provisions under the law that outline grounds for disciplinary action. For instance, under 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 206.302, the TMB may take disciplinary action against or deny a license to a surgical assistant who commits fraud or misrepresentation in connection with their license. Likewise, the TMB may discipline a surgical assistant licensee convicted of a felony, placed on deferred adjudication, or placed in a pretrial diversion program. The TMB also may discipline an individual who violates state law if it pertains to practice as a surgical assistant.
Furthermore, 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 206.304 allows the TMB to initiate disciplinary proceedings for conduct indicating a lack of fitness, which includes license holders who:
- habitually use drugs or intoxicating liquors to the extent that, in the Board’s opinion, the person cannot safely perform as a surgical assistant;
- have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent;
- have a mental or physical condition that renders the person unable to perform as a surgical assistant safely;
- have committed an act of moral turpitude;
- have failed to practice as a surgical assistant in an acceptable manner consistent with public health and welfare;
- have had the person’s license or other authorization to practice as a surgical assistant suspended, revoked, or restricted;
- have had other disciplinary action taken by another state or by the uniformed services of the United States regarding practice as a surgical assistant;
- are removed or suspended or has disciplinary action taken by the person’s peers in any professional association or society or is being disciplined by a licensed hospital or medical staff of a hospital, including removal, suspension, limitation of privileges, or other disciplinary action, if that action, in the opinion of the medical board, was based on unprofessional conduct or professional incompetence that was likely to harm the public;
- have repeated or recurring meritorious health care liability claims that, in the medical board’s opinion, are evidence of professional incompetence likely to harm the public; or
- sexually abuses or exploits another person during the license holder’s practice as a surgical assistant.
Count on Bertolino LLP, to Defend Your License from Disciplinary Action
When a complaint threatens your ability to earn a living, you need a seasoned license defense attorney on your side. We will defend you against these attacks on the credentials you have worked so hard to earn. Get in touch with the lawyers of Bertolino LLP today by calling (512) 515-9518 or visiting us online.