The Texas Medical Board (TMB) has hundreds of rules and regulations by which physicians must adhere. Not being aware of a rule is not a defense to violating the rule. Not fully understanding a regulation is not a defense to running afoul on the regulation. As a licensed medical professional by the TMB you have a duty to abide by the rules of the TMB and Texas law.
3 Texas Medical Board Rules You Should Know
- Leaving a Medical Practice
When a Texas physician retires, terminates employment, or otherwise leaves a medical practice, there is a Required Notification of Discontinuance of Practice. 22 Tex. Admin. Code §165.5.
The physician leaving a medical practice is responsible for:
- Ensuring that patients receive reasonable notification and are given the opportunity to obtain copies of their records or arrange for the transfer of their medical records to another physician; and
- Notifying the board when they are terminating practice, retiring, or relocating, and therefore no longer available to patients, specifying who has custodianship of the records, and how the medical records may be obtained.
- Employers of the departing physician as described in 165.1(b)(6) of this chapter are not required to provide notification, however, the departing physician remains responsible, for providing notification consistent with this section.
The requisite Notification that must be provided to patients shall be accomplished by doing the following three things:
- Publishing notice in the newspaper of greatest general circulation in each county in which the physician practices or practiced and in a local newspaper that serves the immediate practice area;
- Placing written notice in the physician's office; and
- Sending letters to patients seen in the last two years notifying them of discontinuance of practice.
It is advisable that a physician contemplating leaving a practice or retiring begin to gather the names and addresses of active patients as they are seen in the office.
- Retaining Recordings of Physician Advertising
The TMB has established rules for physician advertising. A rule that physicians may not be aware of is how long records of advertisements must be kept.
The rule on Advertising Records and Responsibility mandates that a recording of every advertisement communicated by electronic media, print media, or any other form of advertisement, be retained by the licensee for two years from the last date of broadcast or publication. 22 Tex. Admin. Code §164.5(d).
- Required Disclosures of Physician Websites
A TMB license holder who maintains a website in relations to his or her professional practice has a duty to disclose a number of things on that website. The list of mandatory disclosures includes:
- Ownership of the website;
- Specific services provided;
- Office address and contact information;
- Licensure and qualifications of physician(s) and associated health care providers;
- Fees for online consultation and services and how payment is to be made;
- Financial interest in any information, products, or services;
- Appropriate uses and limitations of the site, including providing health advice and emergency health situations;
- Uses and response times for e-mails, electronic messages, and other communications transmitted via the site;
- To whom patient health information may be disclosed and for what purpose;
- Rights of patients with respect to patient health information; and
- Information collected, and any passive tracking mechanisms utilized.
As a licensed medical practitioner of the TMB, it is important that you abide by the rules and regulations set forth for your profession. Some of the rules are lengthy and complex. If you have questions about TMB rules or the Texas Medical Practice Act, please feel free to contact our office.
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