The Texas Medical Board went under Sunset Review in 2015, and emerged in 2017 with certain recommendations to take up—among them a number of new pathways to physician licensure. Some of these recommendations were adopted soon after the report was made (though surprisingly an emergency session had to be called to continue TMB’s existence for two additional years), but many (including a longer-term 12 years extension of TMB’s mandate) were not made until 2019. Among the latter were new pathways to physician licensure.
Created in 1977 by the Texas Legislature, Sunset Review is the process of reviewing state agencies and programs to "determine if their functions are still relevant, if they are successfully carrying out their mission, and in what ways they could operate more efficiently." Sunset review is aimed at smaller, more efficient government. Pursuant to the Texas Sunset Act, the Sunset Advisory Commission is required to periodically review the Texas Medical Board and recommend whether to continue the agency and change state law to improve the agency’s efficiency and effectiveness.
The Sunset process went through three stages:
- Stage 1: The Sunset Advisory Commission evaluated the TMB, sought public input, and issued a report recommending solutions to problems found. As always, it "welcome[d] public comments on whether the agency is still needed and ideas to improve its operations and services."
- Stage 2: The Sunset Commission held two public meetings, which included a hearing on the staff report and the agency, and a decision meeting to adopt recommendations to the Legislature based on the report and public comments.
- Stage 3: The Texas Legislature considered the Sunset Commission's statutory recommendations and enacted legislation accordingly via House Bill 1504—including the new pathways to licensure—but only at the end of the provisional two-year extension.
The new pathways to licensure were adopted as a result of this process—as required by an addition to Subchapter A, Chapter 155, section 155.011 of the Occupations Code—via Texas Medical Board Rule section 163.13. The goal of creating these new expedited licensing pathways is to assist out-of-state physicians and board-certified physicians to become licensed in the state of Texas. Among other measures, the new legislation makes allowances for additional examination attempt limits, taking into account the length of time the physician has been licensed in another state and their good standing in that state.
If you are a physician in Texas who finds yourself subject to complaint or review by the Texas Medical Board, contact us. Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by the TMB. Our experienced medical license defense attorneys have successfully helped physician clients resolve a wide range of complicated legal matters involving professional license defense. We know how to navigate the complaint process, gather evidence, question witnesses, and prepare powerful defenses against allegations of misconduct.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Our honest, experienced attorneys will fight aggressively on behalf of your professional license and reputation.