While the Texas Medical Board, like other medical boards across the nation, has been established with the explicit goal of promoting and ensuring patient safety, there are times its actions go too far. A state’s citizens are safest when the state has a proper ratio of fully-practicing physicians to the number of potential patients. Which is to say, where disciplinary actions taken by medical boards serve to either dissuade qualified professionals from becoming practicing physicians within the state in the first place or convince physicians that they had better take a too-restrained approach to the practice of medicine, both physicians and their (potential) patients run the risk of harm.
Indeed, the TMB was stripped of some of its previous powers in 2011 following what lawmakers considered convincing evidence that the board had been overzealous in its disciplinary actions, resulting in precisely the sort of shortage of care described above in many Texas counties—up to the point that numerous counties lacked even a single practicing obstetrician available to deliver babies.
The 2011 reforms to the Board’s authority did things like: ending anonymous complaints (which had been abused); requiring that physicians be informed when a complaint was filed by an insurance company or third-party administrator; requiring that settlements reached at “informal” conferences with board officials be recorded; and requiring that the TMB accept findings of fact and law made by the administrative law judge, which previously they had not. These were powerful reforms that have helped good physicians, accompanied by knowledgeable professional license attorneys, to keep their licenses to practice in the state of Texas in the years since.
Still, even with these changes, there exists an impulse to overreach by medical boards that must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If you find yourself subject to a disciplinary hearing by the Texas Medical Board—even just what they call an “informal settlement conference” (which is not as unimportant as the name makes it sound to the future livelihoods of physicians)—you should contact an experienced professional license defense attorney immediately.
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board or state agency, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.