The Texas Medical Practice Act (MPA) includes mandatory reporting requirements for individual practitioners, as well medical peer review committees and health care entities.
When does a duty to report an impaired physician to the Texas Medical Board arise?
Certain health care practitioners, “shall report relevant information to the board relating to the acts of a physician in this state if, in the opinion of the person or committee, that physician poses a continuing threat to the public welfare through the practice of medicine.” Tex. Occ. Code § 160.003(b).
Note that impairment is not a factor that triggers the obligation to report a physician colleague under §160.003. The duty to report is triggered any time a person or committee subject to this MPA section believes a physician poses a continuing threat to the public welfare through the practice of medicine, which could certainly be due to physician impairment in one’s opinion.
However, the term “impairment” is not expressly stated or defined in this reporting provision. There is no provision in the MPA that creates a duty for a Texas doctor to report another doctor for impairment in-and-of-itself. The reporting duty arises from a physician’s acts or omissions caused by an impairment that could endanger the public if the physician continued to practice medicine.
Note that medical peer review committees and health care entities have additional reporting requirements under §160.002 of the Medical Practice Act, which are not applicable to individual practitioners.
Who has a duty to report an impaired physician to the Texas Medical Board?
The following individuals and committees have a duty to report relevant information about a Texas doctor when, “in the opinion of the person or committee, that physician poses a continuing threat to the public welfare through the practice of medicine” under §160.003:
- A medical peer review committee in this state;
- A physician licensed in this state or otherwise lawfully practicing medicine in this state;
- A physician engaged in graduate medical education or training;
- A medical student;
- A physician assistant or acupuncturist licensed in this state or otherwise lawfully practicing in this state; and
- A physician assistant student or acupuncturist student.
Tex. Occ. Code § 160.003(a). The duty to report rests on all of the above-listed individuals and the peer review committee as a whole. If the Board receives a failure to report complaint, its investigation will include all persons and committees with reporting duties.
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