Sunday, June 5, 2011

Legislation Signed in Texas

The Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals and the Texas Hospital Association applauded the signing of Senate Bill 894 that gives hospitals in counties with populations of 50,000 or less or sole community or critical access providers the option to directly employ physicians.

The bill contains several factures that protect the physician’s clinical autonomy against the corporate practice of medicine such as:

• Places the responsibility for all clinical matters such as bylaws, credentialing, utilization, review, and peer review under the medical staff
• Guarantees physicians independent medical judgment
• Guaranteeing that all physicians whether employed or independent are subject to the same rights and responsibilities
• Requiring the medical staff to designate a CMO who must be approved by the hospital board
• Allowing employed physicians to participate in the selection of their liability insurance and have the right to consent to settle in a liability action

Texas Governor Rick Perry in May signed the bill into law. Until the passage of this legislation, Texas was one of a few states prohibiting the employment of physicians by hospitals. This made it difficult for rural hospitals to attract and retain physicians in underserved areas of the state.