Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
News Release
March 10, 2003
Contact: Dave Nelson
Senate Approves New Measures to Improve Patient Safety in Texas

AUSTIN -- The Texas Senate today approved SB 104 by Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, enacting new safeguards for patients and reforming the disciplinary board governing the practice of medicine in Texas. The bill now moves to the Texas House for consideration.

"The reason we began looking at the medical liability issue was to ensure that patients in Texas have access to safe, quality health care," Senator Nelson said. "About 6 percent of the state's physicians account for more than half of the total malpractice awards. We will deal with those individuals as we address the broader medical liability crisis, which is driving out of business some of our very best health care providers."

Components of SB 104:

  • Strengthens the Board's authority to immediately suspend licenses of physicians who have been convicted of a violent crime.
  • Requires the Board to give priority to complaints that involve sexual misconduct, quality of care, impairment and license holders who are currently under disciplinary order.
  • Increases Board's authority to intervene when evidence exists that the physicians continuation of practice would constitutes a "clear and present danger" to patients and to discipline physicians who violate any law related to the practice of medicine.
  • Prohibits a person whose medical license has been revoked in another jurisdiction from practicing in Texas.
  • Authorizes the Board to discipline physicians placed on community probation, deferred prosecution or deferred adjudication.
  • Directs the Board to develop an expert review panel.
  • Gives individuals the right to 30 days notice of a hearing; have an attorney present in all meetings; receive a written statement of allegations and receive written notification of dismissals or any other action taken.
Senator Jane Nelson represents District 12, which includes the growing suburban communities of Denton and Tarrant counties and parts of the city of Fort Worth.