P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2003
AUSTIN -- Legislation designed to improve patient safety was approved today by the Texas Legislature and is on the way to the governor's desk. Senate Bill 104, authored by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, gives the State Board of Medical Examiners new authority and direction from the Legislature to strengthen its efforts to ensure safety.
"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 need to give the State Board of Medical Examiners the authority it needs to deal with these individuals as we address the broader medical liability crisis."
Today the Senate and House approved the conference committee report that will allow the State Board of Medical Examiners to:
- revoke and suspend licenses more quickly.
- prioritize cases based on the type of complaint or the disciplinary history of the physician.
- adhere to time lines for action on complaints.
- utilize an expert review panel to review cases involving medical competency.
- collect a fee to cover enforcement efforts and review of cases by doctors with the appropriate expertise.