The Texas Medical Practice Act (TMPA) is a comprehensive piece of legislation that governs the practice of medicine within the state of Texas. It sets out the legal framework, rules, and regulations that govern the licensure, regulation, and professional conduct of physicians and other medical professionals. Some of the key aspects of the TMPA are outlined here.
Licensure and Qualifications:
The Act establishes the requirements for obtaining and maintaining a medical license in Texas. It prescribes the educational and training prerequisites for becoming a licensed physician and defines the scope of practice for different specialties.
The TMPA also establishes the Texas Medical Board, which is responsible for regulating and overseeing the practice of medicine. The Board has the authority to grant and revoke medical licenses, investigate complaints against physicians, and enforce disciplinary actions, when necessary, against healthcare professionals and those possibly practicing medicine without a license.
Standards of Care:
The standards of care that physicians are expected to follow when diagnosing, treating, and caring appear in the TMPA. They emphasize patient safety, ethical conduct, and the duty to provide appropriate medical care.
Corporate Practice of Medicine:
Additionally, the Act addresses the corporate practice of medicine, a significant source of liability for facilities not owned by doctors. In short, it prohibits non-physician entities or corporations from directly practicing medicine, employing physicians for medical decision-making, or interfering with a physician's professional judgment. However, it does not prohibit a non-physician from owning a facility, a med spa being a prevalent example in Texas. It just dictates how that must be done to be compliant.
The TMPA establishes the expectations and responsibilities of physicians in their relationships with patients, defining the requirements for obtaining informed consent from patients, maintaining confidentiality, and ensuring proper communication.
The Act further requires physicians to participate in ongoing education and training to stay current with advancements in medical knowledge and practices.
An obvious source of concern and one doctors never want to face is a disciplinary action. The TMPA outlines the grounds for prosecution of physicians for violations of the statute, which may include license suspension, revocation, fines, or other penalties. It also defines the procedures for investigating and adjudicating complaints against physicians.
Physicians are certainly aware of the licensure and regulatory structure governing their profession. But the law is nuanced, and many face board complaints for non-compliance, even when the violation is by mistake. Furthermore, statutes change, and more often, their interpretation transforms as a result of legal decisions. Therefore, doctors will want to take care to be ever vigilant in keeping informed about the TMPA’s requirements and its construal so as to protect their hard-earned licenses and ability to practice without incident.