Risk alert: TMB shortens response time for physicians accused of violating order to postpone elective procedures

April 3, 2020 Wayne Wenske

April 3, 2020

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) is currently pursuing actions against physicians alleged to be in violation of the state order to postpone elective surgeries and procedures through April 21, according to feedback received from TMLT policyholders.

The TMB has also shortened the time period to respond to the allegations to 7 days, instead of the previous 28 days. Physicians now have 7 days to respond with a written narrative that fully describes the circumstances of the allegation and to complete a questionnaire.

If you receive a notice from the TMB alleging violation of this order, please contact the TMLT Claims Department as soon as possible at 800-580-8658 or 512-425-5800.

“The Board is requesting responses to these investigations within a week, rather than the 28 days normally afforded Texas physicians to respond to complaints,” says attorney Peter Anderson, managing partner of Kershaw Anderson, PLLC.

The TMB can accelerate its investigations if they deem the risk involved to be “of imminent harm.” Due to the  COVID-19 pandemic and the anticipated strain on hospitals, staff, and supplies, the TMB is apparently  expediting these investigations.

“Please note we are at the start of responding to these investigations, and therefore the result of these investigations is yet unknown at the moment,” says Anderson.



Background

On March 24, the TMB  passed emergency rules to enforce Governor Abbott’s order to postpone all non-urgent elective surgeries and procedures.

The emergency rule states that “all licensed health care professionals shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient's physician.”

This rule is intended to preserve hospital capacity and not deplete personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 emergency.

Additional resources

 

About the Author

Wayne Wenske is Senior Marketing Coordinator at Texas Medical Liability Trust. He can be reached at wayne-wenske@tmlt.org.

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