Updated May 15, 2020
May 4, 2020
Editor’s note: This is a developing issue. Please see the TMB’s COVID-19 web page for more information. See also TMA White Paper Explains Minimum Safe Practice Rule and How Do I Comply with TMB's Safe-Practice Standards.
The Texas Medical Board has published FAQs related to its minimum standards for safe practice during COVID-19. The TMB standards went into effect on May 1, 2020.
Below are highlights of the FAQs. The full list of FAQs is available here.
“8. Can I schedule and perform office-based visits for my patients?
Yes, as long as you comply with minimum standards for safe practice requirements set out in 22 TAC Section 190.8(2)(U) and post the required notice.
The key for all patient visits or encounters is that they be conducted in accordance with the minimum safe practice requirements set forth in 22 TAC Section 190.8(2)(U). TMB encourages healthcare practitioners to consider taking all necessary safety measures, beyond the minimum requirements delineated in the new emergency rule, to help prevent the spread ofCOVID-19and allow the re-opening of Texas to safely progress.”
“9. Is there a notice I can print to display in the office to meet the posting requirement in the rule?
There is no required design of the notice to post, as long as it contains the required information in the rule and is visible to your patients. Per the TMB emergency rule, the posting must be displayed in each public area, and treatment room or area of the office, practice, or facility. TMB encourages a robust approach when displaying the required posting, make them most visible to patients. The following printable PDF notice has been created for your convenience: COVID-19 Notice -Minimum Standards of Safe Practice.”
“10. Are doctor offices responsible for providing masks and gloves to patients who come to their offices? What type of mask is required?
The rule does not require gloves.The rule requires wearing of masks when in "proximity" of the patient. If the patient, or the physician's delegate, and patient are not within proximity of each other, then masks do not have to be worn. Offices may set their own policy on mask and glove requirements outside of a patient-physician interaction. If a patient does not have a mask for use during an exam with the physician, the practice must provide a mask or some type of face covering. There are no requirements specific to the type of mask patients must wear."
“11. If a patient is physically and mentally able to wear a mask but refuses to do so, are physicians allowed to refuse treatment?
Yes. The decision to treat/see any patient is at the discretion of the physician/practice
“5. Do the minimum safety standards apply to care provided by physicians in hospitals?
Yes. The minimum safety standards apply to all physicians and their delegates, regardless of the practice setting.”
- Texas Medical Association (TMA) COVID-19 Resource Center
- Texas Medical Board (TMB) COVID-19 page
- Governor’s Executive Order GA 19 related to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 disaster
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 resource page
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) COVID-19 webpage
- The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) COVID-19 projections
- Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center