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TMB releases emergency rules on re-opening

Updated May 15, 2020

April 30, 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 adopted emergency rules related to Governor Abbot’s orders that loosened restrictions on physician practices and elective procedures. The adopted emergency rule goes into effect at midnight tonight.

The rules establish minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID-19 pandemic and requires practices to post those standards. The rules state:

Notice and Compliance Requirements Concerning COVID-19 Minimum Standards of Safe Practice

(i) All physicians providing patient care or engaging in an in-person patient encounter, must implement the following minimum COVID-19 standards of safe practice

(I) a mask must be worn by both the patient and physician or the physician’s delegate when in proximity of the patient (meaning less than a 6-foot distance between the patient and the physician or the physician’s delegate);

(II) follow policies the physician, medical and healthcare practice, or facility has in place regarding COVID-19 screening and testing and/or screening patients;

(III) that, before any encounter, patients must be screened for potential symptoms of COVID-19 or verified previously screened within last 20 days; and

(IV) that prior to care involving a medical procedure or surgery on the mucous membranes, including the respiratory tract, with a high risk of aerosol transmission, the minimum safety equipment used by a physician or physician’s delegate should include N95 masks, or an equivalent protection from aerosolized particles, and face shields.

(ii) All physicians providing patient care or engaging in an in-person patient encounter in medical and healthcare practices, offices, and facilities, other than hospitals as defined under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health & Safety Code, shall post a COVID-19 Minimum Standards of Safe Practice Notice (COVID-19 Notice), delineating the minimum standards of safe practice described in this subsection, in each public area and treatment room or area of the office, practice, or facility.”

The TMB says it will publish guidance related to these emergency rules on its COVID-19 page.


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