84th Legislative Outcomes and Outlooks
Thursday, June 18, 2015 07:38 AM
Quick Brief:  In the 84th Texas Legislature you have been provided with $200 a year tax savings, successfully thwarted trade restrictions that would limit your ability to practice; and have achieved a bolstered estimation of your profession.  A Sunset Review of all healthcare boards and their statues means, however, that renewed vigilance is necessary from now through the 2017 legislative session to ensure that our profession remains unscathed.

 

The 84th Texas Legislature has now adjourned, but the work for the 85th Texas Legislature is already underway. 

OUTCOMES

This session was a productive session and we were able to see positive legislation passed an to fend off all attacks upon our profession.

  • Tax Relief – You will no longer have to pay the $200 professional tax in addition to your licensing fee.  
TCA worked diligently all session to pass HB 2089 by Rep Drew Darby and SB 765 by Sen Kevin Eltife.  These bills eliminate the $200 occupations tax that you pay every year on top of your $162 license renewal fee [http://www.tbce.state.tx.us/documents/dc-renewal-active.pdf].  TCA was one of the principle organizations pushing this bill and our leadership helped to move these bills through the process.
We were successful in this effort because TCA remained engaged throughout the process and we were vigilant in defending our profession.  When TCA called on doctors of chiropractic to engage in the process and to donate to our legislative efforts, you stepped up.

This bill will have a significant impact on Doctors of Chiropractic.  Not only will you no longer have to pay the $200 tax every year, it is our understanding that, because of the budget process and how TBCE uses fees, it could potentially lead to an additional decrease in your TBCE fees.

  • Trade Restrictions Thwarted – Efforts to prevent you from performing physical examinations on school age athletes failed.

Once again the Texas Medical Association (TMA) filed legislation to limit the scope of practice of Doctors of Chiropractic by removing your ability to perform pre-participation athletic physicals.  TCA fought throughout the process and the bill's author, Rep. Four Price, withdrew the bill from consideration in committee.

  • A Bolstered Estimation – TCA and Doctors of Chiropractic have not gone unnoticed.  We had high-profile and professional testimony offered in committees and, for the first time in years, we had dozens of doctors attending hearings and meetings with members of the Legislature.
OUTLOOKS
  • The session is concluded, but the struggle is only beginning  Later this summer the Texas Sunset Commission will begin its work in reviewing the practices and procedures, statue, and scope of practice of all healthcare boards.  The Texas Medical Board, the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, and other healthcare boards will be under scrutiny in the 2017 Texas Legislative session.

The Sunset Commission will begin working to review the TBCE's practices and procedures, and 2017 WILL bring anticipated scope of practice battles between those who wish to practice as they have been trained to practice, and those who would restrict the trade of others.  

It is anticipated that the medical associations will be very active and aggressive in providing input to limit, restrict, and restrain your ability to conduct the healthcare trade in Texas.  We need to remain engaged and vigilant throughout the entire process from now through 2017.

There has not been a time over the last decade that is as important as this upcoming process.  Not only will this review be comprehensive, it will enable you to have an opportunity to address the lawsuits against the TBCE and TCA, to further define your scope of practice and ensure that the governmental regulatory agencies work with you and not against you.