TBCE Reports:  "Solicitation and Marketing for $10,000"
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 12:00 AM

The TBCE has released information regarding solicitation and marketing.

“In Texas, it is not only unethical, but it is also illegal for a chiropractor, attorney, physician, surgeon or private investigator to solicit an accident victim for the purpose of rendering chiropractic, medical or legal services before the 31st day after the date on which the accident or disaster occurred,” reports the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (TBCE).  Although the laws prohibiting the solicitation have been challenged as unconstitutional, they have been found to be constitutional and remain in effect.  

The TBCE reports that if an employee of your clinic participates in the activity of solicitation you can be held responsible for their actions.  Conviction of solicitation and/or barratry of professional employment laws can result in fines, jail time, and even revocation of your license.

Be aware, the TBCE reports, that recently law firms throughout Texas are advertising their ability and willingness to file civil actions against lawyers and doctors for violation of solicitation laws.  These firms are interested in such cases because the statutes provide for a $10,000 per solicitation penalty even if the individual bringing suit never received any actual services.  The $10,000 penalty is “considered an automatic penalty for violation of solicitation/barratry laws.”  It is common for simultaneous complaints to be filed with the regulatory board of the offenders as well.

Check Chapter 38 of the Texas Penal Code, Section 38.12 for details, but actions to avoid include:  

  • the intent to obtain professional employment for the person or for another

  • providing to an individual who has not sought the person’s employment

  • a written communication or solicitation including person or by telephone.

  • a solicitation occurring prior to the 31st day after the date of injury

  • coercion, duress, fraud, overreaching, harassment, intimidation or undue influence

  • soliciting someone who did not desire it

Additionally be aware that Texas Occupations Code, Title 3, Subtitle a, Chapter 102. Section 102.001 notes that it is an offense to:

  • knowingly offer to pay, directly or indirectly, any remuneration for securing or soliciting a patient.

  • knowingly agrees to accept, directly or indirectly, any remuneration for securing or soliciting a patient.

The TBCE notes “in plain English, you can be guilty of a crime if you provide compensation to an individual for the purpose of securing of patients.  It is not a crime to pay a marketing company or individual a general fee or salary for marketing/advertising to the public.  However, if this individual or company’s compensation is based per head of patients received by the clinic, this could definitely be a potential violation."

Source:  http://www.tbce.state.tx.us/newsletter/2015/NLJuly2015.pdf