State Regulation news
Sunset Staff Recommends TBCE Consolidation with Other Licensing Agencies
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 08:11 AM

News Bite:  The Sunset Commission Staff recommends that the TBCE and eight other health agencies be consolidated into the Health Professions Division of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.  The report notes that “when these small agencies become involved in litigation, ... the agencies typically do not have money in their operating budget or extra staff to help in case litigation."  The Chiropractors, Optometrists, and Podiatrists would be consolidated in phase two to be completed by the end of August 2019.

Each health profession would have a governor-appointed advisory board responsible for development of all practice-related rules.  The all-public member TDLR Commission would consider these practice-related rules for final approval and could adopt, or return the rules to the advisory board, but could not amend them.  With the programs scheduled to transfer from DSHS by 2019, TDLR will oversee 38 licensing programs with more than 168 license types and about 700,000 licensees.

Sunset Staff Reports of Other Boards: State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
Written by Editor   
Friday, November 11, 2016 12:00 AM

As an illustration of how the Sunset Staff Report can cause potential harm to a profession,

The review of the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners found an agency struggling after a difficult biennium that stretched its resources and abilities, almost to the breaking point. … The agency is small, with a sta  of 20 and a budget of about $1.1 million, but it has a large mission — licensing veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and equine dental providers, and regulating all aspects of veterinary medical care.”

“In 2015, the agency was overwhelmed by an unprecedented number of complaints — approximately 750against a single licensee whose grisly social media post about killing a cat with a bow and arrow resulted in a national media storm.  The sheer volume of complaints and ensuing investigation required a disproportionate share of staff  and resources for just one of the several hundred cases the agency investigates over the course of a year. At the same time, the agency mired itself in a legal battle after initiating enforcement action against an animal shelter veterinarian, an action the courts determined to be outside the agency’s statutory authority.  The results of this case have reverberated throughout the Texas veterinary profession and limited the agency’s authority to regulate some of its own licensees.
Sunset Staff Reports of Other Boards: Texas Medical Board
Written by Editor   
Thursday, November 10, 2016 12:01 AM

“In the world of healthcare professionals, the physician reigns supreme. No other healthcare practitioner has greater autonomy or authority over patient care than a physician.”  Thus begins the Sunset Commission Staff Report on the Texas Board of Medical Examiners.  But lest you think that the report venerates TMB licensees at demigods, note the very next sentence, “consequently, no other healthcare discipline poses a greater risk to patient and public safety than the practice of medicine.”

The government report notes that “given the enormous potential risk posed by physicians, the Medical Board is not an ordinary occupational licensing agency.”  This is especially true when compared to the statement in it’s review of the TBCE where they note “unlike hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, or pharmacies, the services provided in chiropractic facilities do not pose significant risk to the public, and “the vast majority of the violations cited in facility complaints do not pose harm to the public because they are administrative in nature.”
Sunset Staff Reports of Other Boards: Texas Board of Nursing
Written by Editor   
Thursday, November 10, 2016 12:00 AM

“In most respects, the Texas Board of Nursing is a shining example of how a health licensing agency should be run.  The board is a stable agency with experienced, capable staff that perform well and often help smaller licensing agencies meet their regulatory responsibilities,” says the Sunset Commission Staff Report and “with nursing being the most trusted profession, the board maintains high expectations for nurses, who often care for vulnerable patients.”

Nevertheless the staff, of course finds areas of improvement for the Board of Nursing.  You may read more of those details at the Sunset Staff Report found here.

TBCE Issues statement on Oct. 17, 2016 ruling by Travis County District Court Judge Rhonda Hurley
Written by Editor   
Monday, November 07, 2016 04:26 PM

The Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (TBCE) has received many questions from our licensees regarding the recent judgment by Travis County District Court Judge Rhonda Hurley, officially issued October 17, 2016.  The matter concerns provisions of 22 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §78.13, Chiropractic Scope of Practice, which the Texas Medical Association has challenged as exceeding the scope of practice, defined by the Legislature in TEX. OCC.CODE §201.002 (b).

Sunset Commission Issues TBCE Report – Summary
Written by Editor   
Sunday, October 09, 2016 12:05 PM

While opening with the customary provocative language, “the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners has long been dogged by litigation and a reputation for using its authority to expand chiropractors’ scope of practice in lieu of focusing on protecting the public,” the Sunset Advisory Commission Staff Report does report, however Sunset staff found no evidence that the board continues to engage in practices that would merit this reputation.

The full report may be found here but this article will briefly provide the overview recommendations made by the Sunset staff. Other articles will be linked to these overview points to provide quotations from the report for further explanation.  You are encouraged to review the articles related to the issue to clearly understand them.

The Sunset Commission staff have identified five specific issues and made key recommendations for each issue.  They are:

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