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State laws and regulations that affect your medical practice


1. Should gunshot wounds be reported to the proper authorities?

Yes. The law mandates that a physician who attends or treats, or is requested to attend or treat, a bullet or gunshot wound, or the administrator, superintendent, or other person in charge of a hospital, sanitorium, or other institution in which a bullet or gunshot wound is attended or treated or in which the attention or treatment is requested, shall report the case at once to the law enforcement authority of the municipality or county in which the physician practices or in which the institution is located.


1. Should a practitioner report another's impairment, gross incompetence or unprofessional conduct to the Texas Medical Board?

Yes. The following are grounds for discipline:

(a) A physician or an applicant for a license to practice medicine commits a prohibited practice if that person:

(1) submits to the board a false or misleading statement, document, or certificate in an application for a license;

(2) presents to the board a license, certificate, or diploma that was illegally or fraudulently obtained;

(3) commits fraud or deception in taking or passing an examination;

(4) uses alcohol or drugs in an intemperate manner that, in the board's opinion, could endanger a patient's life;

(5) commits unprofessional or dishonorable conduct that is likely to deceive or defraud the public, or injure the public;

(6) uses an advertising statement that is false, misleading, or deceptive;

7) advertises professional superiority or the performance of professional service in a superior manner if that advertising is not readily subject to verification;

(8) purchases, sells, barters, or uses, or offers to purchase, sell, barter, or use, a medical degree, license, certificate, or diploma, or a transcript of a license, certificate, or diploma in or incident to an application to the board for a license to practice medicine;

(9) alters, with fraudulent intent, a medical license, certificate, or diploma, or a transcript of a medical license, certificate, or diploma;

(10) uses a medical license, certificate, or diploma, or a transcript of a medical license, certificate, or diploma that has been:

(A) fraudulently purchased or issued;

(B) counterfeited; or

(C) materially altered;

(11) impersonates or acts as proxy for another person in an examination required by this subtitle for a medical license;

(12) engages in conduct that subverts or attempts to subvert an examination process required by this subtitle for a medical license;

(13) impersonates a physician or permits another to use the person's license or certificate to practice medicine in this state;

(14) directly or indirectly employs a person whose license to practice medicine has been suspended, canceled, or revoked;

(15) associates in the practice of medicine with a person:

(A) whose license to practice medicine has been suspended, canceled, or revoked; or

(B) who has been convicted of the unlawful practice of medicine in this state or elsewhere;

(16) performs or procures a criminal abortion, aids or abets in the procuring of a criminal abortion, attempts to perform or procure a criminal abortion, or attempts to aid or abet the performance or procurement of a criminal abortion;

(17) directly or indirectly aids or abets the practice of medicine by a person, partnership, association, or corporation that is not licensed to practice medicine by the board;

(18) performs an abortion on a woman who is pregnant with a viable unborn child during the third trimester of the pregnancy unless:

(A) the abortion is necessary to prevent the death of the woman;

(B) the viable unborn child has a severe, irreversible brain impairment; or

(C) the woman is diagnosed with a significant likelihood of suffering imminent severe, irreversible brain damage or imminent severe, irreversible paralysis; or

(19) performs an abortion on an unemancipated minor without the written consent of the child's parent, managing conservator, or legal guardian or without a court order, authorizing the minor to consent to the abortion, unless the physician concludes that on the basis of the physician's good faith clinical judgment, a condition exists that complicates the medical condition of the pregnant minor and necessitates the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avoid a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function and that there is insufficient time to obtain the consent of the child's parent, managing conservator, or legal guardian.

(b) For purposes of Subsection (a)(12), conduct that subverts or attempts to subvert the medical licensing examination process includes, as prescribed by board rules, conduct that violates:

(1) the security of the examination materials;

(2) the standard of test administration; or

(3) the accreditation process.

(c) The board shall adopt the forms necessary for physicians to obtain the consent required for an abortion to be performed on an unemancipated minor under Subsection (a). The form executed to obtain consent or any other required documentation must be retained by the physician until the later of the fifth anniversary of the date of the minor's majority or the seventh anniversary of the date the physician received or created the documentation for the record.

V.T.C.A. § 164.052


1. Does a mental health professional have a duty to warn if he or she suspects a patient to have violent tendencies?

Texas' confidentiality statute provides that a professional may disclose confidential information only to medical or law enforcement personnel "if the professional determines that there is a probability of imminent physical injury by the patient to the patient or others or there is a probability of immediate mental or emotional injury to the patient . . ."

V.T.C.A. § 611,004(a)(2)


1. Does a health professional have a duty to report child abuse?

(a) A person having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report as provided by this subchapter.

(b) If a professional has cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected or may be abused or neglected, the professional shall make a report not later than the 48th hour after the hour the professional first suspects that the child has been or may be abused or neglected or is a victim of an offense. A professional may not delegate to or rely on another person to make the report. In this subsection, "professional" means an individual who is licensed or certified by the state or who is an employee of a facility licensed, certified, or operated by the state and who, in the normal course of official duties or duties for which a license or certification is required, has direct contact with children. The term includes teachers, nurses, doctors, day-care employees, employees of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services, juvenile probation officers, and juvenile detention or correctional officers.

(c) The requirement to report under this section applies without exception to an individual whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including an attorney, a member of the clergy, a medical practitioner, a social worker, a mental health professional, and an employee of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services.

(d) Unless waived in writing by the person making the report, the identity of an individual making a report under this chapter is confidential and may be disclosed only:

(1) as provided by Section 261.201; or

(2) to a law enforcement officer for the purposes of conducting a criminal investigation of the report.

V.T.C.A. § 261.101

Copyright Kern Augustine Conroy and Schoppmann, P.C. Used with permission.

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