AAPS Letter to Texas Medical Board in Opposition to Proposed 10-Day Waiting Period for Care from Out-of-Network Physicians

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Dear Members of the Texas Medical Board:

We are writing today in opposition to the proposed rule, 22 TAC 165.7, which seeks to impose improper obstacles on Texas patients seeking medical care from independent physicians.

Forcing patients to wait at least 10 business days to receive surgical care from an out-of-network physician is not only unacceptable but contrary to law. We urge you, in the strongest terms possible, to oppose approval of 22 TAC 165.7 until all mandatory delays impeding access to timely care are removed. 

SB 1264, signed into law this past June by Governor Abbott, allows patients and out-of-network physicians to agree to mutually beneficial terms for the provision of non-emergency medical care. No waiting period was enacted in this legislation and no authority to set a waiting period was given by the law to the Texas Medical Board (TMB).

Therefore it is our view that the TMB would be acting outside of its authority by delaying, in this manner, the ability of Texas patients to obtain medical care from a physician with a valid Texas license.  Any such interference by the board controlling the timing or other standard terms of non-emergency care, mutually agreed upon by both patient and physician, would be contrary to law.

In addition, not only is the policy likely unlawful, but it is also potentially harmful to patients. Out-of-network care can often be a less expensive and higher quality option for patients than those available to them in increasingly narrow health plan controlled networks.

If the board enacts such overregulation, AAPS will begin immediately exploring options for protecting the rights of Texas patients and physicians, including potential legal challenges, and means for redress through the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

Thank you for your consideration of the foregoing concerns. Please stand up for patients in the Great State of Texas by correcting this serious flaw in the proposed rule.

Sincerely,

Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Executive Director