The Texas Medical Board (TMB) is the organization in Texas responsible for the medical licenses of physicians that wish to practice medicine anywhere in the state. If patients, other medical professionals or the public has a complaint about a healthcare provider, they can reach out to this organization. The complaint may trigger a review and, if appropriate, an investigation. Based on the evidence gathered during the investigation, TMB officials may dismiss the complaint or pursue further action. This further action could include reprimands, a suspension or even revocation of one’s license to practice medicine in Texas.
A complaint in action: How does the TMB respond?
In a recent example, a complaint was filed against a physician in Houston. The complaint involved allegations an ophthalmologist was prescribing hydroxychloroquine to patients with COVID-19. This, according to the complaint, was a violation of the Medical Practice Act. Upon review, the TMB stated there was not enough evidence available to establish that the physician’s actions were in violation of the regulation. Thus far, it does not appear the TMB has made the complaint public.
The TMB has proactively addressed the issue of treatment for COVID-19 patients, stating that physicians are free to use treatments they deem appropriate but that these decisions must be made with “full, proper and accurate disclosure by the physician.” As is always true, the treating doctor cannot mislead the patient or provide false information about the therapy.
Response: What happens next?
If things had gone differently, the TMB could have moved forward with a more thorough investigation and further questioned the physician. It is important for medical professionals who face this type of investigation to know they have options. You can fight back and act to defend your medical license. The TMB’s decisions are not final.