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  H.B. No. 1973
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to certain duties of the Texas Medical Board in licensing
  and expert testimony.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 153, Occupations Code, is
  amended by adding Section 153.016 to read as follows:
         Sec. 153.016.  EXPERT TESTIMONY. A member of the board may
  not serve as an expert witness in a suit involving a health care
  liability claim against a physician for injury to or death of a
  patient.
         SECTION 2.  Section 155.007, Occupations Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), (m), and (n) to read as
  follows:
         (h)  Not later than January 1 of each year:
               (1)  the executive director shall review the policy and
  procedures the board uses to issue licenses; and
               (2)  the board shall perform a needs assessment to
  enable the board to determine the performance goals that the board
  must meet to reduce any unreasonable delays in the timely
  completion of the licensing process and to ensure the process is
  completed in a reasonable number of days.
         (i)  Not later than August 1 of each even-numbered year, the
  executive director shall issue a report to the governor, the
  Legislative Budget Board, and the relevant committees of the senate
  and the house of representatives on the state of the board's
  licensing process.
         (j)  The report required under Subsection (i) must include a
  projected yearly budget for board staffing and technology
  improvements that will allow the board to issue licenses within a
  reasonable number of days.
         (k)  The board and the executive director shall ensure that
  any change in licensing policies or procedures is made only to
  increase the number of licenses issued under this chapter, reduce
  unreasonable delays in the licensing process, and maintain public
  safety.
         (l)  The report required under Subsection (i) must include:
               (1)  any specialty certification information collected
  from applicants, including any information similar to information
  collected under Section 154.006;
               (2)  the location where each applicant intends to
  practice; and
               (3)  in aggregate form, data collected since the prior
  report relating to felony convictions, Class A and Class B
  misdemeanor convictions, and deferred adjudications for felonies
  and Class A and Class B misdemeanors.
         (m)  Not later than August 31, 2008, the board shall ensure
  that the average time to process license applications under this
  chapter does not exceed 51 days. The board shall include the
  board's progress toward this performance measure target in the
  report required under Subsection (i).
         (n)  The board shall make an effort to give priority to an
  application submitted by an applicant who informs the board that
  the applicant intends to practice in a medically underserved area
  of this state.
         SECTION 3.  Section 155.008, Occupations Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 155.008.  CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK.  (a)  The board may
  submit to the Department of Public Safety a complete set of
  fingerprints of each license applicant, and the department shall
  classify and check the fingerprints against those in the
  department's fingerprint records. The department shall certify to
  the board its findings regarding the criminal record of the
  applicant or the applicant's lack of a criminal record.
         (b)  Each applicant shall submit information to the board
  detailing any conviction for a felony or a Class A or Class B
  misdemeanor or a deferred adjudication for a felony or Class A or
  Class B misdemeanor for a violation relating to:
               (1)  Medicare, Medicaid or insurance fraud;
               (2)  the Texas Controlled Substances Act or
  intoxication or alcoholic beverage offenses;
               (3)  sexual or assaultive offenses;  and
               (4)  tax fraud or evasion.
         SECTION 4.  Section 156.001, Occupations Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (e) to read as follows:
         (e)  In addition to the information required by Subsection
  (c), a license holder shall submit to the board with the
  registration permit renewal application information not reported
  on a license application or a previous permit renewal application
  relating to a felony conviction, a conviction for a Class A or Class
  B misdemeanor, or a deferred adjudication for a felony offense or
  Class A or Class B misdemeanor offense for:
               (1)  Medicare, Medicaid or insurance fraud;
               (2)  the Texas Controlled Substances Act or
  intoxication or alcoholic beverage offenses;
               (3)  sexual or assaultive offenses;  and
               (4)  tax fraud or evasion.
         SECTION 5.  Section 155.1025(a), Occupations Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The board shall adopt rules for expediting any
  application for a license under this subtitle made by a person who
  [is licensed to practice medicine in another state or country and
  who] submits an affidavit with the application stating that:
               (1)  the applicant intends to practice in a rural
  community[, as determined by the Office of Rural Community
  Affairs]; or
               (2)  the applicant[:
                     [(A)     has requested and is eligible for an
  immigration visa waiver as described by Section 12.0127, Health and
  Safety Code; and
                     [(B)]  intends to practice medicine in a medically
  underserved area or health professional shortage area, designated
  by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, that
  has a current shortage of physicians.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2007.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1973 was passed by the House on April
  18, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 144, Nays 0, 1 present, not
  voting; that the House refused to concur in Senate amendments to
  H.B. No. 1973 on May 21, 2007, and requested the appointment of a
  conference committee to consider the differences between the two
  houses; and that the House adopted the conference committee report
  on H.B. No. 1973 on May 26, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 143,
  Nays 1, 2 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1973 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 17, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0; at the request of the House, the Senate appointed a conference
  committee to consider the differences between the two houses; and
  that the Senate adopted the conference committee report on H.B. No.
  1973 on May 26, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor