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SB 1148 would amend the Occupations Code to prohibit a managed care plan issuer from differentiating between physicians based solely on a physician's Maintenance of Certification (MOC) with the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Board (AOB). Certain medical facilities and mental health facilities would also be prohibited, with certain exceptions, from discriminating based on a physician's maintenance of certification.
Under this bill maintenance of certification may not be required for the issuance or renewal of a license to practice medicine in this state.
The bill would also require the Texas Medical Board (TMB) to conduct a study within existing resources on whether to recognize one or more entities to provide maintenance of certification for physicians in the state. If the study indicates a need for TMB to recognize one or more entities to provide maintenance of certification for physicians, TMB would be authorized to develop and implement a program to recognize the entities.
The author's statement of intent provides excellent background on the purpose of this legislation:
"While physicians are not required to complete MOCs as a condition of state licensure, many hospitals, employers, and public and private payers require MOC as a condition for working with a physician, thereby creating a de facto mandate on physicians. S.B. 1148 seeks to address this mandate by stipulating a physician's initial board certification is sufficient to be considered a board-certified specialist in Texas for the purposes of licensure, employment, reimbursement, or admitting privileges at a hospital in this state."
Though it might appear on first glance this would be a reduction in occupational licensing, this is not the case. The ABMS and AOB are private certification boards which doctors are not required by law to be certified by or to maintain certification with. This is not the same thing as occupational licensing or government regulatory burden. Private employers should be free to set their own credentialing requirements; a practice we view as preferable in most cases to state occupational licensing.
If the bill were amended to only apply to state facilities or to plans paid for by the state, we would withdraw our objection. However, as the bill stands, we oppose SB 1148.