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All health and human services agencies in Texas are required to maintain a list of certain types of service providers in their domain that have had an adverse license action such as denial, revocation, or suspension of a license. The types of providers required to be included on such a list include day care facilities, residential care facilities, youth camp providers, and home health agencies.
This bill adds ambulatory surgical centers, birthing centers, abortion facilities, end stage renal disease facilities, freestanding emergency rooms, and narcotic drug treatment programs to a list of service providers that are subject to being included on a health and human service agency's adverse licensing list.
While we have deep reservations about the general state of occupational licensure in Texas, which licenses far too many occupations requiring millions of Texans to essentially get a permission slip from the government to go to work (to the benefit of entrenched businesses and at the expense of new competitors), this legislation does not change the status quo of occupational licensing.
The intention of SB 139 is to prevent licensed providers who have had an adverse action such as license revocation for causing negligent harm to a patient, from turning around and easily obtaining a license in another profession regulated by a different health and human services agency that would have no way of knowing about the previous adverse licensing decision. Ostensibly this would allow for better inter-agency information sharing between agencies to ensure that providers labeled as "bad actors" in one profession do not set up shop in another without having their past indiscretions scrutinized. Technically this is an increase in the scope of government in the marketplace which would ordinarily earn opposition from our organization.
On the other hand, while this legislation does not expressly prohibit someone once labeled a "bad actor" from ever obtaining a license in the future, it does ensure that they are held to a higher degree of responsibility for their actions.
Because this bill supports our principle of personal responsibility while also offending limited government, we remain neutral.