August 16, 2011

Texas Limits Medical Licenses for Foreign Physicians

On June 17, 2011, the Texas Legislature passed a bill (SB-189) restricting medical licenses for foreign physicians wanting to practice in Texas. The bill requires non-citizens and non-permanent residents applying for a medical license to prove that they “have practiced medicine or have signed an agreement to practice medicine for at least three years at a medically underserved area or health professional shortage area.” This legislation is effective September 1, 2011.

The new legislation requires the Texas Medical Board (TMB) to adopt “the rules necessary to implement” the new law not later than May 1, 2012. The new requirements apply to “an application for an initial license to practice medicine made on or after September 1, 2012.” Applications submitted through August 31, 2012 are excluded from the new requirements.

There is uncertainty regarding the practical problems that implementing a law with such restrictions may cause. There are concerns abut the constitutionality of these restrictions as well as the lack of clarity regarding the meaning of some of its provisions such as the meaning of “application for an initial license.” Unfortunately, we will have to wait until the TMB publishes the regulations implementing this law to better understand its applicability.

To review the bill’s AUTHOR’S / SPONSOR’S STATEMENT OF INTENT click here (add link – ftp://ftp.legis.state.tx.us/bills/82R/analysis/html/senate_bills/SB00100_SB00199/SB00189I.HTM