Proposed Texas Bills Would Overturn Ban on Physician Employment at Hospitals

The Texas House County Affairs Committee heard testimony yesterday on bills that would remove the corporate practice law from individual hospital districts, giving some hospitals the ability to hire physicians directly, according to a Texas Tribune report.

Current Texas law does not allow hospitals to hire physicians directly. Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) proposed a house bill that would allow hospitals in counties with populations of 50,000 or less to hire physicians. Rep. Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon) introduced bills that would allow the Knox County Hospital District and the Hardeman County Hospital District to employ physicians.

Those that support the current law say it keeps physicians' medical judgment separate from the financial interest of the hospital. Some worry that without appropriate checks in place, hospitals could exert too much influence over employed physicians.

The representatives introducing the bills say physician employment would increase the ability of rural areas to recruit and retain providers. The Texas Tribune recently reported that 27 counties in Texas have no primary care physicians; 16 counties have just one.

Read the Texas Tribune report on physician employment.

Read more on physician employment:

-Tactics to Improve Quality, Cost Depend on Physicians' Employment Status

-Physician Integration May Be "Tipping Point" for Success of ACOs

-Study: Physician Employment Improves Coordination But Could to Increased Healthcare Costs

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