The Texas House Committee on Public Health recently heard public comment on a bill that would require the Texas Medical Board (TMB) to regularly check for disciplinary action taken against doctors.
House Bill 1998 was filed by Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Flower Mound) in response to repeated instances of medical doctors continuing to practice in Texas despite potentially disqualifying disciplinary action, whether previous or ongoing.
The proposed legislation reads, “At least once each month, the board shall search the National Practitioner Data Bank and update a physician’s profile to include any new report of disciplinary action against the physician.”
Further, it states, “The board shall refuse to issue a license … if the applicant held a license to practice medicine in another state that has been revoked by the licensing authority in that state.”
The Committee on Public Health, chaired by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-North Richland Hills), took up the bill on March 20, hearing public comment on the proposal.
Rep. Johnson appeared before the committee and explained that her bill “aims to increase transparency regarding disciplinary actions for physicians in Texas.”
“Current statutes governing the Texas Medical Board is riddled with loopholes that allow physicians licensed in Texas … to avoid disclosing disciplinary actions,” she claimed. “When disciplinary actions are overlooked, patients’ safety and in some cases their lives are at risk.”
After noting the infamous case of “Dr. Death,” Johnson also referred to “a more recent case in Dallas, where an anesthesiologist was allowed to continue practicing when he was under investigation and eventually found to be tampering with IV bags, which killed one person and severely harmed 11 others.”
On September 2, The Dallas Express broke the news that Dallas anesthesiologist Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz Jr. was potentially connected to a series of medical emergencies at a Baylor Scott & White facility. An investigation showed video evidence of Ortiz allegedly planting drugged IV bags outside operating rooms in order to cause medical emergencies, leading to his arrest.
During detention hearings, government prosecutors called Ortiz a “medical terrorist,” and his appeal for release was denied. He currently awaits trial, which is scheduled for later this year.
The TMB had allowed Ortiz to continue practicing despite ongoing disciplinary action, claiming the anesthesiologist had “rehabilitative potential and present value to the community.”
“House Bill 1998 would close these loopholes,” Johnson explained, “by requiring the Board to search the National Practitioner Databank, requiring medical peer review committees or healthcare entities to report to the National Practitioner Databank and the Medical Board, and directing the Medical Board to refuse to issue a license to practice medicine in Texas if the applicant has had their license revoked in other cases.”
However, some public speakers opposed the bill, suggesting it could be used to unduly squelch medical opinions that run afoul of broader medical industry and establishment.
Virginia Young, a physiologist from The Woodlands, explained, “I strongly oppose HB 1998. The Texas Medical Board has been weaponized. … This bill adds to the dangerous problem of harassment by the TMB in an effort to control physicians.”
For example, Young claimed, the bill could enable the targeting of medical professionals who had expressed hesitancy about COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Texas Medical Board, as well as others, was used to threaten physicians into submission during COVID,” she said. “Any legislation giving more power to the Texas Medical Board must be stopped.”
Tom Glass, the founder of Texas Constitutional Enforcement, objected to the bill’s stipulation that medical professionals be denied Texas licenses based on a license revocation elsewhere in the U.S. solely on the grounds that it would grant supremacy to out-of-state laws.
“We oppose this bill because it cedes the authority of a Texas agency to the regulatory authorities of other states which may not have the same standards of Texas,” he explained. “We believe that Texans should run Texas.”
Ultimately, the committee left HB 1998 pending on the table, as recorded in the meeting’s minutes.
I would be very interested to find out what the world-wide famous Dallas based cardiologist, Dr. Peter Andrew McCullough has to say about this legislation.
I think that his opinion would certainly have tremendous weight.