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FAQs for Consumers

 

 

How do I file a complaint?

Complaints must be submitted in writing. The identity of complainants is protected and kept confidential by law, with the exception of complaints filed by insurance and pharmaceutical companies. The Board cannot accept complaints submitted anonymously. Complaints may be emailed, mailed or faxed.

Has my physician ever been sued?

To learn if your physician has been sued, contact the court clerk in the county where your physician practices. Physicians are required to provide a description of any medical malpractice claim to the TMB for publication on the physician profile.

Does a physician have to have malpractice insurance?

Texas statutes do not require physicians to carry malpractice insurance. However, malpractice insurance is a requirement for privileges at many hospitals.

Can you recommend a doctor?

The TMB doesn’t make referrals or recommendations. However, if you look up a doctor using “Look up a Licensee,” you can see the doctor’s reported specialty area of practice and any reported specialty board certifications. You can also see where your doctor went to medical school and whether your doctor has been disciplined by the Texas Medical Board.

What is a D.O.?

In addition to medical education, a doctor of osteopathy also studies the alignment of the spine and osteopathic manipulation. Osteopathic manipulation is the movement of the bones and joints.

Can my physician refuse to see me?

A physician generally has the right to terminate the doctor/patient relationship. The doctor should give adequate notice to the patient and provide required care until the patient has had reasonable time to find a new physician. Adequate notice will depend on the circumstances.

Is a physician required to have a nurse or someone else present when performing gynecological exams on a patient?

It is recommended, but not required, that a physician have a third party such as a staff or family member serve as a chaperone during such an exam. If a chaperone is unavailable, the patient may decline the exam and may wish to consider finding another physician.

Are complaints public information?

Complaints and investigational information received and maintained are not public information, by state law. Any resulting disciplinary orders are public and can be viewed on the physician’s profile. Formal complaints filed by the Board at the State Office of Administrative Hearings are public documents.

What information is available on a physician’s Profile?

Statutory regulations require the TMB to maintain a profile on each licensed physician. This profile information is gathered in conjunction with the license registration and is available to the public through our online verification database. The Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 154.006 requires that information be made available through the physician profile system. In addition to the statutorily required information, the TMB has adopted rules (Chapter 173) regarding the contents of the physician profile system. Due to concern expressed by licensees regarding identity theft and the public disclosure of exact dates of birth, the TMB no longer includes exact dates of birth in our data products, online verification databases or verbal verifications. We do however continue to include birth year.

Can I file a liability claim through the Medical Board against my physician?

No. Liability claims are heard in civil court. The TMB does not evaluate or give advice regarding civil liability claims. Note: The TMB cannot give legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you have questions regarding liability claims.

Medical Records FAQs

How do I obtain a copy of my medical records?

Mail a written request for records to the physician by certified mail, return receipt requested. This method provides assurance that the request was delivered. State law allows a patient to obtain a copy of his records, or ask that a copy be sent to a new doctor or someone else, such as an insurance company. This law requires a physician to release copies of a patient's medical records (or a narrative summary) if the physician receives written consent from the patient or the minor patient's parent or legal guardian. The physician shall furnish the information within 15 business days after the date of receipt of the request, and reasonable fees for furnishing the information. The reasonable fees shall be paid by the patient or someone on his/her behalf.

What are reasonable fees for medical records?

Board rules define a reasonable fee for providing paper copies of medical records as no more than $25 for the first twenty pages and $.50 per page for every copy thereafter.  A reasonable fee for providing copies of medical records in electronic format is a charge of no more than: $25 for 500 pages or less and $50 for more than 500 pages.  Also, a reasonable fee of up to $15 may be charged for executing an affidavit, if requested. 

A physician may not charge a fee for a medical or mental health record if the request is related to a benefits or assistance claim based on the patient's disability. 

A reasonable fee for copies of imaging studies shall be no more than $8 per copy of an imaging study.

What are reasonable fees for billing records?

Unless the billing records are specifically requested, the physician is not required to provide copies of billing records as part of the medical records. A physician may charge separate fees for medical and billing records requested.

What are reasonable fees for hospital records?

Requests for records created and kept by a hospital should be directed to the hospital rather than to the physician. Fees for hospital records differ from those records provided by physicians.

How long do physicians have to keep medical records?

Generally, seven years from the last treatment date.

My physician closed his office. How do I get my medical records?

Put your request in writing and send it to the physician’s address listed on the physician’s Profile on the TMB website. You can also contact the TMB to determine if a custodian of records has been reported. If another physician has taken over the practice, the records may also be available there.

My physician died. How do I get my medical records?

At this time there is no centralized state repository for medical records. Sometimes patients send a written request for records to the doctor’s next of kin or the executor of the doctor’s estate. A patient may also contact the TMB to determine if a custodian of records has been reported. If another physician has taken over the practice, the records may be available there.