Extensive Texas Physician Profiles Will Soon Be Available to Public

By Ronald L. Scott

A previous article examined the increased availability of physician profiles on the Internet. See Checking Out Your Doctorís Credentials on the Internet. Information currently available in the Texas database includes license status, number, and type (e.g. MD), address, date of birth, original license date, license expiration date, education, and specialty, and whether information is on file as to any disciplinary actions.

A recently passed Texas statute significantly increases the types of physician profile information and the level of detail that must be made available to the public. House Bill 110 amends the Texas Medical Practice Act (Article 4495b, Vernonís Texas Civil Statutes) to require that the Texas Board of Medical Examiners ("Board") create a profile of each physician licensed in Texas. The statute specifically provides that the physician profiles must be made available on the Internet. Each profile must include the following:

The statute also requires other Texas regulatory boards to provide a cost estimate for their respective licensees to have provider profiles. The cost estimates, due to the Texas Legislature by January 1, 2000, will examine profiles for chiropractors, dentists, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists, podiatrists and psychologists.

Although not required by Texas law, some states have mandated that additional information be disclosed in physician profiles. For example, Indiana requires disclosure of percentage of ownership in certain health care facilities. Florida, Maine, Rhode Island and Tennessee list publications by physicians, and Tennessee and Virginia require profiles to list those managed care organizations that are accepted by a physician.