Texas Medical Board Issues Emergency Rule in Response to Governor Abbott’s Hospital Capacity Executive Order

May 6, 2020 | Insights

By Denise Rose

Last Thursday, the Texas Medical Board announced an emergency rule in response to Gov. Abbott’s recent Executive Order GA-19 related to hospital capacity. Like the governor’s order, the emergency rule went into effect on Friday, May 1, and sets forth minimum standards for safe practice required of all physicians when engaging in an in-person patient encounter. The rule includes masks requirements, screening policies, minimum safety requirements, and Safe Practice Notice posting requirements.

The TMB has provided this sample notice to help providers meet the notice posting requirement, as well as an FAQ document. The FAQ clarifies that:

  • the minimum standards apply regardless of practice settings,
  • physicians may refuse to treat a patient who refuses to wear a mask,
  • that masks may be removed if necessary for care (e.g., during surgery), and
  • that masks are required even if the patient screened negative for COVID-19.

The rule is effective immediately, but is scheduled to be posted in the May 8 Texas Register.

To view additional information about Executive Order GA-19, view “Governor Abbott Lifts Restrictions on Surgeries, Requires Reservation of 15% of Hospital Capacity for COVID-19 Patients, and Continues Guidelines for Senior Care Facilities.”

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