House Representative

Coleman, Garnet F.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/04/2011

House Passes Legislation to Allow Rural Hospitals to Hire Doctors Directly

Austin--The Texas House today unanimously approved legislation that will allow certain rural hospitals to hire physicians directly. SB 894/HB 1700 by Senator Duncan (Lubbock) and Representatives Garnet F. Coleman, Warren Chisum, Chuck Hopson, Drew Darby, and Rick Hardcastle will allow critical access hospitals, sole community hospitals, and hospitals located in counties with a population of 50,000 or less to hire doctors directly.

"This is a big deal," said Representative Coleman. "This will change the way medicine is practiced and help ensure that hospitals in rural Texas continue to exist."

Texas is one of just a few states that still generally prohibit the Corporate Practice of Medicine, which prohibits the direct employment and control of physicians by non-physician entities. Therefore, hospitals typically contract with physician groups to provide the necessary care at the hospitals. This can be a significant obstacle to recruitment and health care access in rural areas.

"This isn't just a rural issue, it's a Texas issue," said Representative Coleman. "Many of us have family and friends who live in rural areas. My grandparents were raised in rural East Texas. This bill will ensure that our rural communities are not forgotten, and that our fellow Texans have the access to care that they need."

SB 894 is now on its way to the Governor's desk. The Governor's Office has indicated that they are supportive of the legislation.

Concluded Rep. Coleman, "I want to thank the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, the Texas Medical Association, and the Members of the Legislature for their assistance in passing this bill."

Representative Coleman is available for comment.