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RULE §185.21Investigations

(a) Confidentiality. All complaints, adverse reports, investigation files, other investigation reports, and other investigative information in the possession of, or received, or gathered by the board or its employees or agents relating to a licensee, an application for license, or a criminal investigation or proceeding are privileged and confidential and are not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for their release to anyone other than the board or its employees or agents involved in licensee discipline.

(b) Patient identity. In any disciplinary investigation or proceeding regarding a physician assistant conducted under or pursuant to the Act, the board shall protect the identity of any patient whose medical records are examined and utilized in a public proceeding except for those patients who testify in the public proceeding or who submit a written release in regard to their records or identity.

(c) Permitted disclosure of investigative information. Investigative information in the possession of the board or its employees or agents which relates to licensee discipline and information contained in such files may not be disclosed except in the following circumstances:

  (1) to the appropriate licensing or regulatory authorities in other states or the District of Columbia or a territory or country where the physician assistant is licensed, registered, or certified or has applied for a license or to a peer review committee reviewing an application for privileges or the qualifications of the licensee with respect to retaining privileges;

  (2) to appropriate law enforcement agencies if the investigative information indicates a crime may have been committed and the board shall cooperate with and assist all law enforcement agencies conducting criminal investigations of licensees by providing information relevant to the criminal investigation to the investigating agency and any information disclosed by the board to an investigative agency shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed by the investigating agency except as necessary to further the investigation;

  (3) to a health-care entity upon receipt of written request. Disclosures by the board to a health-care entity shall include only information about a complaint filed against a physician assistant that was resolved after investigation by a disciplinary order of the board or by an agreed settlement, and the basis and current status of any complaint under active investigation; and

  (4) to other persons if required during the investigation.

(d) Complaints. The board shall keep information on file about each complaint filed with the board, consistent with the Act. If a written complaint is filed with the board that the board has the authority to resolve relating to a person licensed by the board, the board, at least as frequently as quarterly and until final determination of the action to be taken relative to the complaint, shall notify in a manner consistent with the Act, the parties to the complaint of the status of the complaint unless the notice would jeopardize an active investigation.

(e) Renewal of licenses. A licensee shall furnish a written explanation of his or her answer to any question asked on the application for license renewal, if requested by the board. This explanation shall include all details as the board may request and shall be furnished within 14 days of the date of the board's request.

Source Note: The provisions of this §185.21 adopted to be effective November 3, 2002, 27 TexReg 10027

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