By: Madla S.B. No. 516 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 1-1 AN ACT 1-2 relating to creating the rural physician relief program. 1-3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: 1-4 SECTION 1. Chapter 106, Health and Safety Code, is amended 1-5 by adding Subchapter H to read as follows: 1-6 SUBCHAPTER H. RURAL PHYSICIAN RELIEF PROGRAM 1-7 Sec. 106.251. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: 1-8 (1) "Physician" means a person licensed to practice 1-9 medicine in this state under Subtitle B, Title 3, Occupations Code. 1-10 (2) "Relief services" means the temporary coverage of 1-11 a physician's practice by another physician for a predetermined 1-12 time during the physician's absence and before the physician's 1-13 return. 1-14 (3) "Rural" means: 1-15 (A) a community located in a county with a 1-16 population not greater than 50,000; or 1-17 (B) an area designated under state or federal 1-18 law as: 1-19 (i) a health professional shortage area; 1-20 or 1-21 (ii) a medically underserved area; or 1-22 (C) a medically underserved community designated 1-23 by the center. 1-24 Sec. 106.252. RURAL PHYSICIAN RELIEF PROGRAM. The center 1-25 shall create a program to provide affordable relief services to 2-1 rural physicians practicing in the fields of general family 2-2 medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics to 2-3 facilitate the ability of those physicians to take time away from 2-4 their practice. 2-5 Sec. 106.253. FEES. (a) The center shall charge a fee for 2-6 rural physicians to participate in the program. 2-7 (b) The fees collected under this section shall be deposited 2-8 in a special account in the general revenue fund that may be 2-9 appropriated only to the center for administration of this 2-10 subchapter. 2-11 Sec. 106.254. FUNDING. The center may solicit and accept 2-12 gifts, grants, donations, and contributions to support the program. 2-13 Sec. 106.255. RELIEF PHYSICIAN'S EXPENSES. The center shall 2-14 pay a physician providing relief under the program using fees 2-15 collected by the center. 2-16 Sec. 106.256. PRIORITY ASSIGNMENT OF RELIEF PHYSICIANS. 2-17 (a) The center shall assign physicians to provide relief to a 2-18 rural area in accordance with the following priorities: 2-19 (1) solo practitioners; 2-20 (2) counties that have fewer than seven residents per 2-21 square mile; 2-22 (3) counties that have been designated under federal 2-23 law as a health professional shortage area; 2-24 (4) counties that do not have a hospital; and 2-25 (5) counties that have a hospital but do not have a 2-26 continuously staffed hospital emergency room. 3-1 (b) In determining where to assign relief physicians, the 3-2 center shall consider the number of physicians in the area 3-3 available to provide relief services and the distance in that area 3-4 to the nearest physician that practices in the same specialty. 3-5 (c) At the request of the center, residency program 3-6 directors may assist the center in coordinating the assignment of 3-7 relief physicians. 3-8 Sec. 106.257. RELIEF PHYSICIAN RECRUITMENT. The center 3-9 shall actively recruit physicians to participate in the program as 3-10 relief physicians. The center shall concentrate on recruiting 3-11 physicians involved in an accredited residency program in general 3-12 pediatrics, general internal medicine, and general family medicine, 3-13 physicians registered on the center's locum tenens registry, 3-14 physicians employed at a medical school, and physicians working for 3-15 private locum tenens groups. 3-16 Sec. 106.258. ADVISORY COMMITTEE. (a) The rural physician 3-17 relief advisory committee is composed of the following members 3-18 appointed by the center's executive committee: 3-19 (1) a physician who practices in the area of general 3-20 family medicine in a rural county; 3-21 (2) a physician who practices in the area of general 3-22 internal medicine in a rural county; 3-23 (3) a physician who practices in the area of general 3-24 pediatrics in a rural county; 3-25 (4) a representative from an accredited Texas medical 3-26 school; 4-1 (5) a program director from an accredited primary care 4-2 residency program; 4-3 (6) a representative from the Texas Higher Education 4-4 Coordinating Board; and 4-5 (7) a representative from the Texas State Board of 4-6 Medical Examiners. 4-7 (b) The advisory committee shall assist the center in 4-8 administering the program. 4-9 SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.