1-1     By:  Madla                                             S.B. No. 516
 1-2           (In the Senate - Filed February 2, 2001; February 5, 2001,
 1-3     read first time and referred to Committee on Intergovernmental
 1-4     Relations; February 21, 2001, reported favorably by the following
 1-5     vote:  Yeas 6, Nays 0; February 21, 2001, sent to printer.)
 1-6                            A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-7                                   AN ACT
 1-8     relating to creating the rural physician relief program.
1-10           SECTION 1.  Chapter 106, Health and Safety Code, is amended
1-11     by adding Subchapter H to read as follows:
1-13           Sec. 106.251.  DEFINITIONS.  In this subchapter:
1-14                 (1)  "Physician" means a person licensed to practice
1-15     medicine in this state under Subtitle B, Title 3, Occupations Code.
1-16                 (2)  "Relief services" means the temporary coverage of
1-17     a physician's practice by another physician for a predetermined
1-18     time during the physician's absence and before the physician's
1-19     return.
1-20                 (3)  "Rural" means:
1-21                       (A)  a community located in a county with a
1-22     population not greater than 50,000; or
1-23                       (B)  an area designated under state or federal
1-24     law as:
1-25                             (i)  a health professional shortage area;
1-26     or
1-27                             (ii)  a medically underserved area; or
1-28                       (C)  a medically underserved community designated
1-29     by the center.
1-30           Sec. 106.252.  RURAL PHYSICIAN RELIEF PROGRAM.  The center
1-31     shall create a program to provide affordable relief services to
1-32     rural physicians practicing in the fields of general family
1-33     medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics to
1-34     facilitate the ability of those physicians to take time away from
1-35     their practice.
1-36           Sec. 106.253.  FEES.  (a)  The center shall charge a fee for
1-37     rural physicians to participate in the program.
1-38           (b)  The fees collected under this section shall be deposited
1-39     in a special account in the general revenue fund that may be
1-40     appropriated only to the center for administration of this
1-41     subchapter.
1-42           Sec. 106.254.  FUNDING.  The center may solicit and accept
1-43     gifts, grants, donations, and contributions to support the program.
1-44           Sec. 106.255.  RELIEF PHYSICIAN'S EXPENSES.  The center shall
1-45     pay a physician providing relief under the program using fees
1-46     collected by the center.
1-48     (a)  The center shall assign physicians to provide relief to a
1-49     rural area in accordance with the following priorities:
1-50                 (1)  solo practitioners;
1-51                 (2)  counties that have fewer than seven residents per
1-52     square mile;
1-53                 (3)  counties that have been designated under federal
1-54     law as a health professional shortage area;
1-55                 (4)  counties that do not have a hospital; and
1-56                 (5)  counties that have a hospital but do not have a
1-57     continuously staffed hospital emergency room.
1-58           (b)  In determining where to assign relief physicians, the
1-59     center shall consider the number of physicians in the area
1-60     available to provide relief services and the distance in that area
1-61     to the nearest physician that practices in the same specialty.
1-62           (c)  At the request of the center, residency program
1-63     directors may assist the center in coordinating the assignment of
1-64     relief physicians.
 2-1           Sec. 106.257.  RELIEF PHYSICIAN RECRUITMENT.  The center
 2-2     shall actively recruit physicians to participate in the program as
 2-3     relief physicians.  The center shall concentrate on recruiting
 2-4     physicians involved in an accredited residency program in general
 2-5     pediatrics, general internal medicine, and general family medicine,
 2-6     physicians registered on the center's locum tenens registry,
 2-7     physicians employed at a medical school, and physicians working for
 2-8     private locum tenens groups.
 2-9           Sec. 106.258.  ADVISORY COMMITTEE.  (a)  The rural physician
2-10     relief advisory committee is composed of the following members
2-11     appointed by the center's executive committee:
2-12                 (1)  a physician who practices in the area of general
2-13     family medicine in a rural county;
2-14                 (2)  a physician who practices in the area of general
2-15     internal medicine in a rural county;
2-16                 (3)  a physician who practices in the area of general
2-17     pediatrics in a rural county;
2-18                 (4)  a representative from an accredited Texas medical
2-19     school;
2-20                 (5)  a program director from an accredited primary care
2-21     residency program;
2-22                 (6)  a representative from the Texas Higher Education
2-23     Coordinating Board; and
2-24                 (7)  a representative from the Texas State Board of
2-25     Medical Examiners.
2-26           (b)  The advisory committee shall assist the center in
2-27     administering the program.
2-28           SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.
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