TNA Opposes Legislation Lessening Whistleblower Protections
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Posted by: Kat Hinson
The Texas Nurses Association opposes SB 1813, by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, which is being heard in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, April 29.
Among other things, SB 1813 would mandate that the Texas Medical Board send to a physician, who has been reported to the board, an un-redacted copy of the complaint. It would be sent by personal delivery or certified mail and include the completed required fields -- the complainant’s name, address, email, and home and business phone numbers.
This information is required regardless of whether the person making the report is a patient, family member, nurse, or anyone else. The form also requests, but does not require, the name and address of any physician from whom a patient got a second opinion.
Providing to the reported physician this personal identifying information will discourage nurses, patients, and others from reporting physicians who are unsafe practitioners to the Medical Board. That is simply bad public policy. And personal identifying information is more than the individual’s name. Individuals can easily be identified from addresses, phone numbers, and other information.
Retaliation is a real concern. The fact is that physicians are in a position of power within the healthcare environment and frequently have the ability to retaliate against a nurse who reports concerns about their practice. The case of the two Winkler County nurses who were not only terminated but also indicted and arrested because they reported a physician to the Medical Board is simply too fresh in the minds of nurses throughout Texas.
Requiring the Medical Board to send the nurse’s identifying information to the physician will have a chilling effect on reporting. TNA and the other members of the Nursing Legislative Agenda Coalition are equally concerned that SB 1813 would require the Medical Board to disclose the identity of any patient or family member who reports a physician. Nurses and patients must feel protected when reporting unsafe physicians.
Contact members of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee to urge them to oppose the bill.