The Texas Medical Board is changing its tune about how to interpret Texas’ latest surprise billing legislation. Last week, controversy arose about rules written by the Texas Medical Board in the interpretation of Senate Bill 1264, which was meant to prevent patients from being involved in the balance billing process, were criticized for creating a large loophole for physicians to exploit.
Critics said the rules would have put confusing paperwork in the hands of patients, with a potential result being that patients may sign away their protections under the new legislation. The Texas Medical Board said it would not have been mandated, but instead would just allow patients to sign the forms if they knowingly wanted to go out of network.
At last week’s TMB meeting, the board withdrew the rules, and said that “protections and notice sought by the statute would more appropriately come from definitions and descriptions of the statute that all appropriate regulatory agencies can propose rules for enforcement so that the rules ultimately apply to all providers in regards to billing issues.”
How the new balance billing legislation will be interpreted is still up in the air, but it is clearly an issue many are watching.