Texas

State report card

The report card for each state contains the scores it received when we evaluated it for how well it protects patients against sexually abusive doctors. The overall rating is the average of the score the state received in each category. In states with two medical boards, one for osteopathic physicians and the other for medical doctors, the overall rating is based on an average of each board’s scores.

Click on the boxes below to read how Texas did on each category — and how we calculated the score for the categories.

80

State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 70
    Are consumer members included to balance physicians’ tendency to identify with their colleagues? More...
    A blueprint developed by The Federation of State Medical Boards recognized the importance of having independent public members on physician-dominated medical regulatory agencies. To assess the composition of disciplinary agencies, the AJC used three measures, with the most weight given to consumer representation. Top grades went to states where public members make up at least 40 percent of the board; where those members represent consumers and where neither they nor their family members have professional or financial ties to health care; and where women hold at least 40 percent of the board seats.
  • Criminal acts: 96
    Are medical regulators and law enforcement made aware of doctors’ criminal conduct? More...
    The medical profession has long recognized the power imbalance between doctors and patients. But only in recent years have states enacted three key laws to try to protect vulnerable patients from dangerous doctors. The AJC considered two of these laws the most important. Top grades went to states where physicians must undergo criminal background checks, with fingerprints, at initial license application and periodically; and where doctor-patient sexual contact has been made a criminal offense in recognition that patients cannot give meaningful consent. In addition, the AJC also rated states on whether medical boards that learn of allegations of criminal conduct must alert law enforcement.
  • Discipline laws: 90
    Do state laws strengthen oversight and discipline of problem physicians? More...
    Abusive physicians can be protected by laws that limit regulators’ ability to investigate cases and don’t require permanent revocation of doctor licenses for egregious offenses. To assess the legal environment for doctor discipline, the AJC examined four key laws. Top grades went to states that require permanent revocation of doctor licenses for some violations; where physicians who have been convicted of felonies or who have lost their licenses in other states cannot be licensed; where medical regulators are entitled to records and other proceedings of hospital peer review committees that examine doctor misconduct; and where there is a reasonable standard of proof required for disciplinary action against physicians, especially in sexual misconduct cases where there may be no independent witnesses.
    • Does state law require revocation for some violations? Can revocation be permanent?: 20 of 25
      The board must revoke doctors' license for final felony convictions. It also must revoke the licenses of doctors who are on deferred adjudication for offenses related to sexual abuse or assault of a child. But revocation is not permanent unless a doctor agrees or when a doctor permanently surrenders his or her license in lieu of further investigation. State law allows physicians who are otherwise revoked to reapply after one year.

More from Texas

Highlighted case

Dr. Faiz Ahmed

In the 1990s, the neurologist had been convicted of criminal charges following allegations by female patients of inappropriate exams. But a Houston hospital hired him after that.

Then, after allegations from two patients in 2002, the hospital imposed discipline on his privileges and the medical board put him on probation for 10 years, saying he could not see, examine, or otherwise treat female patients.

No sooner had the medical board lifted the restrictions than, according to the board, he started offending again. In 2006, the state eased up, allowing him to see female patients with a chaperone present, then in February 2008 it ended all restrictions on his license. But on four occasions in March and April 2008, Ahmed inappropriately touched patients during the course of exams, the board found in a 2011 order.

That order, which was mediated, reinstituted the requirement for a chaperone.

Ahmed has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. In Texas, the best chance of finding problems is to search the records offered by the Texas Medical Board. Please note that license search results typically include all public disciplinary actions, not just those involving sexual misconduct, and can sometimes include vague language. Also, some states deal with some disciplinary issues privately; private board orders are not included.

Complaint process

No anonymous complaints are accepted. State law requires all complaints to contain sufficient information to identify the source or name of those who file them. State law also spells out that the board may not accept anonymous complaints from any insurance agent, insurer, pharmaceutical company or third-party administrator.

Where to file a complaint

Quoted

“There is a need for additional physicians to practice in the area of occupational medicine in the San Marcos, Hays County, Texas area.”

—The Texas Medical Board, in its 2000 order reinstating the license of Dr. Arthur Nilon Tallant. He had pleaded guilty to 19 counts of sexual performance by a child, involving his sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female patient. Tallant died in 2013.

Key fact

In 2012, Texas enacted a law requiring the Medical Board to revoke the licenses of doctors on deferred adjudication for sexual offenses involving children. Click here for an in-depth story on an Austin doctor who continues to practice despite multiple reports from patients of alleged sexual misconduct.

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