P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
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SENATOR NELSON FILES BILL ADDRESSING HOSPITAL PATIENT SAFETY
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, filed SB 20 today to better protect patients in Texas hospitals. This bill will specifically address recent patient safety issues as well as serious fraudulent activity reported at multiple hospitals in Texas.
"This legislation will help our agencies respond more swiftly and more forcefully when patients are in danger," said Senator Nelson. "I am deeply troubled by the recent reports of fraud and lapses in patient safety. We must ensure that Texans are receiving safe, quality care in our hospitals."
The provisions of SB 20 include:
- Requiring corporations applying for initial or renewal hospital licensure to provide the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) with the name of every individual with an ownership interest of at least five percent in the corporation. This requirement is currently set for individuals with 25 or more percent interest;
- Increasing the maximum administrative penalty DSHS may issue against a hospital from $1,000 per violation per day to $25,000 per violation per day;
- Allowing DSHS to share information with the Office of Inspector General relating to an applicant for hospital licensure or a hospital license holder;
- Allowing DSHS to request an appointment of a trustee to operate a hospital if the hospital is operating without a license, the hospital's license has been suspended or revoked, DSHS determines that an emergency exists that presents an immediate threat to the health and safety of patients or if the hospital is closing and arrangements for the transfer of patients to other hospitals has not been made prior to closure;
- Allowing the DSHS Commissioner to order an emergency suspension of a hospital license without holding a hearing first. DSHS will still be required to provide a hearing after suspension if requested by the hospital; and
- Requiring DSHS to inspect hospitals every three years.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.