Feminism: Filibuster Transcript (Part 5)

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Part 005
Testimony of Texas Hospital Association

Transcribed by: Emily Harte

Senator Wendy Davis: We also received this written testimony from the Texas Hospital Association regarding admitting privileges. And this was provided on June 20, 2013. This was testimony given in opposition to Section 2 of House Bill 60, as filed by Representative Laubenberg, relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and facilities, and given to the House Committee on State Affairs, June 20, 2013.

"The Texas Hospital Association, on behalf of its 450 member hospitals, offers the following statement in opposition to Section 2 of House Bill 60 as filed:

"Number one, hospitals should not be required to grant privileges to physicians who do not practice in the hospital. THA agrees that women should receive high-quality care, and that physicians should be held accountable for acts that violate their license. However, a requirement that physicians who perform one particular outpatient procedure, abortion, be privileged at a hospital is not the appropriate way to accomplish these goals. A hospital granting privileges to a physician serves to assure the hospital that the physician has the appropriate qualifications to provide services to patients in the hospital.

"Thousands of physicians operate clinics and provide services in those clinics but do not have hospital admitting privileges. Requiring a hospital to grant admitting privileges to physicians who do not provide services inside the hospital is time-consuming and expensive for the hospital, and does not serve the purpose for which privileges were intended. Rather, the Texas Medical Board is the appropriate agency to address whether physicians are delivering appropriate care to patients, as the TMB regulates all physicians. Hospitals should not be required to assume responsibility for the qualifications of physicians who do not practice in the hospital.

"Should a woman develop complications from an abortion, or any other procedure performed outside the hospital, and need emergency care, she should present to a hospital Emergency Department. Requiring that a doctor have privileges at a particular hospital does not guarantee that this physician will be at the hospital when the woman arrives. She will appropriately be treated by the physicians staffing the emergency room when she presents there. If the emergency room physician needs to consult with the physician who performed the abortion, the treating physician can contact the doctor telephonically, which is often done in other emergency situations.

"Thus, THA respectfully requests that the language in proposed Section 171.0031, section A-1, be deleted, as the language in Section 171.0031, section A-2, is the best and most appropriate way to ensure that a woman who experiences complications from an abortion, can get advice about and treatment of those complications. Section 171.0031-A2 requires that the physician performing the abortion provide to the patient the following: a 24/7, 365 day a week--day a year--line, for her to be able to contact the physician or physician's office, the name and contact information of the hospital nearest to her home, as the woman will seek hospital services through the emergency department.

"Additionally, Section 245.023 of the Texas Health & Safety Code requires the Texas Department of State Health Services, the licensing agency for abortion facilities, to maintain a toll-free number through which individuals can learn, among other things: whether an administrative or civil penalty has been imposed against the facility or a physician who provides services at the facility, whether professional discipline has been imposed against a physician who provides services at the facility, and whether there are any criminal convictions of the facility or of a physician who provides services at the facility that is relevant to services provided at the facility. A copy of Section 245.023 and the implementing regulation are attached as Appendix A."

Senator Wendy Davis: They also propi--provided a proposed amendment, with alternative language:

"As an alternative to the deletion of Section 171.0031-A1, THA requests that new subsection C be added to Section 171.0031, to clarify that hospitals are not required to consider or grant medical staff privileges to physicians who perform elective abortions.

"To begin the process of privileging, a physician submits an application to a hospital for membership on the medical staff, and a request for clinical privileging. The hospital is required to review any application received and take action on it within specified timelines. Failure of the hospital to review the application, or reject it without review, could be grounds for a discrimination lawsuit against the hospital. To require hospitals to consider applications for medical staff membership and privileges from a physician to perform abortions will impose unnecessary administrative costs on hospitals, and may subject hospitals to legal challenges if an application for membership and privileges is denied because a physician performs elective abortions. A copy of THA's recommended amendment to Section 171.0031 is attached."

Senator Wendy Davis: The attachment reads:


'(a) The department on request shall make the following information available to the public.

'(1) the status of the license of any abortion facility;

'(2) the date of the last inspection of the facility, any violation discovered during that inspection that would pose a health risk to a patient of the facility, any challenge raised by the facility to the allegation that there was a violation, and any corrective action that is acceptable to the Department and that is being undertaken by the facility with respect to the violation; and

'(3) an administrative or civil penalty imposed against the facility or a physician who provides services at the facility, professional discipline imposed against a physician who provides services at the facility, and any criminal conviction of the facility or a physician who provides services at the facility that is relevant to services provided at the facility.

'(b) Subsection (a) does not require the Department to provide information that is not in the possession of the Department. The Texas State Board of Medical Examiners shall provide to the Department information in the possession of the Board that the Department is required to provide under Subsection (a).

'(c) The Department shall maintain a toll-free telephone number that a person may call to obtain the information described by Subsection (a).

'(d) An abortion facility shall provide to a woman, at the time the woman initially consults the facility, a written statement indicating the number of the toll-free telephone line maintained under Subsection (c). The written statement must be available is…must be available in English and Spanish, and be in substantially the following form: A toll-free telephone number,

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Here Senator Davis reads the script of the proposed written statement which is intended to accompany the toll-free telephone number provided to the patient.]

Senator Wendy Davis: 'You have a right to access certain information concerning this abortion facility by using the toll-free telephone number above. If you make a call to the number, your identity will remain anonymous. The toll-free telephone line can provide you with the following information:

'(1) Whether this abortion facility is licensed by the Texas Department of Health;

'(2) The date of the last inspection of this facility by the Texas Department of Health, and any violations of law or rules discovered during that inspection that may pose a health risk to you;

'(3) Any relevant fine, penalty, or judgement rendered against this facility or a doctor who provides services at this facility.'

'(e) This section does not authorize the release of the name, address, or phone number of any employee or patient of an abortion facility, or of a physician who provides services at an abortion facility.'"


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