Ethics and the Physician

Provides guidance and information in areas such as medical records, consent for treatment of a minor, the patient-physician relationship, risk management, reporting duties, treatment of self, family and friends, and more, as well as information and resources on the Texas Medical Board (TMB) and Medical Practice Act, Texas Medical Association (TMA), and American Medical Association (AMA).
For additional assistance, please contact the HCMS Peer Review Department, phone: 713-524-4267.

For information on some specific issues, please see below.

  • Autonomy - guidance and resources to maintain autonomy in clinical decision-making
  • Closing or Selling Your Practice - rules, guidance and resources when retiring and closing or selling a practice
  • Communicating with Patients - emailing, deaf/hearing-impaired, intellectually/developmentally disabled, limited-English proficiency, 'no-shows,' and more  
  • Compliance - calendar of deadlines and info and resources concerning HIPAA and Health System Reform
  • Conflicts of Interest - self-referral, physician ownership and Stark Law
  • Delegation of Duties - prescriptive authority/supervision, non-physician practitioners
  • Departing from a Group Practice - rules and guidance when a physician leaves a group practice
  • HIPAA - info and resources on HIPAA and HITECH
  • Medical Records - rules and guidance concerning fees, release requirements, exceptions, retention, transfer, and more
  • Patient-Physician Relationship - establishing and properly terminating the relationship, FAQs
  • Quality - info and resources on quality improvement programs, improving the patient experience and more
  • Reporting Duties - guidance on reporting abuse/neglect, communicable diseases, impaired drivers, threats of violence
  • Reputation Management - preventing and repairing problems and establishing positive online presence
  • Risk Management - resources covering a wide variety of topics to help manage, reduce, eliminate risk exposure
  • Telehealth - legislation, rules, and resources on telehealth/telemedicine
  • Treatment of a Minor - statutes on a minor's rights, parental rights, divorce, and non-parental consent
  • Treatment of Self, Family and Friends - rules and guidance on treating self, family, friends, and employees  


Information for Patients:

  • Patient's Rights and Responsibilities - for information from the American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Medical Ethics, refer to Chapter 1 Opinions on Patient-Physician Relationships; Opinion 1.1.3 Patient Rights and Opinion 1.1.4 Patient Responsibilities
  • Complaints or Concerns - for patients who have a concern or complaint about a physician
  • Look up a physician - link to the Texas Medical Board (TMB) physician online profile Web page
  • Medical Records Info for Patients - While a medical record consists of information about a patient's care and history, the patient does NOT actually own his/her original medical record. The original record is the property of the physician. However, a patient may receive a copy of the medical record (or summary or narrative), or may arrange to have a copy sent to another physician if the patient is transferring care. A request for a copy of the record must be made in writing. A patient should contact the original physician's office and ask for the physician's authorization/request form. Most physicians have a standard request form that allows the patient to choose the records that are needed (the entire record or just those pertaining to a certain time period or condition). Please note that billing records are NOT considered to be part of the medical record, so a physician is not required to provide a copy of the billing record unless specifically requested. As allowed by both HIPAA and the Texas Medical Board, the physician is entitled to receive a "reasonable, cost-based fee" for providing a copy of the requested medical record. Currently, the Texas Medical Board rule 165.2 Allowable Charges are:: for Paper Format: $25.00 for the first 20 pages and $.50 per page for every copy thereafter; for Electronic Format: $25.00 for 500 pages or less; $50.00 for more than 500 pages; and for records in a "hybrid" format (part paper/part electronic): the fee may be a combination of these two. Once the physician has received the completed, signed authorization request AND the allowable fee, the physician has 15 business days to furnish a copy of the requested medical record. For more information and the most current rules governing medical records, please refer to Chapter 165 of the Texas Medical Board rules.

For additional assistance, please contact the HCMS Peer Review Department, phone: 713-524-4267.