Bill Text: TX SB866 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to unconscionable prices charged by certain health care facilities for medical care.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-16 - Left pending in committee [SB866 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-SB866-Introduced.html
  86R7717 CLG-F
 
  By: Watson, Johnson S.B. No. 866
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to unconscionable prices charged by certain health care
  facilities for medical care.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter E, Chapter 17, Business & Commerce
  Code, is amended by adding Section 17.464 to read as follows:
         Sec. 17.464.  UNCONSCIONABLE PRICE FOR CARE AT EMERGENCY
  FACILITY.  (a) In this section:
               (1)  "Emergency care" means health care services
  provided in an emergency facility to evaluate and stabilize medical
  conditions of a recent onset and severity, including severe pain,
  that would lead a prudent layperson possessing an average knowledge
  of medicine and health to believe that the individual's condition,
  sickness, or injury is of such a nature that failure to get
  immediate medical care could:
                     (A)  place the individual's health in serious
  jeopardy;
                     (B)  result in serious impairment to bodily
  functions;
                     (C)  result in serious dysfunction of a bodily
  organ or part;
                     (D)  result in serious disfigurement; or
                     (E)  for a pregnant woman, result in serious
  jeopardy to the health of the fetus.
               (2)  "Emergency facility" means a freestanding
  emergency medical care facility licensed under Chapter 254, Health
  and Safety Code.
         (b)  For purposes of Section 17.46(a), the term "false,
  misleading, or deceptive acts or practices" includes an emergency
  facility that:
               (1)  provides emergency care at an unconscionable
  price; or
               (2)  demands or charges an unconscionable price for or
  in connection with emergency care or other care at the facility.
         (c)  The consumer protection division may not bring an action
  under Section 17.47 for an act or practice described by Subsection
  (b) if the price alleged to be unconscionable is less than 200
  percent of the average charge for the same or substantially similar
  care provided to other individuals by a hospital emergency room
  according to data collected by the Department of State Health
  Services under Chapter 108, Health and Safety Code, and made
  available to the division, except as provided by Subsection (d).
         (d)  If the attorney general determines that the consumer
  protection division is unable to obtain the charge data described
  by Subsection (c), the attorney general may adopt rules designating
  another source of hospital charge data for use by the division in
  establishing the average charge for emergency care or other care
  provided by hospital emergency rooms for purposes of Subsection
  (c).
         (e)  In an action brought under Section 17.47 to enforce this
  section, the consumer protection division may request, and the
  trier of fact may award the recovery of:
               (1)  reasonable attorney's fees and court costs; and
               (2)  the reasonable expenses incurred by the division
  in obtaining any remedy available under Section 17.47, including
  the cost of investigation, witness fees, and deposition expenses.
         (f)  This section does not create a private cause of action
  for a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice described by
  Subsection (b).
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
feedback