March 2, 2021

Podiatry Issues in the 2021 Texas Legislature
377 Words, a 1.5-Minute Read

The Texas Podiatric Medical Association (TPMA) brought two issues to the table for TOA, organized medicine, and lawmakers to consider in the 2021 Texas Legislature:

  • The scope of practice for podiatrists beyond the foot.
  • Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding for the University of Texas’ new podiatry school in the Rio Grande Valley.
Podiatrists’ Scope of Practice Beyond the Foot
The TPMA informed TOA in 2019 that the legal counsel for a large Texas hospital and health care system opined that the ankle as a whole is not part of a podiatrist’s scope of practice under current Texas law. Indeed, the Court of Appeals has held that a proposed rule by the Texas State Board of Pediatric Medical Examiners impermissibly expanded practice of podiatry beyond treatment of the “foot.” Texas Orthopaedic Association v. Texas State Board of Pediatric Medical Examiners, 254 S.W.3d 714 (Tex. App.—Austin 2008, pet. denied).
As a result, the TPMA informed TOA that it would like to work on legislation related to the issue in the 2021 Texas Legislature. The two sides ultimately reached an impasse, and the TPMA indicated that it would table the scope of practice issue for a later time in the future. Instead, the TPMA wanted to focus its 2021 legislative efforts on a new podiatry school in the Rio Grande Valley.
GME for the New Podiatry School
The podiatrists’ legislative priority for the 2021 Texas Legislature now focuses on funding for the University of Texas’ new podiatry school, which is the state’s first DPM school. The podiatrists and University of Texas stated that the podiatry school’s focus would be to serve the high diabetic population in the area.
The president of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley testified about the new podiatry school before the Texas Senate Committee on Finance last week. Click here to view the testimony, and the discussion between lawmakers can be found beginning at 5:39:00. 
Some senators expressed concern about another medical or podiatry school. The 1973 Texas Legislature authorized a podiatry school for Texas, and it took this many years to create it.
Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville) introduced legislation yesterday that would add DPM to the traditional allopathic and osteopathic medical school GME.

Other Bills: Dozens of Them
Click here to view TOA's bill tracker, which tracks the dozens of bills that relate to orthopaedics.

Click here to view TOA's musculoskeletal primer for state lawmakers.

Click here to send an e-mail about opioid policy to your state lawmakers.
Bobby Hillert | Executive Director
Texas Orthopaedic Association
[email protected] | 214.728.7672 m