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Delegated Authority of Physician

IN SUMMARY: The delegated authority of a licensed physician does not allow unlicensed individuals to practice orthotics or prosthetics in the State of Texas.


What the Law Says

The Texas Orthotics and Prosthetics Act (Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 605) requires licensure for individuals practicing orthotics and prosthetics within the state. The Act does provide exemptions to several licensed and certified professionals as outlined in Subchapter G, these include physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, pharmacists, and certified pedorthists.

In comparison, the Texas Medical Practice Act (Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 151) authorizes licensed physicians to diagnosis, treat, or offer to treat a mental or physical disease or disorder or a physical deformity or injury by any system or method. These provisions include the practice of orthotics and prosthetics in the performance of a physician's duties. In addition, a physician may delegate authority to individuals; however, there are specific guidelines that govern delegated authority. Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 157, ยง157.001(a)(1)(C) states that a physician may delegate authority if the delegation, "is not in violation of any other statute."

Because the practice of orthotics and prosthetics is protected by statute, the Texas Medical Practice Act prohibits a physician from delegating authority to an unlicensed individual to perform any act within the scope of practice defined by the Texas Orthotics and Prosthetics Act.


Exemptions from Licensure

The Texas Orthotics and Prosthetics Act (Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 605) recognizes several professions that are exempt from licensure provisions. Exempt professions are limited to licensed podiatrists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and pharmacists. Certified pedorthists are also exempt from licensure under the Texas Orthotics and Prosthetics Act.

The Act includes in its definition of the practice of orthotics, the fitting of a custom-fitted or custom-fabricated device.

These definitions are outlined in Sections 605.002 (3), (4), (12), and (14).