Over 1.6 million Texans were employed in the healthcare and social assistance industry by 2019, and that number is expected to grow steadily over the next decade. Nursing in particular is one of the top five occupations in the state by number of online “help wanted” ads. Because of that, it is all the more important that healthcare workers here are well-trained and competent, and also are empowered to say something when they see something that puts patient health or safety at risk.
Fortunately, the Texas Health & Safety Code provides some powerful whistleblower protections that are unique to the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, figuring out if you fall within those protections is not always simple because the Code has so many different components. Making things harder, Texas courts have interpreted relatively few parts of the Texas Health & Safety Code compared to other employment laws. This article is meant to provide the reader with some basic information about some of the protections that healthcare workers (and others) have under this law, as well as limitations in the Code.