Donald Patrick, the tough and criticized Executive Director of the Texas Medical Board (TMB) announced yesterday that he will be stepping down in August as he turns 70. Dr. Patrick noticed the Full Board as well as Board Staff during a committee meeting of the Board.

Although not specifically cited, Dr. Patrick’s resignation comes after two legislative hearings wherein he and other members of the Board and Board Staff took heat from state representatives. A search will begin for his replacement; however, if no one is found prior to his departure attorney and Director of Enforcement Mari Robinson will assume his role as interim director.

Dr. Patrick, although harshly criticized by many, has been responsible for changing an agency that was largely condemned for not doing its job. Through aggressive agency restructuring and by taking its charge to heart, the Texas Medical Board under Dr. Patrick’s leadership completely turned itself around and is now viewed as one of the toughest, most scrutinizing Medical Boards in the United States.

Physicians throughout Texas will largely see this as a step in the right direction as the number of frivolous complaints against Texas doctors has increased markedly in the last few years.  Public perception of Patrick’s departure may nevertheless force the search in the direction of a similar minded replacement.