Texas continues to be an attractive place to practice medicine.
The state’s medical board finished is fiscal year last month having received a record number of new physician applications. Some 5,544 new applications were received, up 3% from the previous year’s record 5,377 applicants.
Texas licensed 4,093 new physicians for the year. That figure is down 202 from the previous year but still the second highest on record.
“We continue to trend in the right direction, said Austin internist Howard Marcus, MD, chairman of Texas Alliance For Patient Access, “yet there remains a strong demand for health care workers.”
More than twice as many physician applications were received this year than at the height of the state’s liability crisis 13 years ago.
Thirteen years ago this month Texas voters approved Proposition 12. The constitutional amendment affirmed the Legislature’s authority to set damage caps for hard-to-quantify pain-and-suffering-type awards in health care lawsuits. Within months the epidemic of lawsuit abuse was reversed and the exodus of physicians stopped; especially those practicing in the emergency department, said Marcus.
“One hundred eighteen Texas counties have seen a net gain in emergency medicine physicians since the passage of reforms. That includes 53 counties that previously had none,” noted Marcus. “That turnaround would not have occurred without the passage of our landmark reforms,” he said.
The state’s senior population, age 65 and above, has grown 50% since 2003, said Marcus. Meantime, the number of geriatricians serving that senior population has increased four-fold.
“Today Texas doctors can focus on providing the best care for their patients with fewer unfounded legal threats,” he said