Archives: September 2015

September 2015 Newsletter

Texas Patients See Surge in Access to Care Faced with a harsh reality of too few physicians just twelve years ago, patients across the state of Texas now have greater health care options amidst a surge of newly licensed practitioners. Exceeding 4,000 newly licensed physicians for the first time in history, the Texas Medical Board licensed a record 4,295 new doctors last year, up 7.5 percent from last year’s record of 3,994. “Twelve years since the passage of our historic 2003 medical liability reforms, we continue to attract new physicians to Texas in record numbers,” said Howard Marcus, M.D, internist and chairman of Texas Alliance for Patient Access. “I don’t at all find that to be a coincidence.” Liability reform has “reversed the epidemic of lawsuit abuse and, in turn, provided sick and injured Texans with better access to lifesaving care,” Dr. Marcus said. The increase in physicians allows patients in rural counties, who previously had little or no choice in health care services – and for some specialties, no services at all – greater access to affordable care. To read the press release from the Texas Alliance for Patient Access on the increase in licensed physicians, click here. Sunshine…

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Guest Column: Lawsuit-happy environment is hurting Florida’s economy

The sunny climate may be one of Florida’s most enduring assets, but unfair laws and courts are storm clouds on Florida’s horizon. This is a reasonable conclusion from the findings of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s newly released 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey ranking the 50 states on their lawsuit systems. For the fourth consecutive time, the Sunshine State sits in the bottom ten, 44th out of 50. Why is a state with so much going for it bad when it comes to lawsuits? A HAVEN FOR LAWSUITS First, Florida is a plaintiffs’ lawyers’ haven. Just drive a few miles down Interstate 95 or just about anywhere, and you are bombarded with personal injury trial lawyer ads on billboards, buses, taxis and even radio. Like sharks drawn to an injured fish, lots of plaintiffs’ lawyers mean lots of lawsuits. A big reason why so many personal injury trial lawyers hang out their shingle here is our lopsided courts, which often favor plaintiffs’ lawyers over common sense. Take the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling last year striking down the state’s $1 million cap on non-economic damages in some medical malpractice lawsuits. This is the amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive…

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A Flawed Medical Malpractice System

New York’s medical malpractice system needs comprehensive reforms. The writers note that many states allow patients to file suit based on when they discover that there was a medical error, but, unlike New York, most of those states also have caps on damages and other laws that balance the effects of wider discovery rules. Pegging New York’s statute of limitations to a patient’s subjective knowledge will potentially lead to far more claims and greater financial exposure for the state’s doctors and hospitals. Despite scoring high on various quality indicators, New York’s hospitals and doctors have among the highest medical malpractice costs in the United States. Many doctors logically conclude that the state is simply too hostile an environment to practice medicine. Finally, the same study that the writers cite to blame hospitals and doctors (“To Err Is Human”) emphasizes that improving patient safety requires a shift away from a culture of blame. Other studies have concluded that the drivers of malpractice liability are varied and not necessarily related to the quality of care. Medical malpractice is a complex issue that deserves thoughtful discourse. Only through comprehensive reform — not narrow, piecemeal legislation — can we achieve appropriate balance and minimize…

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12-Years Post-Liability Reform, Texas Hits Another Record in New Physicians

As it has for four of the past seven years, the Texas Medical Board licensed a record number of new physicians for the fiscal year that ended last month, surging past the 4,000 mark for the first time in history. The board licensed a record 4,295 new Texas doctors last year, up 301 (7.5 percent) from the previous year’s record of 3,994. The number of license applications received (5,377) also broke the record of 5,150 set in 2014. “Twelve years since the passage of our historic 2003 medical liability reforms, we continue to attract new physicians to Texas in record numbers,” said Austin internist Howard Marcus, M.D, chairman of Texas Alliance For Patient Access. “I don’t at all find that to be a coincidence.” Texas has licensed an average of 3,432 new physicians each year since the passage of lawsuit reforms 12 years ago. “As we promised during the campaign for liability reform, passage of House Bill 4 and Proposition 12 have reversed the epidemic of lawsuit abuse and, in turn, provided sick and injured Texans with better access to lifesaving care,” Dr. Marcus said.

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