Texas continues to attract large numbers of new physicians at 10-year mark of liability reforms

Sep 18, 2013, 13:56 ET from Texas Alliance for Patient Access

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Texas Medical Board received a record number of new physician applications for the fiscal year that ended last month.

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The 4,610 new applications are 357 more than the previous record and 80 percent more than was received at the height of Texas' medical liability crisis in 2003.

The medical board also licensed 3,594 new physicians; the third highest number on record. The fiscal year 2013 total was only 1 percent below the historic high of 3,630 set a year ago.

Texas has averaged licensing nearly 3,200 new physicians each year since the passage of lawsuit reforms 10 years ago. That's 970 more new licenses each year than were issued during the medical liability crisis years of 2000-2003.

"The trends are irrefutable," said Austin internist Howard Marcus, M.D, chairman of Texas Alliance For Patient Access. "The number of new physicians applying for a Texas license is at an all-time high and the number of licenses granted continues at near record levels—growing even faster than our fast-growing population."

Seventy three percent of physicians applying for a Texas license come from out of state," Dr. Marcus noted. "Both the Texas Medical Board data as well as physician testimonials underscore the importance of tort reform in chosing a practice location," he said.

The Association of American Medical Colleges collects comparative data on physician supply in all 50 states. Texas added more patient care physicians than any other state between 2008 and 2010, the last years for which data is available, said Dr. Marcus. Patient care physicians are those directly engaged in patient care.

The Texas increase of 1,746 patient care physicians is more than were added in California and Florida combined.

Twenty four states saw a per-capita decrease in patient care physicians from 2008-2010, said Dr. Marcus. The per-capita number dropped 0.1 percent nationwide during the study period, he said. Texas showed a per-capita increase of 0.8 percent; tying the Lone Star State with Virginia for 19th in per capita patient care physician growth during the 2008 to 2010 study period, said Dr. Marcus.

The doctors new to Texas in recent years include:

  • El Paso rheumatologist Karen Smith, MD, who moved her practice from Arizona after she was sued for saving a patient's life.
  • San Antonio emergency care physician, Alan Holder, MD, who made it a priority to practice in a state with liability reforms after he left the military, and
  • Beaumont plastic surgeon Ben Beckert, MD,  whose decision to practice in Texas rather than Florida was strongly influenced by tort reform. Dr. Beckert does trauma reconstructive surgery. Pre-reform, no surgeon in Beaumont handled facial fracture cases.

CONTACT: Jon Opelt
Executive Director
Texas Alliance For Patient Access
2301 South Capital of Texas Highway,
Building J-101
Austin, Texas 78746
Voice: (512) 703-2156
Email: opelt@tapa.info

SOURCE Texas Alliance for Patient Access