According to TAPA Director Jon Opelt, about 20 percent of the state's physicians hadn't been renewed by their insurance carriers and were in jeopardy of losing hospital privileges.
"Many doctors who still maintained liability coverage refused to accept patients with complex or high-risk problems, referring them to an increasingly shrinking pool of specialists.
Emergency room services for head injuries, childbirth, and trauma involving small children were in shorter supply.
All blamed the state's hostile medical liability climate," he
said, citing results of TMA's
widely publicized 2003 surveys.
In the run-up to reform, Mr. Opelt
adds, 55 Texas counties had a net loss of physicians, and another 50 failed to add a single physician.
"I think this is a direct result of our 2003 liability reforms and just one more piece of evidence that our reforms are working and must be protected," Mr. Opelt
says the ranks of high-risk specialists have grown twice as fast as the state's population since 2003.
TAPA Director Jon Opelt says TAPA, TMA, and other health care organizations worked to defeat several bills that overtly threatened tort reform.
says SB 1193 would have put the confidentiality of the peer review process at risk.
"Without confidentiality, patients, families, friends, and health care providers may fear retaliation and choose not to file a complaint, thus reducing the medical board's ability to protect the public," he
recognized the need to study the issue in the interim.
"The bill was heard late in the session, and the stakeholders did not have sufficient time to craft a compromise.
The bill would have expanded the definition of claimant and permitted multiple suits for the same event, which we did find troublesome," he