Did malpractice caps make Texas more alluring to doctors?

December 1, 2007

Some would argue so. At one time, Texas was a state that had a low ranking in physicians per capita; today, it has seen the number of physicians increase at double the rate of the population.

Some would argue so. At one time, Texas was a state that had a low ranking in physicians per capita; today, it has seen the number of physicians increase at double the rate of the population. As a result, the state medical board has granted 30% more licenses in the last fiscal year than the year before.

What's the draw? Supporters of tort reform believe that a constitutional amendment approved 4 years ago has helped. The amendment caps noneconomic damages at $250,000 and economic losses at $1.6 million in death cases, reported The New York Times (10/4/2007). The lack of a state income tax and an average 21.3% drop in malpractice insurance premiums may also be factors.

So who's coming to Texas? Among those waiting for licenses are physicians within the state, as well as from New York, California, and Florida. Certain medical specialties have also seen gains, with the addition of 186 obstetricians, 156 orthopedic surgeons, and 26 neurosurgeons to the state with a "friendlier malpractice climate."