So what has happened since September of 2003, when the new law went into effect? After years of losing doctors, Texas has added nearly 4,000 since passage of Proposition 12, including 127 orthopedic surgeons, almost 300 anesthesiologists, over 200 emergency room physicians, 146 new obstetricians, 58 neurologists and 24 neurosurgeons. The Texas Medical Board is anticipating some 4,000 applicants for new physician licenses this year alone–double last year’s numbers, and 30% more than the greatest growth year ever.
The threat of lawsuits has been a particular barrier to attracting and retaining pediatric specialists. Since 2003, Texas has gained 20 pediatric cardiologists, 14 pediatric oncologists, almost 50 new perinatologists (obstetricians specializing in high-risk pregnancies), 10 pediatric surgeons and 8 new pediatric endocrinologists.
Medically underserved counties in Texas are benefiting as well. Jefferson, Webb and Victoria Counties, as well as the counties of Cameron and Hidalgo in the Rio Grande Valley, have all experienced an influx of physicians. Additionally, the market for insurance to protect health-care providers against the cost of lawsuits has become more robust and competitive. In 2002 there were only four companies writing policies. Today that number has more than tripled. And all of these trends are expected to continue.
Okay, anecdotes are just that, but these appear to be real numbers. Given that it’s a trend reversal, and the only real change in the Texas healthcare climate has been tort reform, I think that gets the majority of the blame / credit.
I’m not in love with caps, as it seems quite a blunt axe to solve a complex problem. However, as no other solution was viable, this is the one we wound up with.
via Jim in Plano, and yes, we still need to take a lunch.