By James Aldridge
San Antonio Business Journal
A new survey by the Texas Alliance for Patient Access shows that Texas ranked second nationally behind California in physician recruitment.
The report, titled “The Truth about Texas’ Medical Lawsuit Reforms,” attributes the growth to the passage of medical liability tort reform measures in 2003. Officials say since then, Texas has more doctors than ever treating patients.
“That is the exact opposite of what we saw during the crisis years, when the state experienced a per-capita loss of patient care physicians,” said Dr. Howard Marcus, an Austin internist and chair of Texas Alliance for Patient Access in a release.
Since 2003, 80 percent of the state’s 22 trauma regions experienced a per-capita gain in physicians. Also, during that same period, 59 rural counties have added at least one emergency room physician, 32 rural counties have added an obstetrician, 24 rural counties have added a cardiologist and 17 counties have added an orthopedic surgeon.
One interesting aspect of the report shows that 40 rural counties that did not have a single ER doctor in 2003 now do.
“Rural Texans were losing physicians during the liability crisis years,” says Marcus. “Today, those numbers are on the upswing with more physicians per-capita serving rural Texas than ever.”