The Texas Medical Board (TMB) finished its fiscal year last month having received a record number of new physician applications. TMB received 5,544 new applications, up 3 percent from the previous year's record 5,377 applicants.
Texas licensed 4,093 new physicians for the year. That figure is down 202 from the previous year but still the second highest on record.
"We continue to trend in the right direction," said Austin internist Howard Marcus, MD, chair of the Texas Alliance for Patient Access, "yet there remains a strong demand for health care workers."
TMB received more than twice as many physician applications this year than at the height of the state's liability crisis 13 years ago.
Thirteen years ago this month, Texas voters approved Proposition 12. The constitutional amendment affirmed the legislature's authority to set damage caps for hard-to-quantify pain-and-suffering-type awards in health care lawsuits. Within months, the epidemic of lawsuit abuse was reversed, and the exodus of physicians stopped, especially those practicing in the emergency department, says Dr. Marcus.
"One hundred eighteen Texas counties have seen a net gain in emergency medicine physicians since the passage of reforms. That includes 53 counties that previously had none," he said. "That turnaround would not have occurred without the passage of our landmark reforms."
The state's senior population has grown 50 percent since 2003, Dr. Marcus says. Meantime, the number of geriatricians serving that senior population has increased four-fold.
"Today Texas doctors can focus on providing the best care for their patients with fewer unfounded legal threats," he said.
Action, Sept. 15, 2016
Last Updated On
October 28, 2019