Feburary 5, 2020
Ratio of physicians to population at an all-time high
For every Texan seeking medical care, a record – and increasing – number of physicians is available to respond. Texas’ physician workforce is growing at a record pace, according to new data. For the first time in three decades, the ratio of patient-care physicians for every 100,000 people has increased for 10 straight years (2009-2019).
The Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) February Texas Medicine magazine reports the state added 4,869 newly licensed physicians in 2019, an increase of 7.9% over 2018. Texas licensed 355 more doctors last year than in 2018. The 2019 total was the highest in the state’s history according to data released by the Texas Department of State Health Services Health Professions Resource Center. With these additional doctors, there are now nearly 190 physicians for every 100,000 Texans.
TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD, said the growing number of physicians is a result of TMA's effort to pass Texas’ landmark medical liability reform in 2003. House Bill 4, the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act, and passage of Proposition 12, a constitutional amendment, lessened the likelihood of frivolous lawsuits against physicians and hospitals, making Texas a more attractive state in which to practice medicine. The result is also a win for patients, who get increased access to physician care.
“Physicians are drawn to Texas as a direct result of our medical liability reform victory,” said Dr. Fleeger. “To sustain the improving physician-to-patient ratio, we must continue to advocate to protect that reform.”
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the rate of new Texas physician arrivals generally matched the state’s population growth, though in some years the rate of physician arrivals decreased year to year. From 2010 to 2019, however, the rate of new doctors coming to Texas exceeded the rate of residents who moved here.
Of those new Texas doctors, the vast majority were graduates of medical schools outside Texas, which Dr. Fleeger said is a result of successful recruiting.
“Our success at improving access for our patients is evidenced by the fact that three in four physicians licensed by Texas are from outside the state,” said Dr. Fleeger.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 53,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336
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