For Immediate Release
June 19, 2009
Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
Statement from Texas Medical Association President William H. Fleming III, MD, in response to today's veto of House Bill 3485 by Gov. Rick Perry.
"The nearly 44,000 physician and medical student members of the Texas Medical Association express their most sincere appreciation to Gov. Rick Perry for protecting our state's highly successful medical liability reforms by vetoing House Bill 3485.
"Language inserted into the bill at the last minute by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association put at risk the broad medical liability reforms that Governor Perry, the Texas Legislature, physicians, and voters worked so diligently to achieve. We applaud the governor for recognizing that we cannot risk even the slightest dent in a new liability system that has worked exactly as promised. The epidemic of health care lawsuit abuse has ended. Sick and injured Texans have better access to needed and timely care. More physicians provide specialty and high-risk obstetrical care in both urban and rural areas.
"We are proud that Governor Perry always has been and remains a true champion for our patients by standing tall and leading the way toward enacting and protecting the 2003 liability reforms.
"HB 3485 would have allowed government-owned hospitals in any county with fewer than 50,000 residents to hire physicians directly. It also would have exposed these local governmental entities to liability risks way beyond those of the largest government facilities. TMA worked in good faith with the bill authors to add some very strong protections for patients and physicians to the bill, which was touted as a way to attract physicians to medically needy communities. But we also believe the bill was much too broad because many counties with fewer than 50,000 residents already have robust government-owned hospitals with large and active medical staffs.
"TMA will continue to work with state leaders to craft a consensus plan for the 2011 legislative session that more effectively addresses the problem of underserved areas and protects patient care and access."
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 44,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA's key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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