Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued a proclamation marking the 15th anniversary of our state’s landmark medical liability reforms.
“Passed in 2003, Texas' medical liability reforms have been nationally considered the gold standard for medical liability legislation. Tort reform has significantly reduced lawsuits and liability costs in our state and contributed greatly to the increasing number of doctors practicing in Texas” states Governor Abbott in the proclamation.
In the late 1990s, the number of medical liability claims filed against Texas physicians was increasing at an alarming rate.
TMLT was one of founding members of the Texas Alliance for Patient Access (TAPA), which grew into a statewide coalition of more than 200 physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, and physician liability carriers.
TAPA researched, helped draft, and successfully lobbied for the passage of Texas’ landmark medical liability reforms in 2003. TMLT was engaged throughout the tort reform process, continuing the effort it had been working on since 1993.
The cornerstone of the reforms — the $250,000 cap on non-economic damages for physicians and a maximum of $750,000 including hospitals and institutions — substantially reduced lawsuits and liability costs without limiting the rights of plaintiffs to collect economic damages for meritorious claims.
Other provisions of the bill included expert witness reforms, heightened protections for emergency care, periodic payment of future medical expenses, and limiting economic damages to those actually paid or incurred.
TMLT was the first carrier to reduce rates following the passage of medical liability reform. A steady stream of rate reductions followed that initial 12 percent reduction in 2004. In addition, we enhanced our coverage to include cyber liability and employment practices liability insurance. All of this was made possible by the passage of historic reforms.
Patients in Texas are benefiting from tort reform. Since May 2003, based on information from the Texas Medical Board, Texas has added 9,273 more physicians than can be accounted for by population growth.
About the Author
Laura Hale Brockway is Assistant Vice President of Marketing at TMLT and has more than 17 years of experience in communications, 15 of those years with TMLT. Ms. Brockway has also worked for Seton Healthcare Family and the Texas Academy of Family Physicians. An honors graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Ms. Brockway holds an Editor in Life Science (ELS) certification from the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences. She is also a contributor to Ragan Communication’s PR Daily website and is the author of the blog, impertinentremarks.com. Laura Brockway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Content by Laura Hale Brockway