Publication Ranks Texas Second Nationally as Best Place to Practive Medicine
With rising rates of physician burnout, changing state legislation governing healthcare, and numerous other factors weighing heavily on the profession, many doctors are looking for a change to continue practicing medicine.
Although being a doctor can be a rewarding profession, the cost of medical school can be a huge barrier for aspiring students. It can also lead to massive student debt – around $164,800 on average, according to a new Student Loan Hero study.
Texas continues to attract large numbers of new physicians
The Texas Medical Board licensed a record 4,719 new physicians for the fiscal year that ended last month. This year’s total is nearly 10% greater than the previous historic high of 4,295 set two years ago.
Texas has licensed 48,908 new physicians since the passage of lawsuit reforms 14 years ago. This equates to 1,283 more new licensees per year than occurred during the medical liability crisis years of 2000-2003.
“The trends are irrefutable,” said Austin internist Howard Marcus, chairman of Texas Alliance for Patient Access. “The number of licenses granted continues at record levels,” he said. “Physicians per capita continue to show significant gains which is no easy accomplishment given our fast-growing population.
Court decision helps ensure patient access to care across state lines
by JAMES WILLIAMS, DO, MS, FACEP
A recent New Mexico Supreme Court decision has huge professional liability ramifications for physicians treating patients from another state. The March 13, 2017, ruling is of importance to emergency physicians who, under EMTALA, are unable to deny a patient care due to illness, injury, inability to pay, or lack of health history.
The issue at stake in Montano v. Frezza was which state's laws claim legal jurisdiction when a patient who resides in one state (New Mexico, in this case) receives care in another (Texas, in this case).
Texas relaxes rules to allow out-of-state doctors to help Harvey victims
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, some 213 out-of-state doctors have come to Texas working under a temporary license to provide disaster relief.
News accounts report doctors and nurses have traveled from as far as Oregon, Ohio, and New Jersey to assist in the disaster response.
“Not only have these healthcare workers aided patients, but they’ve provided welcome relief to hard-working doctors and nurses in need of a break,” said Dr. Howard Marcus, chairman of Texas Alliance for Patient Access. “Often the care is rendered in less than ideal conditions due to damage from the storm,” he said.
On August 30, the governor waived all necessary statutes and rules allowing out-of-state doctors to obtain a temporary license.
Healthcare workers employed by a hospital, licensed and in good standing in another state are eligible for temporary licensure. The temporary permit is good for 30 days.
The governor’s suspension will remain in effect until the disaster declaration is lifted or expires.
Texas isn't just great for doctors; professionals across the medical field are thriving in the Lone Star State. In fact, Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio rank among the best cities for registered nurses.
Texas doctor can't be sued in New Mexico, court rules
A former Texas Tech University surgeon accused of botching a Curry County woman’s gastric bypass surgery in 2004 can’t be sued for malpractice in New Mexico, the state Supreme Court has ruled. The state’s high court issued its decision Monday. “We reverse the Court of Appeals and the district court,” Justice Edward L. Chávez wrote in his majority opinion, which was signed onto by Justices Petra Jimenez Maes and Judith K. Nakamura and Judge Linda M. Vanzi, a Court of Appeals judge designated to hear the case. “The district court shall dismiss Montaño’s suit without prejudice.”
The case has garnered significant attention in both New Mexico and Texas, with three dozen doctor groups and hospitals in both states signing on to a friend of the court brief in 2015. They argued that allowing the lawsuit to move forward could have a disastrous effect on patient care in eastern New Mexico – where doctors are scarce – because it might make Texas providers reluctant to care for New Mexico patients.
As a physician in Curry County, I often see the need for rural patients to seek care in nearby Texas. In some cases, care that is available less than an hour away in Texas could mean the difference between life and death.
There is only one hospital with a Level I trauma center that can provide comprehensive service – University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. New Mexico has no Level II trauma centers to collaborate with UNMH. When patients in rural parts of New Mexico receive emergency treatment and have been stabilized, they have two choices: A 3½-hour drive to Albuquerque, or about half that to two Level I trauma centers in Texas.
That’s why I applaud the New Mexico Supreme Court’s recent decision that recognizes that cross-border medical services in Texas are essential to New Mexico residents. This is the outcome of the court’s ruling that Texas physicians serving New Mexico patients in Texas will be able to serve...
Bill seeking to inflate Texas' med-mal cap first of its kind
SE Texas Record, April 24, 2017
AUSTIN – Since the courts were apparently no help, those wishing to inflate Texas’ medical malpractice cap on non-economic damages are now turning to the state legislature.
Without little to no fanfare, state Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) introduced House Bill 719 on Dec. 21, a piece of legislation seeking to collapse the fixed med-mal cap and adjust it for inflation each year.
“This is an issue of fundamental fairness,” said Wu, a private practice attorney. “If there’s no recovery, a lawyer won’t take the case. It’s a matter of justice for people. If people cannot have their grievances settled in the courts, then our system breaks down.”
The prospect of an inflated cap, which was set at $250,000 per medical defendant in 2003, has rallied some groups into action.
HB 270, the Out-of-State Access Provider Bill, signed into law by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
New Mexico lawmakers crafted a legislative solution to protect access to medical care for the residents of Eastern and Southern New Mexico. For a Texas health care provider to benefit from the statute, it will be necessary for the health care provider to have in its agreement with the patient a choice of law and choice of forum provision. If the agreement with the patient does not contain such a provision, then HB 270 will not apply.
The footnotes pertain to why we chose to include or exclude language.
This information should be used only in consultation with your attorney, who will advise you on how the language should be crafted for and used by your hospital, nursing home or physician practice.
New Mexico Legislature Acts to Protect Patients’ Access to Care in Texas
Texas doctors and hospitals will continue to receive a full range of liability protections even when treating New Mexico patients. That issue was in doubt until the New Mexico Legislature took decisive action February 17.
The legislation preserves vital access to Texas physicians and hospitals for residents of Eastern New Mexico who routinely cross the state line for care.
Clearly, the New Mexico legislature recognized that access to health care is a public policy priority. Without legislation, thousands of patients would lose ready access to primary and specialized care, said Dr. Howard Marcus, chairman of Texas Alliance for Patient Access.
The term “standard of care” has been misused and abused. It is time to replace it with a phrase which more accurately conveys the realities of modern medicine.
The legal definition of the “standard of care” is that which a reasonably competent and skilled physician would administer under the same or similar circumstances. Failing to meet the standard of care, one might argue, is simply another way of stating that a physician was negligent. However, it seems that many people don’t understand the nuance.
For these reasons, we propose that the term “standard of care” be retired and replaced with “reasonable practice.” The terms are legally equivalent, but “reasonable practice” is far less prone to misinterpretation by experts and juries.
Rape is not Health Care
The stunning headline might have caught your eye; it certainly caught mine. A big piece of it, though, is flat out wrong. “Doctor accused in rape unlikely to be held liable in civil court,” the Houston Chronicle headline read. “The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that rape in some circumstances is covered by medical malpractice laws,” the author wrote further down in the story. Wrong. Texas Alliance for Patient Access Chair Howard Marcus, MD, set her straight. Here’s his statement in full: “Rape is reprehensible". Neither the legislature not the courts gave medical liability protections to this criminal offense. Most recently, in Ross v. St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, the Texas Supreme Court set forth a seven-factor test to determine whether an injury was or wasn’t a health care claim. The Ross decision makes clear that rape is not related to the provision of health care, and is not a protected act simply because it occurred in a health care setting. The court has left no room for confusion.”