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.
Goodbye Standard of Care, Hello Reasonable Practice
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.”
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KLBJ News Radio / Austin
August 26, 2014
For years Texas has experienced a shortage of doctors, but as KLBJ's Perry Watson tells us, a new report shows that trend is beginning to change. Listen to the KLBJ News Report by clicking here.
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