Patients in Texas can thank the malpractice caps:
An influx of doctors into Texas has caused long waits for medical licenses, inconveniences for patients wanting to see certain specialists and anxiety for physicians awaiting new colleagues to help with high caseloads.
People in the medical field say the state’s limits on malpractice lawsuits have generated a surge of doctors, including specialists, who want to practice in Texas, which is helping bring more doctors to areas of the state that don’t have enough . . .
. . . On average, malpractice insurance premiums in Texas have gone down 21.3 percent since the tort law took effect in September 2003, said Jon Opelt, executive director of Texas Alliance for Patient Access. The alliance, which supported changing the medical liability law, describes itself as a coalition of doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, health care providers and medical liability insurers.
The law is “a big factor why Texas has become a popular state to practice in,” said Dr. Punit Chadha, an oncologist who moved to Austin from Chicago last summer. “When medical recruitment firms send out information, . . . they will tout the friendliness” of the malpractice environment.
Chadha, who grew up in Houston, said he wanted to come back to Texas but would not have returned if not for the 2003 law. His malpractice insurance premium is now about one-fourth of what it would have been in Chicago, which has some of the highest rates in the nation, he said.