Pa. needs tort reform

In 2003, the state of Texas enacted tort reform that capped noneconomic medical malpractice jury awards at $250,000 and also created stricter requirements for expert testimony and a tougher negligence standard for emergency medical cases.

Since then, medical malpractice insurance rates have fallen 40 percent and many malpractice insurance companies that left the state have returned.

Today, there are 6,000 more doctors in Texas than there were in 2003 and Texas has added 195 OB-GYN physicians, 169 orthopedic surgeons, 554 anesthesiologists, 497 ER physicians, 110 neurologists and 36 neurosurgeons.

Current backlog for applications at the Texas Board of Medical Examiners exceeds 2,500. Clearly, doctors view Texas as an attractive place to practice.

By enacting tort reform, Texas has expanded health care coverage and lowered prices. Tort reform works. Texas proves it.

Last June, 93 percent of physicians who completed their training in Pennsylvania left the state. Westmoreland County’s only orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Catino, is moving to Texas effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Texas has proven that real tort reform works.

Gregg L. Goldstrohm
The writer is an M.D. who practices hand and orthopedic surgery.
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