Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Caps on Damage Awards Result in More Doctors Wanting to Practice in State

Those who don't believe that an out of control medical malpractice system has had an impact on adequate access to available medical care should read this report in the Austin American-Statesman. According to the article, since Texas legislation capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice awards took effect, the state has had so many doctors moving here and seeking licensure in the state that the legislature had to approve additional funds to help the Medical Board process all of the applications. Many of these new doctors are moving to areas of the state that were previously experiencing a shortage of doctors.

Just as a reminder, caps only applied to NON-ECONOMIC damages -- pain and suffering, punitive damages, etc. There are no caps on economic damages -- medical bills, replacement of lost income, help with assistive living, etc. A malpractice lawsuit can still result in payouts of millions of dollars. What is removed from the system is the unpredictability of large damage awards by runaway juries.

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