Most Texas physicians discuss how the medical liability climate has improved for the better since the advent of tort reform. However, according to the Texas Medical Association, there has been an ongoing fear that the 2003 reforms will be overturned. There has been a fear that the $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages will be attacked in attempt to raise the cap, attach a cost of living adjustment to the cap or even create an exception to the cap for those that will not get a significant amount of money in the form of economic damages (lost wages). There was also some fear that the willful and wanton provisions that apply to professionals who provide care in the emergency setting will be changed to apply only to Good Samaritan situations.
It is believed that the expected attacks on existing tort reform laws did not occur the last session as a result of the November general election. However, physicians in Texas will be watching closely this session to see if any changes are made in the Texas House of Representatives, in the court system and also in the federal system (The HEALTH Act).
More information can be found in the September 2011 issue of Texas Medicine.