P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2003
AUSTIN - State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, joined Governor Rick Perry as he signed reforms passed by the Texas Legislature to improve patient access to medical care by clamping down on medical lawsuit abuse in Texas.
"This was a must for the Texas Legislature," said Senator Nelson, Chairman of the Senate Helath and Human Services and Chairman of the interim legislative study of the medical liability crisis. "Region by region, specialty by specialty our health care system is collapsing under the weight of skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates and exorbitant damages in medical lawsuits. The reforms we passed this session will preserve the foundation of our health care system and ensure that patients have access to safe, quality health care."
Senator Nelson was a member the conference Committee that wrote the final version of HB 4, signed into law today by Governor Perry. She also proposed the following pieces of successful legislation to address the medical liability crisis in Texas:
- SB 104 (Reforming the State Board of Medical Examiners) -- gives the board responsible for disciplining health care providers new authority to intervene on behalf of patients. That bill was signed yesterday by the governor.
- HJR 3 (Constitutional Amendment) -- allows voters to affirm the Legislature's ability to set damage caps in order to avoid a potentially lengthy challenge in court to HB 4.
- SB 339 (Flexible Insurance Policies) -- allows the Joint Underwriting Authority, the insurer of last resort, to provide short-term and flexible policies to health care providers who are finding it difficult to obtain coverage.