March 29, 2021 (Austin, TX) — Today and Wednesday, Texas physician leaders will testify before the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs and House Committee on the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence to advocate for preserving the current system of civil litigation to ensure Texans injured in car crashes, industrial accidents, or other incidents caused by another’s negligence have timely access to all needed specialty medical care.

Lawmakers are considering Senate Bill 207/House Bill 1617 that would repeal current state law that is designed to make the process of determining fault and establishing fair settlement amounts efficient and effective. The proposals:

  • Allow anyone, regardless of their background, education and training, or expertise, to challenge a health care professional’s medical judgment and charges.
  • Undermine physicians’ right to practice medicine independently by allowing all physician contracts and negotiated rates to be discoverable.
  • Establish below-cost government-set payment amounts as the standard for reasonable reimbursement.

“When our collective focus needs to be on recovering from the pandemic’s devastation, it’s hard to understand why our elected state lawmakers would want to get in the way of helping injured Texans restore what was lost,” said Shawn Hayden, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, orthopedic surgeon. “These bills are bad news for physicians and even worse news for Texans needing specialty medicine.”

The impact of these bills will be longer, more costly litigation, higher motor vehicle insurance premiums, and fewer physicians willing and able to care for injured Texans. They also threaten the foundation of independent medicine in Texas.

“These bills open the door to government rate setting and an end to the private practice of medicine,” said Robert Josey, M.D, orthopedic surgeon. “It is imperative that we stop these bills from becoming law and preserve physicians’ right to contract independently and not be forced to accept what the government deems a reasonable payment amount.”

“These bills are legislative overreach, and they attempt to fix something that was never broken,” said Michael Leonard, M.D., neurosurgeon. “If passed, these bills will compound injured patients’ suffering and do nothing but get in the way of our spending the time necessary with our patients for the best outcomes.”