Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

August 7, 2002
Contact: Dave Nelson
(972) 724-0066


AUSTIN __ Taking aim at the exploding costs of medical malpractice insurance that are driving some Texas health care providers out of business, the Special Senate Committee on Prompt Payment of Health Care Providers is expanding its interim study to address the situation.

The committee will hold its first hearings on the issue during a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, August 15, 2002, at the University of Texas-San Antonio Business Building Room 2.01.02, 6900 North Loop 1604 West, San Antonio.

"Texans who have built lifelong relationships with their health care providers are suddenly finding themselves abandoned because lawsuit abuse and the rising cost of malpractice insurance forced their providers to cut back or shut down their practices," Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, who chairs the Committee, said. "The specialties are being hit especially hard, including OBGYNs who have had to scale back or shut down their practices. I am very concerned about the effect this will have on women's health and the health of newborn babies. We must rein in these costs in order to ensure that Texans have access to the care they need."

The committee expanded its interim study at the request of Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff, who has asked that recommendations on how to rein in the cost of malpractice insurance be included in the committee report, which is due Nov. 15.

"Reducing frivolous litigation is key to solving this crisis," Senator Nelson said. "The practice of medicine should occur in hospitals and doctor's offices, not in the courtroom."