Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Vetoes HB 3485

Friday, June 19, 2009  •  Veto Statement

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14, of the Texas Constitution, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto House Bill No. 3485 of the 81st Texas Legislature, Regular Session, due to the following objections:

As the husband of a former nurse at a rural hospital, the son-in-law of a rural county physician, and a native of a rural county, I understand the needs of rural hospitals and their patients. I support rural hospitals’ intention of attracting more doctors, and would have been glad to sign a bill allowing them to do so by directly hiring physicians.

However, an amendment added to House Bill No. 3485 late in the session would undermine some of the gains in medical liability reform that have come from caps on physicians’ liability. These reforms were passed in 2003 and approved in a constitutional amendment election. The objectionable provision would increase the liability cap for doctors employed directly by hospital districts, as compared to the bill without the amendment. With respect to doctors employed by hospital districts, this amendment creates uncertainty as to the applicability of the liability cap available in a single action when multiple doctors or multiple claims are involved.

The bill’s provision regarding physician liability was neither debated nor discussed, but rather amended onto this bill late in the session. It risks unraveling the progress we made in curtailing excessive liability and ensuring that patients who need physicians will be able to find them. The 2003 medical liability reform has led to thousands of new doctors coming to Texas. The changes proposed by House Bill No. 3485 threaten the progress that reform has made.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed my name officially and caused the Seal of the State to be affixed hereto at Austin, this the 19th day of June, 2009.

RICK PERRY
Governor of Texas

ATTESTED BY:
COBY SHORTER, III

Deputy Secretary of State

For a detailed view of this bill, visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB3485.

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