Tort reform is associated with more medical board complaints and disciplinary actions

Ronald M. Stewart, Joseph D. Love, Lisa A. Rocheleau, Kenneth R. Sirinek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Previous reports have confirmed that comprehensive tort reform in Texas (enacted in 2003) was associated with fewer lawsuits and less litigation-associated cost. We hypothesized that complaints to the Texas Medical Board (TMB) increased after tort reform. Study Design: To test this hypothesis, we compared complaints, investigations, disciplinary actions, and penalties against physicians before and after comprehensive state tort reform measures were adopted. Data were obtained from the TMB for a 15-year period (1996 to 2010). Results: When comparing the period before tort reform (1996 to 2002) with the period after tort reform (2004 to 2010), TMB complaints increased 13%; investigations opened increased 33%, disciplinary actions increased 96%, license revocations or surrenders increased 47%, and financial penalties increased 367%. All of these increases were statistically significant (p ≤ 0.01). Conclusions: After tort reform in Texas, the total number of complaints, investigations, disciplinary decisions, license revocations or surrenders, and financial penalties from the TMB significantly increased. In Texas, tort reform was accompanied by legislatively directed, enhanced oversight and activity of the authority (TMB) charged with regulation of the medical profession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-571
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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