Rick Perry visits Valley

NEWSCENTER 23
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POSTED: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 4:55pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 8:16am

Governor Rick Perry paid a visit to the Rio Grande Valley to trumpet medical reforms passed a decade ago.  

"It was a crisis that precipitated a system that fostered an unrelenting stream of lawsuits, particularly in the Rio Grande Valley," Perry said. "Physicians were rare who had not been sued."  

Back then, it was called Proposition 12.  It gave the state legislature power to limit how much a patient can sue for.  It only covers what's called non-economic damages.  Basically whatever you can't put a price on, like pain and suffering.  

The most that a patient can sue for is $750,000.  

At Monday's event, speakers talked of the frequency of medical lawsuits in the Valley.  Officials don't know why the concentration is so high, but say since the law passed, it's gotten much easier to practice medicine.  

"The litigious climate that existed in the late 90s and in the early 2000s was such that it was so difficult for anybody to practice high-risk medicine in our community," said Dr. Carlos Cardenas, CEO of the Doctor's Hospital in Edinburg.  

Experts in the field say the Valley is still in dire need of more doctors.  Officals at the event say access to physicians an dspecialized care has risen considerably since the passage of prop 12.  

And that's all the more important with the planned creation of a medical school in 2015.  

"The reforms we passed a decade ago, will also make it more likely that doctors who graduate from the new medical school  that has been formed in South Texas will likely stay close to home," Perry said.  

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