Why does Texas rank at the bottom of medical and health care?

Texas is known for doing many things bigger and better. When it comes to quality healthcare, though, that’s not the case. That’s why I instinctively scrolled to the bottom of the list when WalletHub released its ranking of the states with the best and worst healthcare.

Texas scrapes the bottom of the list

Predictably, Texas ranked near the bottom at #44 out of 50 states plus Washington DC. Here are some high–I mean low–points from the data:

• Texas ranks 51st in the percentage of insured adults aged 19–64.

That’s the absolute worst in the nation!

• Texas ranks 46 in the overall cost of health care.

This figure considered the cost of medical and dental visits, average hospital expenses per inpatient stay at community hospitals, average monthly insurance premium, share of high out-of-pocket medical spending, and insured adults with no doctor visits due to cost.

• Texas ranks 46 in access to health care.

This indicator considered data including the percentage of quality of the public hospital system, hospital beds per capita, average response time from 911 call to ambulance arrival, average emergency-room wait time, time before admission, adoption of telehealth services, and the shares of medical residents retained, insured adults, injured children, and adults with no personal doctor. Additionally, the figure considered per capita rates of physicians, geriatricians, nurse practitioners  (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics per capita, urgent care centers, convenient care clinics, Medicare certified rural health clinics, dentists, and community health centers.

• Texas ranks 50th in the percentage of adults with no dental visits in the past year.

• Texas ranks 33rd in outcomes.

This indicator considered rates of infant, child, and maternal mortality, life expectancy, cancer incidence, and stroke and heart disease. It also considered the shares of patients readmitted to hospitals, hospitalized patients discharged without instructions for home recovery, hospital patients who didn’t receive patient-centered care, adults with Type II diabetes, at-risk adults with no routine doctor visit in the past two years, adults with no dental visit in the past year, children with medical and dental preventative-care visits in the past year, and non-immunized children.

Texas policy decisions have an impact

One of the significant arguments used to sell tort reform back in 2003 was that it would lower costs and lead to better healthcare access. The data show, though, that tort reform did nothing of the sort.

What has happened is that Texas-style tort reform has made medical and healthcare more dangerous. Here are some examples:

• Did you ever wonder why Texas nursing homes consistently rank at the bottom? Tort reform imposes caps on medical malpractice damages that juries can award to victims who are retired or employed and don’t require future care. For example, if an elderly person dies because of the neglect of a nursing home facility, the damages are capped at $250,000.00.

• What about poor emergency room care? Tort reform imposed a high standard for medical malpractice claims involving hospital emergency room care called willful and wanton negligence. The standard is so high that many lawyers won’t even look at those cases.

Without financial accountability imposed by the legal system, some hospitals, facilities, surgeons, physicians, and others who work in the healthcare industry have become cavalier toward patient safety, thinking that they’re somehow above the law.

If you’ve been seriously injured because of poor hospital, medical, or healthcare in Texas, contact a top-rated, experienced Texas medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation about your potential case.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.