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TribBlog: Christus CEO On Tort Reform

Dr. Thomas Royer, president and CEO of the Christus Health System, says that if an error occurs at the hospital, the patient should be financially reimbursed — but not with limitless settlements. He has blogged a response to Sunday's Texas Tribune/New York Times article on the effects of tort reform on the safety of Texas emergency rooms.

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Dr. Thomas Royer, president and CEO of the Christus Health System, has blogged a response to Sunday's Texas Tribune/New York Times article on the effects of tort reform on the safety of Texas emergency rooms.

Though Royer can't discuss the case of Connie Spears, a woman the Tribune interviewed who believes her double leg amputation was the result of an emergency room doctor's missed diagnosis, he said he doesn't believe Christus Santa Rosa's San Antonio hospital is at fault.

"It is my opinion that we provided care that was entirely complete and appropriate," he wrote.

Royer's feelings on tort reform, outlined in the post, are as follows: If an error occurs at the hospital, he said, the patient should be financially reimbursed — but not with limitless settlements. "Support for tort reform does not mean refusing to accept responsibility, nor does it mean that providers are held to a lower quality standard," he wrote. "Instead, it means supporting paying what is due, admitting what was done incorrectly and doing everything possible to mitigate negative outcomes and create a positive solution for patients and their families."

Since tort reform was passed, expenses at Christus for litigation have been reduced dramatically, Royer wrote. "We have used these savings to further improve our quality and patient safety by reinvesting them in programs and projects throughout our entire health system," he wrote.

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