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The number of designated doctors in the workers’ compensation system continues
to decline while the number of physicians in Texas hits record numbers.
For the state’s fiscal year ended August 31, 2021, the Texas Medical Board issued a record 5,304 physician licenses. There are currently 94,544 physicians licensed in Texas.
However, all those doctors are not lining up to take the designated doctor certification exam. The number of designated doctors continues to shrink.
In January 2020, there were a total of 384 designated doctors. By January 2021, the number had dropped to 318. As of August 2021, we're down to a total of 272 designated doctors. Source.
Seventy-five of those designated doctors are physicians while the other 197 are chiropractors. In other words, over two and a half times more chiropractors are designated doctors than physicians.
It appears that many physicians have made an economic decision that the costs of being a designated doctor are not worth the benefits while chiropractors are more incentivized by the current rates. If we want more and better designated doctors, we may need to pay them more. It’s likely to be less expensive than the costs associated with bad designated doctor reports.