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2017 Best States to Practice: The Top Five: Page 2 of 5

2017 Best States to Practice: The Top Five: Page 2 of 5

TEXAS

As the saying goes, Carlos Cardenas, MD, is Texas born, Texas bred, and when he passes, he'll be Texas dead.

The gastroenterologist from Edinburg, Texas, and president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) was born and raised in southern Texas, not far from the Mexico border. His family goes back many generations in the area. After he finished residency (also in Texas), it was an easy decision for him to stay.

"It would have taken six teams of horses to keep me from coming home," he says. "I've always been pretty provincial when it came time to make those kinds of decisions.

For Cardenas, Texas is a top place to practice medicine because of its pro-business attitude. He credits the TMA for helping reduce regulations that make it friendlier for physicians to open up a practice in the state. "Texas still has a large number of physicians in solo practices or small group practices," he notes.

Cardenas specifically cites the organization’s work in improving the tort environment for physicians and patients. To this point, the state placed seventh in malpractice premium average in this year's Best States to Practice ranking. It also ranked high in residency retention, physician density, and cost of living. In Texas, state legislators also passed the most sweeping bill in the country to reduce maintenance of certification requirements.

From a non-clinical standpoint, Cardenas praises the state's cultural richness and diversity, particularly in terms of integrating Hispanic heritage. He also says it has a nice mix of rural and urban communities, making it appealing for different physician interests.

"If you want to serve the underserved … physicians will find opportunity to do that. We have new medical schools that have come online that are available to folks with an academic interest. There is a growing research interest in the state, which is very important," he says.

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