Texas State Medical Board Focuses on Telemedicine

A recent conflict between the Texas State Medical Board and a direct-to-consumer telehealth company, Teladoc, has opened the door for a conversation focused on ways to “modernize telemedicine statues and reduce the regulatory footprint governing the provision of telemedicine services”. During the discussions, the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, the Texas Medical Association, and the Texas e-Health Alliance were all in attendance at the discussion along with a representative from Teladoc.

The Texas State Medical Board and Teledoc conflict echoes a larger conflict between physician groups and telemedicine stakeholders in the state of Texas. This issue focused on whether telemedicine should be permitted without an initial face-to-face meeting between the physician and the patient. A collection of Telemedicine groups argue that an initial face-to-face meeting is unnecessary and that requiring it limits their ability to run a viable business, while physician groups say it’s key to responsible care.

Outside of Texas, Indiana recently passed its own telemedicine legislation removing the requirement for initial face-to-face in-person meetings prior to a telemedicine visit. However, Indiana still requires doctors and patients without a prior relationship to establish one before telemedicine can begin.

“We are encouraged by the progress in Texas, which is the result of ongoing conversations between physician leadership and telehealth stakeholders over recent months,” Kofi Jones, VP of Government Affairs for American Well, said. “This is the right way to move forward – acknowledge the existing environment, identify key issues, and map a path forward in collaboration. Ultimately, we are highly optimistic that this process will result in expanded opportunities for telehealth that will positively serve both providers and patients in the state of Texas.”

Negotiations between the two parties is on-going, but involved parties are hopeful a compromise will be completed by the end of the summer.

To read more on the Texas State Medical Board vs. Teladoc conflict click here. 

To read more on the new Indiana telemedicine legislation, click here. 

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