Texas Medical Board Places Limits on Telemedicine

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Earlier this month, the Texas Medical Board voted to greatly restrict the practice of telemedicine in Texas. Telemedicine allows doctors to connect with patients online rather than at an in-person visit. 

Under the new rules issued by the Texas Medical Board, doctors must conduct an in-person visit with a patient before providing a diagnosis or prescribing drugs. However, if the person is a patient at a health facility, such as a hospital, clinic, or even a pharmacy, and has another healthcare professional with them, the doctor may have a tele-visit with the patient. Mental health visits are excluded from the new telemedicine rules.

This ruling is of great concern to companies like Teladoc, which is a Dallas-based company that offers phone and video appointments at all hours of the day and on weekends with doctors licensed to practice in the patient’s state. Over the past 10 years, Teladoc has completed more than 140,000 visits in Texas alone, nearly half of which occurred on nights, weekends, and holidays, when traditional doctors’ offices are closed. According to company officials, they have never been sued for malpractice.

The Texas Medical Board has been battling with Teladoc since 2011, when it first sent a warning letter to the company. After the letter, there were lawsuits and countersuits over telemedicine in Texas. In January 2015, the Texas Medical Board banned the prescription of drugs in telemedicine visits without a prior in-person visit.

The battle over the future of how medical treatments will be performed seems to be heating up. If you have been harmed by a medical professional, either during a surgery, an in-person visit, or a televisit, you have legal rights. Call the Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 955-947-0707. We have helped a number of clients who were harmed by medical malpractice to get the compensation they deserve. Call us today to learn more. 

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