Texas Med­i­cal Board drops ap­peal against Te­ladoc law­suit

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Erica Te­ichert

The Texas Med­i­cal Board last week with­drew its ap­peal against Te­ladoc’s law­suit that al­leges the state’s telemedicine rules vi­o­late fed­eral an­titrust laws, send­ing the dis­pute back to a fed­eral trial court.

The board’s pro­posed rule re­quires physi­cians to meet with pa­tients in per­son be­fore they can treat them re­motely, or an­other provider must be phys­i­cally present dur­ing the first telemedicine ap­point­ment to es­tab­lish a doc­tor­pa­tient re­la­tion­ship. Lewisville, Tex­as­based Te­ladoc main­tains that the board vi­o­lated the law be­cause fed­eral an­titrust laws re­quire the board to be su­per­vised by the state in or­der to cre­ate the rules, which the com­pany main­tains will af­fect ac­cess to care. Ac­cord­ing to the board, the re­stric­tions are to en­sure qual­ity of care, not to sti­fle com­pe­ti­tion.

But the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment and the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion re­cently took Te­ladoc’s side in the dis­pute, telling the 5th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals that the state’s rules were an­ti­com­pet­i­tive and lacked ap­pro­pri­ate re­view. The agen­cies en­cour­aged the ap­peals court to re­ject the med­i­cal board’s ap­peal and main­tained the un­der­ly­ing rule should be elim­i­nated.

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