Texas Medical Board drops appeal against Teladoc lawsuit
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.