Health IT, Policy

Texas Medical Board defends state telemedicine rules

The president of the Texas Medical Board said that it is “absolutely” legal for physicians to establish relationships with patients via telemedicine.

Remember the controversy about new telemedicine regulations in Texas that took effect in June? The Texas Medical Board, which licenses doctors in the state, barred physicians from making diagnoses or prescribing drugs via telephone or the Internet for any patient they do not have a previously existing, in-person relationship with.

Friday, the president of the Texas Medical Board, Dr. Michael Arambula, defended telemedicine rules in the state. “There is continued widespread misperception that Texas is behind the times and restricting access to healthcare when it comes to telemedicine,” he wrote in a commentary published in the Austin American-Statesman.

Arambula said that there are “very few telemedicine scenarios which are prohibited in Texas.” He asserted that it is “absolutely” legal for physicians to establish relationships with patients via telemedicine.

According to Arambula:

Telemedicine can occur at essentially any location where a state licensed or certified medical professional (such as a licensed paramedic) is available, with diagnostic equipment to facilitate an adequate physical evaluation of the patient, while the physician is seeing and hearing the patient in real time. Texans can utilize health care via telemedicine in their own homes if the basic patient safety requirements in rule and the standard of care are met. A physician can remotely treat a patient’s preexisting condition for up to a year with just a single previous in-person evaluation or face-to-face visit via telemedicine.

Critics, it’s your move.

Photo: Bigstock

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