New requirements by the Texas Medical Board (TMB) have made the practice of telemedicine more stringent in Texas. These new rules go into effect on June 3, 2015. As part of these new rules, in order to treat Texas residents through telemedicine, the physician must be licensed to practice in Texas. Also, an in person, face-to-face, meeting must take place before a physician is able to provide health care services to the patient remotely. Specifically, there can be no online questioning through email, text or telephone until the physician has seen the patient face-to-face. Another change made was to the definition of an “established medical site.” This can no longer include a patient’s home.
Other states have started the practice of using smart phone apps and various other tools in order to provide telemedicine from physicians to patients. A recent TMB vote has restricted the use of these apps over various concerns with patient safety, malpractice liability, privacy and security, fraud and abuse, false claims, kickbacks and possible violations of state and federal laws.
While some states have eased access to the practice of telemedicine, Texas is not one of these states. The rules on telemedicine in Texas change frequently and it is best to consult with an attorney regarding the current status of these rules in order to mitigate possible sanctions or licensing issues.