Healthcare providers in the State of Texas will have to review the new Telemedicine Rules released this month by the Texas Medical Board. The new rules are reported to eliminate a few obstacles doctors faced in utilizing telemedicine to treat patients and mark the final barriers in a years-long battle to loosen restrictive telehealth rules in the Texas. According to reports, the proposed rules eliminate the provisions that a “patient site telepresenter” must be available for patients being treated for new conditions at medical sites and that offsite, providers see patients in person before providing for them remotely. The new language in the proposed rules also determines the groundwork for mental health providers to use telehealth.
An amendment also defines how doctors can use telemedicine to also issue prescriptions. Per state law, the board has to set those rules jointly with the Texas Board of Nursing, Texas Physician Assistant Board and Texas Board of Pharmacy, according to reports.
Texas Legislature passed SB 1107, which opened the door to consumer-facing telehealth and enabled doctors to expand their digital health footprint. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law last May.
“To date Texas has lagged behind the rest of the country in establishing a supportive regulatory environment for the expansion of telemedicine, a proven delivery model for increasing access to care–especially for rural Texas – and providing a less costly alternative to visiting emergency rooms for non-emergency conditions,” Jamie Dudensing, CEO of Texas Association of Health Plans, told the FORBES.