2015-04-21 12:24:26 UTC

Texas GIs: New Telemedicine Requirements Adopted

April 21, 2015

Telemedicine can be used for up to 1 year after an initial diagnosis that was made through either in-person or telemedicine visit.

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) issued a press release announcing new requirements governing the practice of telemedicine. The new standards were adopted after lengthy discussions between TMB and national companies that offer or facilitate telemedicine services between physicians and patients. TMB believes the new rules are the best way to maintain telemedicine options for Texans, while also providing for both safety and convenience. The changes are not expected to impact open-access programs for colonoscopy or endoscopy.

According to the press release issued by TMB, the new rules will allow the use of telemedicine, but will require an initial diagnosis through a face-to-face visit before patients can receive additional telemedicine services. The initial visit can be in person or via telemedicine, although a second medical provider would need to be present with the patient if the initial visit is not in person. The press release clarifies that the new rules protect the ability to provide on-call coverage for patients of other physicians, as long as the service is within the same medical specialty and the physicians provide reciprocal on-call coverage.

The new rules follow nearly a year after the Federation of State Medical Boards adopted language specifying that telemedicine is only appropriate when a patient-physician relationship is in place. TMB took the opportunity to say that the new rules do not “severe(ly) restrict the type of telemedicine scenarios authorized in Texas.”

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