Dallas-based Teladoc, a telehealth services provider, has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Medical Board for filing an emergency rule limiting the use of telephones in practicing medicine.
Teladoc and the Texas Medical Board have been in legal disputes since 2011, when TMB wrote a letter to Teladoc writing physicians would be "jeopardizing their respective licenses should they choose to participate" in Teladoc's network, according to a Dec. 31, 2014 opinion filed by the Texas Court of Appeals.
The letter attacked Teladoc for insinuating that physicians can provide adequate medical services via telephone without previously establishing a physician-patient relationship through a "face-to-face" examination. TMB said this type of practice violated a board rule which prohibits prescribing any dangerous drugs or controlled substances without first establishing a proper relationship between the patient and the physician, according to a Courthouse News report.
The opinion ended up ruling in favor of Teladoc. Two weeks later, on Jan. 16, 2015, TMB issued the emergency rule limiting the use of telephones in medicine. The rule requires a face-to-face visit or in-person evaluation before a clinician can supply a prescription for drugs (with the exception of mental health services).
Teladoc filed the lawsuit Jan. 20 claiming the emergency rule violates the Texas Administrative Practice Act which says emergency rules are only allowed if there is "imminent peril to the public health, safety or welfare," according to a Lexology report.
Teladoc seeks judgment to render the emergency rule invalid as well as an injunction to stop its enforcement, according to Courthouse News.