Court Order Puts Texas Remote Medical Treatment Rule on Hold

By | June 1, 2015

Patients in Texas can continue to receive remote diagnoses and treatment after telemedicine company Teladoc Inc. won a preliminary court order blocking a new state rule requiring doctors to meet patients first.

The ruling in Austin federal court on May 29 came the same day that Teladoc filed its public registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The company first announced its plans to go public in April.

Founded in 2002, Teladoc describes itself as one of the first and largest U.S. telemedicine services, with a network of about 700 doctors and 11 million patients nationwide. About 2.4 million patients are in Texas.

Telemedicine is the increasingly common practice of conducting diagnosis and treatment, including prescribing drugs, remotely using phones or interactive video.

In April the Texas Medical Board, which regulates the practice of medicine in the state, adopted a new rule requiring doctors to meet their patients face-to-face before prescribing drugs. The rule was to take effect this week.

Teladoc sued the board, claiming that the rule violated the federal Sherman Act, an antitrust law that prohibits unreasonable restraint of trade.

In the order, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman said Teladoc had shown it was likely to succeed in its lawsuit. His order stops the rule from taking effect while the case is pending.

“We are happy to be able to continue serving Texas citizens, employers and health plans by enabling them to access high-quality care in a cost-effective manner,” Teladoc Chief Executive Officer Jason Gorevic said in a press release on Friday.

The Texas Medical board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case is Teladoc Inc et al v. Texas Medical Board et al, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, No. 1:15-cv-00343.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Ted Botha and Lisa Von Ahn)

Topics USA Texas

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