7 updates on the Teladoc v. Texas Medical Board story

Since 2011, telemedicine provider Teladoc and the Texas Medical Board have been entangled in a battle over telemedicine rights and services in the state.

Here are seven things to know about the ongoing dispute.

1. In 2011, the Texas Medical Board wrote Teladoc a letter saying the company's practices violated a rule in the Texas Administrative Code requiring physicians who prescribe any "dangerous" drugs or controlled substances to first establish "a proper professional relationship with the patient," which includes a face-to-face physical examination. TMB threatened disciplinary action against physicians participating in Teladoc's services. Teladoc sued TMB, alleging the "rule" TMB said Teladoc was violating can't be considered as such because the letter TMB sent went beyond stating existing rules or statutes and included disciplinary actions.

2. A Dec. 31, 2014 opinion from the Texas Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Teladoc, saying the rule TMB claimed Teladoc violated was invalid. Two weeks later, on Jan. 16, 2015, TMB issued an emergency rule limiting the use of telephones in medicine.

3. Teladoc filed a lawsuit Jan. 20, 2015 claiming TMB's emergency rule violates the Texas Administrative Practice Act, which says emergency rules are only permitted if there is "imminent peril to the public health, safety or welfare."

4. Additionally, in April, Teladoc filed an antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court against Texas Medical Board, alleging the medical board's face-to-face consultation requirements illegally limit competition from telemedicine companies. "It is clear that the medical board acted only when Teladoc consultations became sufficiently numerous to be perceived as a competitive threat to brick-and-mortar physician practices," said Jason Gorevic, CEO of Teladoc.

5. The emergency rule was scheduled to take effect June 3, 2015, but on May 29, 2015, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued a temporary injunction, allowing providers to continue offering telemedicine services to patients.

6. TMB asked for the antitrust lawsuit to be dismissed on several grounds, including one claiming the medical board is a state agency and so should be immune from antitrust liability. In December U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman denied the motion.

7. Now, TMB plans to appeal Judge Pitman's decision and asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the district judge's ruling, reports Law360.

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