Post Date: May 21, 2015

Teladoc, a healthcare provider through phone and video appointments in the Dallas area, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit on Wednesday to stop enforcement of new curbs on telemedicine services in the Texas state.

On April 10 the Texas Medical Board approved some rules barring doctors from giving telemedicine care to patients not previously seen personally. Telemedicine will only be authorized to patients without a prior visit if they are at a medical center, for instance, a clinic, hospital or even a pharmacy. Mental health appointments are ineligible from these regulations, which are to be enacted in June.

The lawsuit indicts the board for unlawful limitation of competition and requests a preliminary ruling to stop the policy pending a jury trial to determine the row. Jason Gorevic the CEO of Teladoc said in a statement that the medical board was claiming that the new policy is meant to protect the patient’s wellbeing, but the board did not have any substantial evidence jeopardizing the patient’s safety due to telemedicine.

The lawsuit held that the new regulations would increase prices and trim down access to healthcare in Texas causing Teladoc a tragic and irreversible damage, making the company close shop in Texas and probably countrywide. In 2014, Teladoc’s activities in Texas fetched $10 million or 23 percent of its entire revenue. The case was filed a day after Teladoc filed for an IPO of its stock.

If the rule is endorsed, Texas and Arkansas will be only states requiring a face-to-face visit before telemedicine engagements. The suit asserts telephone discussion without previous in person meeting risks the patient health and that the panel provided major pharmacies with copies describing the policy.

The American Telemedicine Association CEO Jonathan Linkous said that other forms of telemedicine like remote monitoring would not be affected by the Texas regulations.

Other unions within the healthcare sector have questioned whether the policy would stop doctors from taking patient calls when sitting in for other physicians. The scheme specifically consents to one section of the regulations, although the board did not revise another sub-division of the laws as demanded by the Texas Medical Association to shed light on the matter.