Teladoc has dropped an antitrust lawsuit against the Texas Board of Medicine after the state finalized new regulations allowing physicians to treat patients virtually without a prior face-to-face interaction.
The updated licensing regulations were adopted by the board last month and went into effect on November 26, months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation making Texas the last state in the country to do away with state policy that prevented patients from engaging with physicians via telehealth without a prior in-person interaction. Companies like Teladoc lobbied hard for the passage of the bill, eying new growth opportunities in the state.
Last week, days after the new regulations went into effect, the national telehealth provider dropped its antitrust lawsuit against the state medical board that began in 2015 when the board adopted a policy prohibiting physicians from prescribing medication over the phone to patients they hadn’t seen in person. The case was put on hold last year while the state legislature pushed the bill through.
“As we have said throughout this process, Teladoc remains steadfast in our commitment to continue to champion and transform access to high-quality healthcare,” the company said in a statement. “Today we could not be happier with the outcome, and the alignment of the legislators and medical regulators on behalf of the people of Texas.”
The new law has created opportunities for health systems to explore direct-to-consumer telehealth offerings and expand existing programs targeting the “walking well.” It also allowed telemedicine providers and health systems in other states to provide virtual support for Houston hospitals dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.