TX – House Passes Bill to Allow Virtual Visits

May 2017 ~

The Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill, by unanimous vote, that will enable physicians licensed in the state to supply telemedicine services to patients they have never met in person.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1107, seeks to ease some of the state’s more restrictive requirements for telemedicine, primarily by eliminating the need for an in-person consultation to establish a physician-patient relationship prior to providing telemedicine services and also paving the way for expanded use of the technology-backed health care.

SB 1107 specifies that a valid practitioner-patient relationship is considered to exist between a telemedicine provider and a patient he or she has not previously encountered if the telemedicine provider meets certain requirements.

According to the bill’s language, virtual visit must either be audiovisual or use “store-and-forward” technology in conjunction with an audio-only interaction. As well, the telemedicine practitioner is required to access and use relevant clinical information to meet the same standard of care as in-person encounters. Within 72 hours, the telemedicine provider must send a report on the encounter to the patient’s primary care provider (PCP).

SB 1107 will also require the Texas Medical Board (TMB), the Texas Board of Nursing, the Texas Physician Assistant Board, and the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to work collaboratively to develop agreed-upon rules and standards which define valid prescriptions for telemedicine visits.

The bill will now be reconciled with an already-passed state Senate version and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor by the end of the month


Source(s): Medscape Daily News; BizJournals; mHealthIntelligence;