The updates to Texas Medicaid benefit policy language on telemedicine and telehealth took effect on October 1, 2018. Doctors and other health care providers providing medical services via telemedicine for Medicaid patients should be aware of the changes.
The telemedicine policies were updated by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) as part of its implementation of Senate Bill 1107, which codifies the requirements of telemedicine practitioners when serving patients via telephone or other audiovisual means. SB 1107 clarifies that the standard of care for telemedicine is the same as when a physician treats a patient in person.
Texas Medicaid Telemedicine Benefit Updates
The primary changes to the Texas Medicaid MCO telemedicine policy include:
- Updates to what must exist to establish a valid practitioner-patient relationship for the purposes of telemedicine.
- Updates to the requirements for issuing prescriptions as part of a telemedicine service.
- A list of the types of telemedicine delivery modalities allowed in fee-for-service Medicaid.
- Changes to documentation requirements for telemedicine.
A guide, published by HHS, detailing the benefits policy language updates can be read here.
An electronic prescription (e-script) may be issued by a telemedicine provider. E-scripts must comply with applicable federal and state statutes. Further, the same standards that apply for in-person prescriptions apply to prescriptions issued by a distant site provider.
- If the prescription is for a controlled substance, the prescribing physician must have a current valid U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number.
- If the prescription is for a Schedule II controlled substance, the health professional must comply with DEA regulations regarding the use of electronic prescriptions.
- Treatment of a patient for chronic pain with scheduled drugs using telemedicine medical services is prohibited; however, treatment of a patient for acute pain with scheduled drugs using telemedicine medical services is permitted.
The ability to treat patients remotely has many benefits and increases the availability of healthcare. As the field of telemedicine and telehealth grows, it's important the providers stay vigilant in complying with the rules and regulations specific to delivering telemedicine. This is an area of medicine that may be ripe with the potential for complaints with the Texas Medical Board or Texas Board of Nursing.
Facing Disciplinary Action Against Your Medical License
If you have been notified of a complaint filed against you or are facing disciplinary action by the Texas Medical Board or Board of Nursing based on medical care you provided via telemedicine, it is critical that you seek the advice of an experienced Medical license defense attorney immediately.
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.