Teladoc vs. Texas: What Does It All Mean for Telemedicine?

by James Wantuck, MD

If you follow telemedicine at all, you may be familiar with the recent ruling by a federal judge to allow Teladoc, the Texas-based telemedicine practice, to continue to operate despite a ruling by the Texas Medical Board. Teladoc recently engaged in a legal battle with the board after they passed a rule requiring physicians to either meet their patients in person before treating them remotely, or treat them face-to-face virtually with other providers present when treating them for the first time.

Fortunately, for Teladoc, they were able to argue that this ruling was in violation of antitrust laws, which would keep them from being able to compete in the marketplace, since Teladoc treats patients over the phone.

So, what does this ruling mean for the future of Teladoc and telemedicine in general? For the time being things can move along accordingly, but it’s becoming more apparent that in states where telemedicine faces stricter regulations (Alaska, Arkansas, and Texas, to name a few), the reasoning for those restrictions are becoming harder and harder to justify. After all, we know that:

1. Telemedicine is more convenient and accommodating to the busy lives of patients, since there aren’t any waiting rooms or waiting to see a doctor, period.

2. The costs of most telemedicine visits are affordable. At PlushCare, we offer visits for a flat fee of $59, no hidden fees or follow-up costs to worry about.

3. Privacy is a priority. PlushCare complies with HIPAA privacy laws to ensure that the information shared between patient and doctor remains confidential.

While the idea of utilizing telecommunications to treat patients is still a relatively new concept, it’s become clear that the affordability and convenience of the service are paramount to patients. Not only is it often more affordable and convenient, it provides employment opportunities to doctors who are looking to launch their careers or those who are retired from a hectic practice but would like to treat patients remotely. If patients are happy and providers are happy, wouldn’t Alaska, Arkansas, Texas and other states want to support their citizens and promote the practice of telemedicine within their borders, not hinder it’s growth?

As Teladoc, PlushCare and other telemedicine companies continue to grow their patient base, increase their physician network, and improve their patient experience, telemedicine will become an increasingly viable option for receiving quality healthcare.

It’s fair to say that telemedicine has arrived and far time that all states took note.

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PlushCare provides doctor’s visits from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever you’re located. For $59 our world-class doctors will diagnose, treat, and prescribe you medication. For more information or to book an appointment, visit plushcare.com.