Proposed rule changes were presented to the Texas Medical Board in April and June, and published in the July 2010 Texas Register for a 30 day comment period. The proposed rule changes pertaining to telemedicine are listed in Section 174. These proposed rules will be presented to the Medical Board August 26-27, 2010 and there will be an opportunity for comment at that time.
The proposed changes and new rules pertaining to Section 174 related to telemedicine are:
• Section 174.2 would establish uniform definitions for those who practice telemedicine in Texas. The section defines distant site provider, face-to-face visits, patient site locations, patient site presenters, amends the definitions for physician patient email, telemedicine medical services, and deletes the definition for telepresenter
• Section 174.7 concerns telemedicine services provided at sites other than at an established medical site such as in the patient’s home. The new section will establish standards for the use of telemedicine medical services at non-medical sites. The proposed rule will accommodate developing trends in healthcare delivery as well as changes in the Health and Human Services Commission’s rules for Medicaid telemedicine reimbursement. Also the proposed changes authorize the types of telemedicine that are currently being practiced in both rural and urban areas in Texas
• Section 174.8 would establish the requirements to maintain medical records for telemedicine medical services and the documents needed to be considered part of the medical records.
• Section 174.9 would establish requirements relating to technology and security while providing telemedicine services and physician-patient communications through email.
• Section 174.11 concerns on-call services and enables the physicians in the same specialty who provide reciprocal services to be able to provide on-call telemedicine medical services for each other’s patients
• Section 174.12 provides that persons who treat and prescribe using advanced communications technology and are engaged in the practice of medicine must have appropriate licensure unless otherwise exempt.
For more information, go to www.tmb.state.tx.us/rules/proprules_mb.php or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 305-7016.