Texas Issues Emergency Telemedicine Rule

20 Mar, 2020 Nancy Grover


Austin, TX (WorkersCompensation.com) – Texas has relaxed its rules about telemedicine and requiring most insurers to pay the same for telemedicine as for similar in-person care. Gov. Greg Abbot announced he is waiving some regulations and directed the Texas Department of Insurance to issue an emergency rule during the COVID-19 threat.

“As the State of Texas responds to COVID-19, we continue to work to maintain regular health care services and operations throughout the state, and telemedicine is one of the most valuable tools we have to ensure Texans continue to receive the health services they need,” said Governor Abbott. “Expanding telemedicine options will help protect the health of patients and health care professionals, and help Texas mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

The TDI announced:

  • Insurers must pay the same amount for telemedicine services, including covered mental health services, as they do for in-person services. The rule applies to in-network services for state-regulated health plans.
  • Governor Greg Abbott suspended a state law limiting insurance coverage for medical visits and consultations by phone.
  • The Governor approved the Texas Medical Board (TMB)’s request to suspend state rules blocking the use of phone consultations to establish a physician-patient relationship. Before the change, telemedicine services could be provided only after the physician-patient relationship had been established during an in-person visit.

“This will help protect patients and our state’s health-care professionals while maintaining access to care,” said Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan. “We expect to see large-employer health plans and others not subject to state rules follow suit.”

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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for WorkersCompensation.com. She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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