Teladoc plans to file for IPO, sues to stop Texas Medical Board rule
Fast-growing Teladoc, a Dallas-based telehealth company, has taken a step toward filing for an initial public offering despite a recent Texas Medical Board ruling that went against the company’s business model.
Teladoc also today filed an antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against the medical board and its members to prevent a new rule from taking effect that would restrict the practice of telehealth.
Texas Medical Board voted April 10 to adopt new rules limiting physicians who treat patients over the phone, video or online. The ruling could have severe implications for Teladoc, which conducts a substantial amount of its business in its home state.
The rules, which take effect this summer,require a face-to-face visit or an in-person evaluation to establish the doctor-patient relationship before the physician can diagnose or prescribe drugs to a patient. The new rules have been the subject of four years of debate and lawsuits.
State Medical Boards are entrenched in protecting regulations in each state. Telemedicine offers great potential for rural areas where there are great distances to physicians and hospitals. Regulatory agencies must shift gears to accomodate new technology to maximize gains promised by the affordable care act.
What is the difference between a patient calling their insurance company hotline for recommendations (offered by a nurse or physician assistant, and a teleconference with a real physicians. (None). The first is legal and has never been challenged.
An issue with Teladoc is that it's service is linked to 'Freshbenies, a web site that promotes Rx Discount Cards as well as other partner sites. (erratum)
Texas is a large state with great distances between cities, patients and hospitals.
Access to physicians and/or hospitals is very different in states such as Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, or New Jersey and the Washington D.C. metor area.
If the rule change takes effect this summer, it will represent a huge step backward for Texas," a statement from Teladoc says. "California, Colorado, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and dozens of other states have found solutions that embrace telehealth, and all of its benefits, while ensuring patient safety.