TMB Emergency Rule Allows Chronic-Pain Telephone Refills
By Joey Berlin



In response to the state’s continuing COVID-19 disaster declaration, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) adopted a new emergency rule allowing for refills of prescriptions for chronic pain patients who recently saw their doctor via telemedicine. 

The new rule, which went into effect Nov. 3, continues allowing telephone refills of prescriptions of scheduled drugs for a physician’s established chronic pain patients “as long as the patient has been seen by the prescribing physician or health professional … in the last 90 days either in-person or via telemedicine using audio and video two-way communication,” TMB said in a release. The previous rule allowing such refills expired Nov. 1.

The board’s rules normally prohibit treatment of chronic pain with scheduled drugs via telemedicine visits, “unless otherwise allowed under federal and state law.”

The rule will be in place until 11:59 pm Jan. 2, 2021, or until Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 disaster declaration ends.

More information on the board’s pandemic-related activity is available on its COVID-19 response page.

Last Updated On

November 09, 2020

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Joey Berlin

Associate Editor

(512) 370-1393

Joey Berlin is associate editor of Texas Medicine. His previous work includes stints as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and publishing companies, and he’s covered everything from hard news to sports to workers’ compensation. Joey grew up in the Kansas City area and attended the University of Kansas. He lives in Austin.

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