Telemedicine: What You Need To Know for COVID-19 and Beyond
By David Doolittle

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Texas telemedicine laws and regulations have changed considerably over the past several years, and access has been greatly expanded because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example the Texas Medical Board has declared that telemedicine – including the use of telephone only – may be used to establish a physician-patient relationship, under a statewide disaster declaration issued last week.

“This expanded use of telemedicine may be used for diagnosis, treatment, ordering of tests, and prescribing for all conditions. The standard of care must be met in all instances,” TMB said.

In addition, several changes to telemedicine visits have taken effect in response to COVID-19, including payment for services and which platforms can be used.

But if you’re like many Texas physicians, you probably have questions about using telemedicine in your practice, particularly now.

To answer your questions, the Texas Medical Association has created a step-by-step guide to help you set up and use telemedicine effectively.

The two-page document addresses such aspects of telemedicine as:

  • Choosing, setting up, and testing technology and equipment;
  • Complying with state and federal rules and regulations;
  • Billing and payment considerations; and
  • How to inform patients to use telemedicine.

In addition, the FAQ has links to all the other telemedicine policies, procedures, and forms available on the TMA Telemedicine Resource page.

If you need help redesigning your practice to provide telehealth services effectively, the Physicians Foundation launched its Telehealth Initiative in conjunction with TMA, the American Medical Association, and the Florida and Massachusetts state medical societies. This free service allows you access to online resources and information, including:

“Physicians know how important it is for us to give our patients the option of obtaining safe, high-quality medical care digitally,” TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD, said. “TMA wants to provide tools and pragmatic guidance for physicians, so that we can embrace telemedicine and appropriately offer it to our existing patients and maintain continuity of care.”

TMA is a founding member of the Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit that advances the work of practicing physicians and helps them deliver high-quality health care to patients.

You can also find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.

Last Updated On

March 23, 2020

Originally Published On

March 20, 2020

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Coronavirus | Telemedicine

David Doolittle

Editor

(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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