The rule issued by the Texas Medical Board requiring physicians to conduct a face-to-face or in-person visit with a patient in order to establish a defined physician-patient relationship, was not slated to go into effect until June 3, 2015. With the proverbial ball squarely in its court, Teladoc, a Dallas-based provider of telehealth services, sued the TMB in federal court under the Sherman Antitrust Act in April of 2015, simultaneously seeking a preliminary injunction to halt enforcement of the TMB rule pending the resolution of the lawsuit.
Under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, a plaintiff is required to show both an injury to competition and an injury to itself. Teladoc argued that the TMB’s revised rule would harm competition by increasing prices, reducing patient choice, and reducing physician services. Additionally, Teladoc argued that the TMB’s revised rule would injure the company because it would not be able to maintain its practice if it could not provide its services over the telephone. Federal Judge Robert L. Pitman agreed and issued the preliminary injunction, finding that Teladoc showed it was likely to succeed on the merits of its claim. The tables had now turned. Up next, another ruling from Judge Pitman as well as the efforts of both sides to garner amicus support from various industry groups.
Click here for Judge Pitman’s preliminary injunction opinion.