- The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) has filed an amicus brief in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals calling for the dismissal of the Texas Medical Board's appeal of a lower court's refusal to dismiss the antitrust lawsuit brought on by Dallas-based telehealth company Teladoc.
- Teladoc sued the Texas Medical Board last year in federal court seeking to invalidate a rule that it argues is limiting telemedicine services in the state.
- The provider, known for having the oldest and largest telehealth platform in the U.S., announced Thursday plans to acquire employee health benefits app-maker HealthiestYou for $125 million.
In April 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas indicated that Teladoc will likely succeed in showing that the Rule 190.8 revisions the Texas Medical Board adopted illegally limit competition in the telemedicine market by requiring a face-to-face visit before physicians can prescribe medication to patients. The non-profit AAI says,"the extent Fifth Circuit case law permits automatic appeals of state action denials involving a certain category of public officials, state boards controlled by market participants are not in that category."
Teladoc CEO Jason Goveric told Healthcare Dive in an interview it currently has about 15 million members and is planning to do about 900,000 telehealth visits by the end of this year - a significant increase from the 576,000 visits it did in 2015.
Goveric said the company prefers to always collaborate with state regulators "and Texas is no exception to that." He added, "In Texas, we’ve tried multiple times to work with the medical board to rely on the data and the evidence in order to help shape regulation rather than conjecture or protectionism.
"It's only when we’re unable to do that and feel like our customers and consumers are in danger of having their right to access care diminished that we have to take a different tact."
He noted, however, that there seems to be a more receptive market in Texas now and that he has recently had collaborative discussions with the medical board. "I'm optimistic about our ability to have a mutually agreeable solution that provides consumers with the optimal access to care and at the same time ensures good, safe medicine is being delivered," he said.
HealthiestYou co-founder Jim Prendergast said in a statement, "Marrying both companies' innovative engagement and utilization strategies, technology and service offerings will deliver on our shared goal of providing the highest quality of care through easy access to deliver significant cost savings.”