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Updated Chronic Pain and Telemedicine Regulations – Texas Medical Board

April 14, 2020

Note: This has been provided for informational purposes only and does not serve as legal advice. Consult your attorney. This has been created by Weaver Johnston & Nelson.

Governor Abbott Extends TMB Waiver for Chronic Pain Patients; TMB Telemedicine FAQ Updated
April 14, 2020
Extension of TMB Waiver for Telephonic Prescriptions for Chronic Pain Patients
To enable health care providers to provide necessary continuity of care for their chronic pain patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Governor Greg Abbott previously approved the Texas Medical Board’s (“TMB”) request to temporarily suspend certain Texas regulations and to allow telephonic refills of valid prescriptions for treatment of chronic pain by a physician with an established chronic pain patient. This suspension originally was effective until April 10, 2020. The TMB announced on April 9, 2020 that Governor Abbott approved the TMB’s request to extend the suspension until May 8, 2020. Physicians remain responsible for meeting the standard of care and all laws related to the practice of medicine.
TMB Telemedicine FAQ Updated
The TMB also updated its previously issued FAQ regarding telemedicine during the Texas disaster declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic. In its updated FAQ, TMB addressed the following:
  • A physician assistant (“PA”) or advanced practice registered nurse (“APRN”) may perform telemedicine under the delegation of a Texas-licensed physician so long as the PA or APRN continues to follow all non-waived laws and rules;
  • The TMB further revised its description of the types of prescriptions a physician can prescribe via telemedicine to include information regarding the extended TMB wavier described above. The TMB notes that a prescription monitoring program (“PMP”) check is required for all opioid, benzodiazepine, carisoprodol and barbiturate prescriptions; and
  • The TMB provided detailed information regarding a physician’s ability to bill for telemedicine and added a list of commonly used CPT codes. The TMB provided guidance and links to available resources depending on the insurance plan provider. Specifically, the TMB requires all physicians utilizing telemedicine to adopt protocols to prevent fraud and abuse through the use of telemedicine for their practices.
The TMB’s Telemedicine FAQ can be found here.