Teladoc urged a federal appeals court not to toss its challenge of the Texas Medical Board's controversial telemedicine restrictions.
The telemedicine company asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Friday to reject the medical board's attempts to thwart Teladoc's lawsuit over the rules, saying the lower court's decision not to dismiss the suit isn't up for appellate review.
The Lewisville, Texas-based company sued the state board in April after it passed a rule requiring physicians to meet with a patient in person before treating them remotely or have another provider physically present during telemedicine visits. The board maintained that the rule wasn't strictly covering telemedicine and would protect the quality of care.
But Teladoc said the board needed state supervision in order to create these restrictive rules, alleging Texas Medical Board violated antitrust rules and curbed healthcare access in the state.
Texas is suffering from a severe physician shortage; 35 counties don't have a single physician practicing within their boundaries.
“Defendants argue that the risk of self-dealing is greatest for price fixing,” Teladoc said in its brief Friday. “But it is equally anticompetitive for a group of doctors to conspire to exclude competition to keep prices high and reduce access to medical care.”
In December, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman refused to dismiss Teladoc's challenge to the board's rules, rejecting the board's arguments that it was exempt from the state supervision requirement. The judge previously granted a preliminary injunction halting the medical board's rule while Teladoc's case moved forward.
Appeals like the medical board's are rarely granted, and Teladoc maintained that there's no reason the Fifth Circuit should stray from the norm in its case.