Medical licensing occurs at the state level, with each state establishing its own licensing requirements for practitioners and medical personnel like nurses.
Recent interest in telehealth impacted state licensing requirements, with many states modifying their policies. This included the eligibility of out-of-state health care providers.
The PREP Act
The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act allows the Department of Health and Human Services to issue specific declarations during emergency situations that provide immunity from liability in areas of healthcare. One of the provisions of this act is the interstate practice of telemedicine in order to assist with a public health crisis or emergency. There are similar protections in place in certain states across the nation, but there are also specific requirements as to who can practice telemedicine.
The telemedicine statute in Texas is the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 111. This sets the standard of care for the health care provider and guidance on the advisability of telemedicine services in a particular situation.
In Texas, there are strict guidelines in place for patient privacy and informed consent, much like one would find at an in-person visit. There are also requirements for a protocol related to abuse or fraud. While the physician needs to establish continual communication with the patient, the physician must have the appropriate medical license or authorization from the medical board in the state where the patient lives.
In Texas, a healthcare provider licensed to practice medicine in Texas may engage in telehealth services within Texas. However, Texas participates in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact which allows one application for licensing in several states.