The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), in a joint amicus brief with the Department of Justice filed on September 9, 2016, petitioned the Fifth Circuit to dismiss the Texas Medical Board (“TMB”) appeal of the district court ruling holding that TMB regulations restricting the prescribing rights of physicians providing professional services through telemedicine may be challenged under federal anti-trust laws.  The FTC asserted that the appellate court does not have jurisdiction over the issue because there has been no final judgment in the underlying case between Teladoc and the TMB.

On August 15, 2016, United States District Judge Robert Pitman denied the motion of the Texas Medical Board (“TMB”) to certify order for an immediate appeal of the court’s decision not to dismiss the Teladoc case.  The court previously denied the TMB’s attempt to have the case against it dismissed, which was brought by Teladoc challenging the TMB’s adoption of a rule requiring physicians prescribing certain medications to first see patients face to face. 

On June 13, 2016, the American Medical Association (AMA) at its annual meeting approved new ethical guidelines for physicians providing telemedicine services, which will be incorporated in the full publication of the AMA Code of Medical Ethics this fall. Although the ethical guidelines do not place legal limitations on the provision of telemedicine for any individual physician or State, they are designed to guide a physician in his or her practice. Allegations of any violations of the Code of Medical Ethics, after a disciplinary hearing, could ultimately result in suspension or revocation of a physician’s AMA membership. Individual State agencies are responsible for issuing licenses and enforcing State law governing the practice of medicine, including ramifications of unethical behavior.

In the fall of 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) released an online resource to assist mobile health application developers in determining whether they need to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and