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Telemedicine is catching on. The Division of Workers’ Compensation is accepting public comment on a proposed rule that would expand its use in the workers’ compensation system.
Broadly defined, telemedicine is a doctor’s use of a video system to examine a patient in a different location. It is already permitted in the Texas workers’ compensation system to some degree. Currently, however, it is limited to “underserved” areas – typically rural regions with insufficient access to health care providers. Proposed Rule 133.30 would eliminate this restriction and allow the use of telemedicine anywhere in Texas.
The potential effects of this change are significant. For example, suppose – just suppose – that there was a chiropractor in Dallas to whom Claimant attorneys routinely referred their clients because the chiropractor was perceived to be Claimant-friendly, liberally prescribing treatment and doling out off-work slips. Would this proposed rule tempt Claimant attorneys in other cities to refer their clients to this chiropractor as well? Would the chiropractor in Dallas become the treating doctor for workers living in Waco, Tyler, and Abilene as a result? Only time will tell.
Proposed Rule 133.30 is scheduled to be published on the Division website by March 2, 2018. The Division will be accepting comments on the proposed rule through April 2, 2018. You may comment on the rule by sending an email toRulecomments@tdi.texas.gov.
-David Swanson, Stone Loughlin & Swanson, LLP.