COVID-19 Resources

TEXAS MEDICAL BOARD (TMB) & CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION (CME) REQUIREMENTS
The TMB has extended license renewals and registration extensions. To read the entire notice visit the TMB website.

The relevant information is:

  • To assist our license and permit holders affected by and/or assisting with the repose to COVID-19, the TMB will automatically extend license and permit expiration dates as indicated below. In addition, Continuing Education requirements related to this renewal extension will be waived.
  • Physician and physician assistant licensees whose current permit expired/expires on 2/28/2020 or 5/31/2020 will automatically be extended through 8/31/2020, and any late fees previously accrued will be waived. Newly licensed physicians and physician assistants whose initial registration is due in March, April, May or June of 2020 will have that due date extended to 8/31/2020 as well.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERIVES (HHS) PROHIBITION OF NON-ESSENTIAL VISITORS TO PRIVATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS
GL 20-2007 providing guidance to Texas hospitals (general, special, and private psychiatric) regarding the prohibition of nonessential visitors because of the significant health and safety risk to patients posed by COVID-19 has been posted.

TELEMEDICINE REQUIRMENTS IN TEXAS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED
Governor Abbott approved TMB’s request to temporarily suspend Texas Occupation Code 111.005 (a)-(b) and Title 22, Chapter 174.6 (a)(2)-(3) of the Texas Administrative Code. The Texas Medical Board asserts that strict compliance with these laws could prevent, hinder, or delay timely delivery of necessary medical services in relation to efforts to cope with the declared disaster.  Pursuant to this development, the following new procedures are in effect during the declared disaster period:

Allowing Phone Consults. Telemedicine, including the use of telephone only, may be used to establish a physician-patient relationship. This expanded use of telemedicine may be used for diagnosis, treatment, ordering of tests, and prescribing for all conditions. The standard of care must be met in all instances.

For ALL license and permit holders regulated by the TMB, the agency will take into account extenuating circumstances surrounding the completion of license/permit renewal requirements such as renewal deadlines and completion of continuing education hours.

How can you use telemedicine in your practice now?

  1. If you are considering seeing patients using telehealth, review the APA’s Telepsychiatry Toolkit. Of particular interest is the April 2018 “Best Practices in Videoconferencing-Based Telemental Health” document.
  2. The APA will also be providing more telehealth information in relation to COVID-19 later today. Keep an eye on the APA homepage for updates.
  3. The most important considerations are to think about how you will treat your patients. Consider setting up your own clinical protocols for each patient’s appropriateness/ability for using telehealth visits, ensuring patient safety (starting visits with documentation of immediate alternate contact information for both patient, provider, and patient emergency contact), and ensuring patient privacy (i.e., no spouses wandering by your desk during a session). Putting these considerations in writing is the beginning of a Policy & Procedure process that will be helpful.
  4. Research and procure a HIPAA-compliant video platform that you and your patients can use for visits.
  5. This article may be helpful, as it includes a couple of suggestions for platforms that are free or low cost for solo practitioners.

What can you do to keep your patients and yourself safe?

Stay abreast of the latest developments in Texas by checking the following websites:

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

World Health Association (WHO)

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

Texas Medial Board (TMB)