Governor Abbott Extends TMB Waiver for Chronic Pain Patients; TMB Telemedicine FAQ Updated

April 14, 2020

Extension of TMB Waiver for Telephonic Prescriptions for Chronic Pain Patients

To enable health care providers to provide necessary continuity of care for their chronic pain patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Governor Greg Abbott previously approved the Texas Medical Board’s (“TMB”) request to temporarily suspend certain Texas regulations and to allow telephonic refills of valid prescriptions for treatment of chronic pain by a physician with an established chronic pain patient. This suspension originally was effective until April 10, 2020. The TMB announced on April 9, 2020 that Governor Abbott approved the TMB’s request to extend the suspension until May 8, 2020. Physicians remain responsible for meeting the standard of care and all laws related to the practice of medicine. 

TMB Telemedicine FAQ Updated
The TMB also updated its previously issued FAQ regarding telemedicine during the Texas disaster declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic. In its updated FAQ, TMB addressed the following:

  • A physician assistant (“PA”) or advanced practice registered nurse (“APRN”) may perform telemedicine under the delegation of a Texas-licensed physician so long as the PA or APRN continues to follow all non-waived laws and rules;
  • The TMB further revised its description of the types of prescriptions a physician can prescribe via telemedicine to include information regarding the extended TMB wavier described above. The TMB notes that a prescription monitoring program (“PMP”) check is required for all opioid, benzodiazepine, carisoprodol and barbiturate prescriptions; and

  • The TMB provided detailed information regarding a physician’s ability to bill for telemedicine and added a list of commonly used CPT codes. The TMB provided guidance and links to available resources depending on the insurance plan provider. Specifically, the TMB requires all physicians utilizing telemedicine to adopt protocols to prevent fraud and abuse through the use of telemedicine for their practices.

The TMB’s Telemedicine FAQ can be found here

Weaver Johnston & Nelson, PLLC
10440 N. Central Expressway, Suite 1400
Dallas, Texas 75231
Phone: (214) 705-3515 
Ashley E. Johnston
Phone: (214) 763-8296
Board Certified – Health Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Joshua M. Weaver
Phone: (214) 705-3516
Board Certified – Health Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Joseph E. Nelson
Phone: (214) 705-3907
Board Certified – Health Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Steve Litke
Phone: (972) 427-7685
Chris Reed
Phone: (214) 705-3935
Kevin Mitchell
Phone: (469) 680-9049
Shannon Cahalan
Phone: (214) 938-9898
Stephanie Toth
Phone: (469) 480-9729
Rachael Nelson Gearing
Phone: (469) 680-9609
Vicki Wanjura
Phone: (214) 587-6026
Paul Wehrmann
Phone: (214) 957-0919