Monday, September 12, 2016

For 2306 today - all from the Texas Tribune

Teladoc, the Dallas-based company that sued Texas over its telemedicine regulations, has a new ally in the Federal Trade Commission.
In a letter sent to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court late Friday, the federal antitrust agency sided with Teladoc in the company’s legal battle, criticizing the Texas Medical Board for allegedly misinterpreting case law.
The telehealth company sued last year to block board rules that in most cases require face-to-face contact between a patient and a physician before a physician can issue a prescription.
That threatened Teladoc’s business model, which virtually connects Texas patients to remote, Texas-licensed doctors, some of whom are based out-of-state. The company says its physicians consult patients over the phone for routine medical issues, and patients can upload photos or other information describing their symptoms and medical history.
Teladoc filed an antitrust lawsuit against the regulatory Texas Medical Board in federal courtlast year, alleging that the 19-member board made up mostly of doctors had behaved like a cartel by passing rules intended to limit competition.

- Empower Texans Escalates Battle With Ethics Commission.

The influential conservative group Empower Texans is escalating its long-running battle against the Texas Ethics Commission, accusing a former member of the state watchdog agency of improperly seeking to influence state legislation.
Empower Texans President Michael Quinn Sullivan on Thursday lodged a criminal complaint against Tom Harrison, who abruptly resigned in June as the commission's vice chairman. The complaint, filed with the Travis County district attorney's office, alleges that Harrison illegally gave gifts to lawmakers in his role as deputy director of the Texas County and District Retirement System, one of the state's largest pension funds.
Sullivan says that activity should have required Harrison to register with the state as a lobbyist. And even if Harrison did register, he still would have been in violation of another rule saying lobbyists cannot serve on the ethics commission.

- Lawmakers to Examine Ballooning Cost of Tuition Program for Texas Veterans.

State university leaders have long complained about what they call an underfunded mandate to provide an increasing number of veterans and their dependents a free college education under the Hazlewood Act. After failed attempts in the last legislative session to restrict eligibility, school officials will meet with House lawmakers Tuesday at the Capitol to discuss ways to pay for it, including tapping the state’s savings account.

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