Telemedicine Cracks Top Ten Health Law Issue List for 2016

With the development of new remote access technologies and increased coverage for remote access service, this appears to be the year that telemedicine, or telehealth, becomes a major health law practice focal point. 

Long considered only a subcategory within the broader Health Information Technology umbrella, the fact that telemedicine has come into its own as a burgeoning field makes it one of the Top Ten Health Law Issues for 2016 as voted on by the advisory board for Bloomberg BNA’s Health Law Reporter. 

One of the major hurdles that telemedicine will have to face in the coming years is the differences that exist in state physician licensing laws. Only 12 states have adopted the Federation of State Medical Boards’ Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which would allow an expedited licensure process for out-of-state physicians. And that number that doesn’t include the four most populous states in the union: California, Texas, New York or Florida.

Some states are so physically large and have such a widespread population that this obstacle alone won’t hinder the growth of telemedicine because patients in remote rural parts of the state will be treated remotely by physicians in the same state. 

But in one Texas case a telemedicine provider is running up against a state medical board’s requirement that a physician see a patient in person before being able to prescribe certain medications. This restriction is currently being litigated in the state supreme court. This case is being watched closely for its expected effect on the growth of telemedicine in one of the largest states in the country. 

You can read more on this and the rest of the Top Ten Health Law issues for 2016 and receive industry-leading health law news and analysis by signing up for your free trial of the Bloomberg BNA Health Law Resource Center today.