My CMS News and Ideas on Telemedicine in Florida

March 27, 2014

Telemedicine Issues in the Florida Legislature

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbondsullivan @ 3:09 pm

Both the Florida House and Senate committees have voted to move their respective telemedicine bills on for further consideration this Legislative session. From the support they have garnered, it looks as though the State of Florida will see a change in the law that will require reimbursement for telemedicine services.

The initial bills introduced into the Legislature equated a telemedicine visit with a face-to-face visit with a physician for purposes of reimbursement.  The focus of the bills was on defining telemedicine and establishing who could use – and be reimbursed for – the service. In subsequent debates, this focus changed, in part because of expected agendas of different players but also because the differences between a telecommunicated office visit and an in person encounter started to become clearer.

As everyone who has implemented an electronic health record system into a physician’s practice, technology is disruptive and a change agent. It is not neutral. The use of telecommunications-based technology can dramatically increase the geographical accessibility and reach of both physician and patient, which changes the face-to-face relationship between doctor and patient. Telemedicine allows for detailed visualization when used with advanced video capabilities and increased medical information if complemented with a health information exchange feed.

It is quite interesting to watch how certain issues have come up for discussion in both the House and Senate. These have addressed:
1) Eligibility for telemedicine services
2) Health plan reimbursement equivalency
3) Prescribing over telemedicine
4) Out-of-state physicians offering telemedicine services
5) Malpractice insurance for telemedicine

There is a lot to write about. More to come.

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