We sat down with legal expert on healthcare matters, attorney, Sidney Welch, of the Polsinelli law firm on our monthly episode with Medical Association of Georgia. What is it? How is it utilized? And, what are the licensing, regulatory, and legal concerns around it?
Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB) has stressed that it is essential for telemedicine patients in the state to receive the same high standard of care they would in a traditional office setting. GCMB adopted a number of telemedicine rules in 2014 that “allow the Composite Board to take disciplinary action against licensed physicians and allied health professionals who practice telemedicine if they do not provide the minimum standard of care.”
Georgia’s rules require physicians and other allied health care professionals who deliver care by way of telemedicine to…
- Be the ones who provide all of the treatment and/or consultations via telehealth.
- Have access to the patient’s medical history if they are providing the services.
- Have personally seen and examined the patient if they are referring the patient to a telehealth provider.
- Maintain records on the patient’s evaluation and treatment if they are providing a service via telehealth and to provide a copy of those records to the referring physician.
- Provide telehealth services only within their specialty.
- Give their name, credentials and emergency contact information to the patient when they provide a telehealth treatment or consultation.
- Provide the patient with “clear, appropriate, accurate instructions” on follow-up care.
Controlled substances for pain or chronic pain treatment cannot be prescribed through telehealth – but a physician or a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant can order appropriate labs or other diagnostic tests.
The physician who provides the care via telemedicine must make a “diligent” effort to ensure that the patient is seen and examined in person at least once a year by a Georgia-licensed physician or other appropriate health care professional.
Sidney Welch, JD, of Polsinelli