For anyone who follows healthcare policy, a new year means new chances for important health legislation to impact our field. The American Telemedicine Association just completed an update to their industry reports. According to that new information, 29 states and the District of Columbia are coming into 2016 with telemedicine parity laws, and 8 states have pending parity legislation waiting for action. States are also enacting legislation to combat the challenges of interstate medical licensure.
Accoring to mHealth Intelligence, three states are currently considering cross-state licensing laws. Florida’s proposed law would allow healthcare providers from other states to treat Florida residents if they meet certain criteria. Stipulations include the provider paying a $150 registration fee and agreeing not to treat Florida residents in person.
New Mexico's bill would allow osteopathic physicians licensed in another state to practice telemedicine with New Mexico patients. This telemedicine permit would be valid for three years and mirrors the law currently in place for non-osteopathic telemedicine in the state.
Finally, patients in Missouri will be able to receive healthcare from physicians in other states if the newest telehealth bill there is passed. Out-of-state physicians must be properly licensed and have previously examined the patient in person.
All these bills were introduced in January 2016, so we might be waiting a while for action. But it's worth the wait! Although no state received an "A" grade for out-of-state licensure from the ATA in 2015, twelve states have enacted the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which seeks to change that figure. In 2016, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Hampshire and Washington have introduced legislation that would bring them into the compact. That's pretty great, considering we're only one month into the year. Check the ATA website, the eVisit blog and our State Policy Landscape Page for regular updates on telemedicine policy where you are.