Louisiana’s governor signed into law, HB 570, (the “Act”), eliminating a prior requirement that physicians practicing telemedicine maintain an office in Louisiana or contract with in-state providers. The Act also changes the telemedicine modality required for a patient encounter from “two-way video” technology to “interactive audio” (provided the modality is sufficient to meet the same standard of care as an in-person encounter). The Act requires telemedicine providers make referrals to, or arrangements for, follow-up care when necessary. The Act became effective on June 17, 2016.
The new law comes on the heels of Louisiana’s Board of Medical Examiners’ telemedicine regulations last fall. In those rules, the Board revised its practice standards for telemedicine, the requirements for a telemedicine permit, and rules on remote prescribing of controlled substances. The regulations required telemedicine physicians to have an in-state office or an arrangement with a physician in Louisiana for follow-up care referrals. As a statute, the new law supersedes these regulations, but does state that each Louisiana state agency or professional or occupational licensing board or commission may promulgate new rules and regulations that are consistent with, but no more restrictive than, the statute itself.
Telemedicine companies and healthcare providers delivering services in Louisiana should be mindful of these laws and adjust their practices and procedures accordingly. Here are highlights of the Act:
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