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Florida Board of Medicine Implements New Telemedicine Rule

Effective October 26, 2014, the Florida Board of Medicine amended the regulation regarding standards for telemedicine practice. The new Rule 64B8-9.0141, Florida Administrative Code, (the “Rule”) states that prescribing medications based solely on an electronic medical questionnaire constitutes the failure to practice medicine with an acceptable level of care, skill and treatment. Prescribing legend drugs other than in the course of a physician’s professional practice is not permitted.

The Rule specifies that physicians and physician assistants may not provide treatment recommendations, including issuing a prescription unless there is a documented patient evaluation, including a history and physical examination to establish a diagnosis for which a legend drug is prescribed. The physician and/or physician assistant must also discuss treatment options and the risks and benefits of treatment with the patient. The Rule clarifies that a physician?patient relationship can be established through telemedicine and specifies the Rule does not apply to emergency medical services provided by emergency physicians, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and emergency dispatchers. A copy of the Rule can be found here.

The Board of Medicine continues to address evolving technology through modification of the Rule. Compliance with the Rule is important as the Board of Medicine has indicated that failure to observe the telemedicine safeguards set forth in the Rule jeopardizes patient safety. Physicians are also encouraged to verify professional liability coverage for services rendered through telemedicine. Some policies exclude this coverage.

Please contact one of our healthcare attorneys for additional information or to discuss further.

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