Our healthcare and business law firm previously published a blog post on the federal telemedicine rules. Both Federal and State rules govern the provision of telemedicine. Each state’s rules governing telemedicine are different, but the applicable laws and rules are generally found in the state medical board’s rules or position statements, insurance code, and when applicable, Medicaid rules. This post focuses specifically on the telemedicine rules applicable to the practice of telemedicine in Florida. This post does not discuss telemedicine prescribing rules or Medicaid rules. If you have questions about telemedicine rules or would like to discuss this blog post, you may contact our healthcare and business law firm at (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta), or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also learn more about our law firm by visiting www.hamillittle.com.
The Florida telehealth rules are set out in Florida Statute 456.47, which was modified in 2022 through Senate Bill 312. Florida allows a limited telemedicine license for those without a full medical license, but, in general, the same rules apply regardless of whether a provider has a full medical license or limited telemedicine license.
- General Practice Standards
According to statute 456.47(2)(a), “A telehealth provider has the duty to practice in a manner consistent with his or her scope of practice and the prevailing standard of practice for a health care professional who provides in-person health care services to patients in this state.”
The telehealth rules discussed herein apply to any provider practicing telehealth within the state. As such, these rules apply regardless of whether a provider has a Florida telemedicine license or a full medical license. See Fla. Stat. 456.47.
Importantly, if you are registered in Florida with a telehealth license (as opposed to a full license), you must “prominently display a hyperlink to the department’s website containing” specific information about all providers registered with a telehealth license, including the provider’s name, out-of-state health care license with the license number, etc.
In Florida, “telehealth” is defined to allow: “the use of synchronous or asynchronous telecommunications technology by a telehealth provider to provide health care services, including, but not limited to, assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, and monitoring of a patient; transfer of medical data; patient and professional health-related education; public health services; and health administration.” Fla. Stat. 456.47(1)(a). Telehealth “does not include audio-only telephone calls, e-mail messages, or facsimile transmissions.” Fla. Stat. 456.47(1)(a).
“A telehealth provider may use telehealth to perform a patient evaluation. If a telehealth provider conducts a patient evaluation sufficient to diagnose and treat the patient, the telehealth provide is not required to research a patient’s medical history or conduct a physician examination of the patient before using telehealth to provide health care services to the patient.” Fla. Stat. 456.47(2)(b).
This rule implies that if the evaluation is insufficient to diagnose or treat, it does not mean you have to end the relationship but that you can research the patient’s history further.
The Florida rules has specific record retention requirements as follows: “A telehealth provider shall document in the patient’s medical record the health care services rendered using telehealth according to the same standard as used for in-person services.” Fla. Stat. 456.47(3).
As is clear from the above, medical practices must be thoughtful before offering telemedicine services. If you have questions about telemedicine rules or would like to discuss this blog post, you may contact our healthcare and business law firm at (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta), or by email, email@example.com. You may also learn more about our law firm by visiting www.hamillittle.com.
*Disclaimer: Thoughts shared here do not constitute legal advice.