Our healthcare and business law firm frequently receives questions asking about telemedicine rules in Georgia. This post intends to outline some relevant Georgia rules and regulations relating to telemedicine. Our next post will consider the rules around prescribing based on a telemedicine consult and how COVID-19’s Public Health Emergency impacts those rules. If you have questions about telemedicine rules and regulations 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.
General Telemedicine Rules and Definitions
The Georgia Composite Medical Board (“Medical Board”) generally requires an in-person exam, but the Medical Board Rules allow telemedicine in certain situations. To begin, the relevant definition of “telemedicine” is found in Georgia’s insurance code and defines “telemedicine” as:
[A] form of telehealth which is the delivery of clinical health care services by means of real time two-way audio, visual, or other telecommunications or electronic communications, including the application of secure video conferencing or store and forward transfer technology to provide or support health care delivery, which facilitate the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care by a health care provider practicing within his or her scope of practice as would be practiced in-person with a patient, and legally allowed to practice in this state, while such patient is at an originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site.
O.C.G.A.§ 33-24-56.4; see O.C.G.A.§ 43-34-31.1 (citing the applicable definition of telemedicine as that within the insurance code).
Under Medical Board Rule 360-3-.07(a), telemedicine is authorized if:
“(3) A Georgia licensed physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse either:
(a) Has personally seen and examined the patient and provides ongoing or intermittent care by electronic or other such means; or
(b) Is providing medical care by electronic or other such means at the request of a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse licensed in Georgia who has personally seen and examined the patient; or
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(d) Is able to examine the patient using technology or peripherals that are equal or superior to an examination done personally by a provider within that provider’s standard of care.”
Unprofessional Conduct Related to Telemedicine
Rule 360-3-.02 lays out what the Board may consider “Unprofessional Conduct.” The rule defines Unprofessional Conduct to include subsection (6): “Providing treatment via electronic or other means unless a history and physical examination of the patient has been performed by a Georgia licensee.” This requirement may be met by following telemedicine Rule 360-3-.07(a)(2)’s requirement that: “A history of the patient shall be available to the Georgia licensed physician, [PA], or [APRN] who is providing treatment or consultation via electronic or other such means.”
O.C.G.A. § 43-34-31 governs telemedicine by a provider outside of Georgia and explains that such practice is practicing medicine in Georgia (which requires a Georgia license), but O.C.G.A. § 43-34-31.1 allows for telemedicine licenses in certain circumstances.
If you have questions about telemedicine rules and how they impact your practice 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.
*Disclaimer: Thoughts shared here do not constitute legal advice.