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Florida Board of Medicine finalizes Standards for Telemedicine Practice

March 25, 2014

Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine have been discussing changes to the telemedicine rule in the past several meetings of the Joint Telemedicine Subcommittee. During the meeting on November 14, 2013, the Subcommittee finalized the proposed rule language which was ratified at the Board of Medicine meeting on December 6th, 2013. The approved draft language was filed for adoption on February 20th, 2014 and became effective on March 12th, 2014. Below is the full text of Rule 64B8-9.0141, F.A.C.:

 

64B8-9.0141 Standards for Telemedicine Practice.

 

(1) "Telemedicine" means the practice of medicine by a licensed Florida physician or physician assistant where patient care, treatment or services are provided through the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications. Telemedicine shall not include the provision of health care services only through an audio only telephone, email messages, text messages, facsimile transmission, U.S. Mail or other parcel service, or any combination thereof.

 

(2) The standard of care, as defined in s. 456.50(1)(e), F.S., shall remain the same regardless of whether a Florida licensed physician or physician assistant provides health care services in person or by telemedicine.

 

(3) Florida licensed physicians and physician assistants providing health care services by telemedicine are responsible for the quality of the equipment and technology employed and are responsible for their safe use. Telemedicine equipment and technology must be able to provide, at a minimum, the same information to the physician and physician assistant which will enable them to meet or exceed the prevailing standard of care for the practice of medicine.

 

(4) Controlled substances shall not be prescribed through the use of telemedicine.

 

(5) The practice of medicine by telemedicine does not alter any obligation of the physician or the physician assistant regarding patient confidentiality or recordkeeping.

 

(6) A physician-patient relationship may be established through telemedicine.

 

(7) (a) Nothing contained in this rule shall prohibit consultations between physicians or the transmission and review of digital images, pathology specimens, test results, or other medical data by physicians or other qualified providers related to the care of Florida patients.

 

(b) This rule does not apply to emergency medical services provided by emergency physicians, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and emergency dispatchers. Emergency medical services are those activities or services to prevent or treat a sudden critical illness or injury and to provide emergency medical care and prehospital emergency medical transportation to sick, injured, or otherwise incapacitated persons in this state.

 

(c) The provisions of this rule shall not apply where a physician or physician assistant is treating a patient with an emergency medical condition that requires immediate medical care. An emergency medical condition is a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that the absence of immediate medical attention will result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part.

 

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