Telemedicine regulations in Mississippi could be changed to allow the use of a new technology.
The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure’s Rules, Regulation and Legislative Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to change the board’s rules on telemedicine.
The modified regulations govern the use of store and forward technology, by which a patient sends data such as a picture or text to a healthcare provider through a secure email. The provider can then diagnose the issue and provide a treatment plan. The regulations say this technology can’t replace a real-time telemedicine visit.
The updated regulations also require a video meeting, except when in the cases of when it is technologically unavailable or in the case of a patient discussing a store and forward transfer with the provider.
Dr. Charles Miles told the committee that one of the reasons for the change was to prevent telemedicine providers from sending a questionnaire to a patient and claiming it was a visit.
Dr. Miles said that there was a case of a San Diego, California-based physician with a Mississippi license practicing telemedicine through his physician’s assistant, also licensed in Mississippi.
The updated regulation approved by the committee would require the assistant’s supervising physician to practice at least 80 hours in the state. Previously, only a license to practice in the state was required.
The committee also unanimously approved a small change to the regulations governing the collaborative role between a collaborating physician and an independent nurse practitioner that allows them to meet via videoconference quarterly rather than face to face.
Nurse practitioners are no longer tethered to their collaborative physician, who reviews some of their charts for a fee, but a bill that would’ve allowed them to practice independently died in last year’s legislative session.
Also approved was a rule change governing physicians who practice pain management. Previously those who faced board punishment for prescription violations were automatically disallowed the ability to run a pain management practice. Now, unless the board or another state medical licensure board specifically disallows them from practicing pain management, they can return to their practice provided they comply with any board sanctions.
The new regulatory language will need to be approved by the entire board at its meeting on November 14.