Alaska Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Over-the-Phone Telemedicine

The Alaska legislature has passed a bill that would allow physicians to diagnose or provide a prescription for patients either online or over the phone, according to a news release from the bill's sponsor.

The bill was designed to improve care access for the state's large number of rural residents, according to its sponsor, Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla). "With 20 percent of our population living in rural areas, it is imperative that access to routine medical care be as quick and economical as possible," she said in the news release.

The bill limits telemedicine to physicians residing in Alaska who would be available to provide follow-up care if needed, and prohibits the prescription of controlled substances unless another qualified provider is present in-person with the patient.

The over-the-phone provision of the bill runs contrary to the Federation of State Medical Boards' recently passed telemedicine policy, which calls for limiting telemedicine to videoconferencing or store-and-forward video technology.

The bill will now go to the governor's desk for signature.

More Articles on Telemedicine:

4 Steps For Building a Sustainable Telehealth Program
Florida Legislative Session Ends Without Advancing Telemedicine Measures
Many Communities Do Not Have Broadband Capabilities to Support Telemedicine, Survey Finds

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