Arkansas, last holdout in allowing telemedicine, finally approves video visits

A legislative council in Arkansas has approved a proposed amendment to regulation permitting physicians to treat patients via telemedicine, reports the Arkansas News Bureau. Until now, Arkansas was the only state that did not allow physicians to establish a relationship with patients remotely.

The Legislative Council's Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee approved the amendment to the regulation Tuesday, which had previously been struck down by Arkansas House and Senate committees on public health, welfare and labor, according to the report. Arkansas State Medical Board introduced the regulation and voted in June to approve it.

The newly approved amendment changes minimum standards required to establish physician-patient relationships, which includes the following: "The physician performs a face to face examination using real time audio and visual telemedicine technology that provides information at least equal to such information as would have been obtained by an in-person examination."

However, the state medical board withdrew another regulation it previously submitted indicating a patient completing a medical history online and forwarding it to a physician does not sufficiently establish a relationship. It also says this type of interaction does not qualify as "store and forward" technology, which is permitted by law.

There will be a public hearing on the latter regulation this fall.

More articiles on telemedicine:

Telemedicine provider joins NY HIE 
HealthTap launches group teleconferences, 21-language translators 
Grant helps University Health System expand telehealth offerings to rural patients 

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