Battle Over Telemedicine Bill Heats Up in Florida

Several bills currently being considered by Congress, including the Telehealth Enhancement Act and the Telehealth Modernization Act, seek to increase the use of telemedicine across the country.

Many states have passed or are considering complimentary legislation that would remove regulatory or financial barriers to telemedicine use.

In Florida, telemedicine legislation, including a House bill (HB 751) and a Senate version (SB 7028), continues to be debated in both chambers. While most legislators share a desire to expand the use of telemedicine throughout the state, disagreements have arisen over what situations telemedicine use is appropriate and whether out-of-state physicians should be able to treat Florida residents remotely.

The Florida Medical Association, while being a proponent of telemedicine, is opposed to allowing physicians licensed elsewhere to treat Florida patients remotely. The FMA recently released a survey to support its position, as the survey's results show 70 percent of Florida residents also oppose telemedicine treatment from out-of-state physicians.

"Florida patients are strongly opposed, as is the FMA, to allowing out-of-state physicians and practitioners who are not licensed in Florida to not only practice telemedicine, but to prescribe drugs and controlled substances over the Internet," Timothy Stapleton, FMA executive vice president, said in a news release. "The FMA supports the use of telemedicine and will work tirelessly to ensure that high standards, protections against fraud and patient privacy are addressed in any legislation."

Both bills are still in committee, and a vote has not been scheduled.

More Articles on Telemedicine:

BCBS Offers $1.3M in Grants to Telemedicine Projects
Alliance for Connected Care to Focus on Removing Barriers to Telehealth
10 Hospitals That Recently Received Grants to Expand Telemedicine

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