The advent of technology has opened many doors to medical practitioners interested in growing their practices and reaching a larger number of patients. Michigan legislators have attempted to regulate this growing section of “telehealth” (video consultations) by signing SB 753 into law.
This bill will take effect on March 21, 2017 and attempts to balance the advantages of telehealth (i.e. shorter wait times, more access to healthcare for patients, less expensive) with concerns over patient privacy and quality of care.
SB 753 requires that patients consent to services being provided through telehealth, but provides some flexibility in how that consent is given. In addition, a health professional providing telehealth services can prescribe the patient a drug if the health professional is a prescriber and the drug is not a controlled substance. Despite the lack of physical closeness, insurance companies will still have to pay out for treatments as per particular policies. The insurer-insuree pay structure has not been addressed within SB 753, and it is unlikely that it will drastically change.
Overall, this bill has aimed to regulate, rather than to dismiss this treatment method. It may be in a practitioner’s interest to explore this new area of treatment and grow their business reach while providing the care and compassion that is so integral to the healthcare profession.
This article was written by Nezar Habhab, Law Clerk.