Move over, Texas. Mississippi officials are considering legislation that would restrict how telemedicine is used in the state, too.
The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure has ordered an economic impact statement on a proposed bill that would mandate secure videoconferencing in instances where medication is prescribed during a telemedicine encounter. In addition, the bill would require companies in the state to establish a formal agreement with a state-based healthcare provider – such as the University of Mississippi Medical Center, whose Jackson-based health system serves a network of some 165 sites across the state.
Among the proposed bill's critics is Teladoc, the Texas-based telemedicine provider whose platform is skewed toward telephone-based consults. According to MississippiWatchdog.org, the company said the bill's requirement for an in-state healthcare partnership would be "unreasonably limiting" physicians using telemedicine and companies from other states.
Teladoc also charged that the videoconferencing requirement in the bill is "not necessary to maintain the standard of care, will limit patient access, will increase patient cost, is out of step with policies that work well in other states and, finally, does not give sufficient credence to the professional judgment of highly trained, licensed physicians to determine whether video conferencing (or an in-person consultation) is appropriate and necessary."
Teladoc's comments strongly mirror the arguments it has with Texas, whose state medical board is seeking to amend telemedicine rules to require a face-to-face visit before a physician to make certain diagnoses or issue a prescription to a first-time patient. The company filed suit against the board over that ruling, which was put on hold by a state judge until a trial can be held.