MIEC Alert: Underwriting Approval Waived For Telemedicine During COVID-19 Pandemic
In an effort to support our members during this pandemic crisis, effective March 1, 2020, for services provided on or after, until May 1, 2020, MIEC policyholders will not need prior underwriting approval for telehealth or telemedicine. All applicable state and federal laws and regulations will still apply and should be followed. The following guidelines should also be recognized and followed:
- The healthcare provider should be licensed in the state where they physically reside, AND where the patient physically is present. Providers should check with state licensing boards to see if any type of reciprocity is being offered for licensing if they are not currently licensed in a particular state.
- Be aware of your state’s laws and regulations regarding telehealth. In general, new patients should be appropriately evaluated and/or examined before prescribing medications, either through videoconferencing or in-person visits according to the applicable standard of care. Avoid prescribing medications to new patients based solely on a telephone conversation or online questionnaire. With limited exceptions, controlled substances should only be prescribed following a thorough in-person evaluation. If a face to face visit is required to create a physician/patient relationship, that will continue to be required. We are unable to change regulatory requirements. Providers should check with their state to see if any regulations have been relaxed during this pandemic crisis or contact MIEC’s Patient Safety Risk Management team to discuss requirements if there is uncertainty.
- Providers should continue to create and document medical records for telehealth/telemedicine visits for existing and new patients. Patients should provide documented informed consent for telehealth services.
- Please remember to take reasonable steps to protect patient privacy and confidentiality during this time, and particularly when using telehealth technology and/or when communicating electronically with patients. When reasonable, avoid sending Protected Health Information (PHI) via text or unsecured email.