Florida Telehealth Practice Bill Passes

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Monday, May 20, 2019

The Florida Legislature has passed House Bill 23 (HB 23), a bill governing the use of telehealth technology. You can review the text and history of the bill in full here. It has passed both the House and Senate, and from here heads to the governor’s desk for signature. A competing telehealth bill, HB 947 (which we previously covered here), died in the Health Quality Sub-Committee.
HB 23, as amended, would bolster Florida’s current telemedicine regime by providing a number of definitions and practice standards. It would make the standard of care for telehealth the same as if the patient was seen in person. The provider may perform an evaluation and render a diagnosis entirely through telecommunication if the evaluation would have been sufficient face to face. However, telehealth providers will be limited in their ability to prescribe controlled substances remotely. Under HB 23, they would only be able to prescribe controlled substances for:
HB 23 would allow non-physicians to provide services via telecommunication that are within their scope of practice. It also would provide for the registration of out-of-state providers, which would allow doctors and other health professionals in other states to see patients in Florida. This is a departure from most other state telehealth rules—usually, states deem the practice of medicine to occur at the location of the patient, so an out-of-state physician would be practicing medicine without a license if he or she saw a patient in Florida.
The general national trend in telehealth and telemedicine has been to treat it as a tool for the traditional delivery of health services, where the services are held to the same standards whether they are seen in person or through a telecommunication system. HB 23 is in line with that trend, but also is more liberal with regard to who may provide services through this technology. As HB 23 is headed to the governor’s desk, it will in all likelihood become law soon.