AMA del­e­gates to con­sider telemedicine stan­dards as Texas rules are chal­lenged

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Steven Ross John­son

The Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion’s pol­i­cy­mak­ing body will de­bate this week in Chicago the hot-but­ton is­sue of clin­i­cal stan­dards for doc­tors who pro­vide telemedicine ser­vices.

At the an­nual con­fer­ence, which runs June 6-10, the 538 del­e­gates are ex­pected to vote on rec­om­men­da­tions from the AMA Coun­cil on Eth­i­cal and Ju­di­cial Af­fairs that ad­dress how doc­tors who con­duct vir­tual vis­its by phone or video con­fer­enc­ing should en­sure pa­tient pri­vacy, as well as physi­cians’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate pa­tients on the lim­i­ta­tions of telemedicine ser­vices. The rec­om­men­da­tions call on telemedicine physi­cians to ad­vise pa­tients on how to ar­range fol­low-up care, as well as to en­cour­age them to let their regular pri­mary-care physi­cians know about all telemedicine ser­vices they have re­ceived.

The dis­cus­sion comes in the wake of telemedicine provider Te­ladoc win­ning a court in­junc­tion to block Texas Med­i­cal Board rules, sup­ported by the Texas Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, to re­quire doc­tors to have an in-per­son visit with a pa­tient be­fore be­ing al­lowed to con­duct a telemedicine visit, with cer­tain ex­cep­tions. Crit­ics say the med­i­cal board rules were in­tended to limit com­pe­ti­tion from telemedicine providers, while sup­port­ers say they would pro­tect qual­ity of care.

The del­e­gates also will con­sider a res­o­lu­tion call­ing for stricter state lim­its on non-med­i­cal ex­emp­tions for child vac­ci­na­tions.

Dr. An­drew Gur­man, a hand sur­geon from Al­toona, Pa., is run­ning un­op­posed for AMA pres­i­dent-elect, and Dr. Su­san Bai­ley, an al­ler­gist from Fort Worth, Texas, is run­ning un­op­posed for Speaker of the House of Del­e­gates.


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