Telemedicine expansion allowed for specific COVID-19 services

On December 3, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a rule that narrowly expands telemedicine across state lines for “COVID-19 countermeasures” during the public health emergency. (1) It is important for physicians to note that this allowance is very specific and does not expand telemedicine across state lines for care that is not a “covered countermeasure.”

Out-of-state professionals must still comply with the laws of the state where they are authorized to administer or order the allowed federal list of “countermeasures.” Also, this expansion is a temporary measure aimed at helping control the pandemic. (1)

“ [A] Covered Countermeasure is a product such as a drug, diagnostic, device or vaccine that is used to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19 or the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (or a virus mutated from SARS-CoV-2) or any serious or life-threatening disease or condition caused by the use of a Covered Countermeasure . . . to qualify as a Covered Countermeasure, the product or technology must be appropriately cleared or approved by the FDA or authorized for emergency use in accordance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.” (2)

In the telehealth context, Covered Countermeasures such as diagnostic tests or vaccines may be ordered by telehealth providers after a virtual encounter with a patient and filled or administered by the patient’s pharmacy or laboratory.” (2)

Please see the HHS website for detailed information.

As always, policyholders should contact the TMLT Underwriting Department to discuss any change to their practice related to telemedicine.

 

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS amends PREP Act declaration, including to expand access to COVID-19 countermeasures via telehealth. December 3, 2020. Available at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/12/03/hhs-amends-prep-act-declaration-including-expand-access-covid-19-countermeasures-telehealth.html . Accessed December 10, 2020.

2. The National Law Review. Waiver of state licensure requirements for the delivery of COVID-19 countermeasures via telehealth. December 8, 2020. Available at  https://www.natlawreview.com/article/waiver-state-licensure-requirements-delivery-covid-19-countermeasures-telehealth . Accessed December 10, 2020.

About the Author

Laura Hale Brockway is the Vice President of Marketing at TMLT. She can be reached at laura-brockway@tmlt.org.

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