Florida Gastroenterological Society
Florida Gastroenterological Society

2019 Telehealth Bill

In 2019, Florida passed the Telehealth Bill which establishes standards of practice for telehealth services, including patient evaluations, record-keeping, and controlled substances prescribing. The bill also authorizes out-of-state health care practitioners to perform telehealth services for patients in Florida upon meeting certain eligibility requirements and registering with the department.

The Florida Department of Health has created a website that allows interested parties to sign up for updates and register to become an out-of-state telehealth provider. More information, please visit: flhealthsource.gov/telehealth

Standards of Practice
Telehealth providers must practice in a manner consistent with his or her scope of practice and the prevailing professional standard of practice for a health care professional who provides in-person health care services to patients in Florida. The applicable board, or department if there is no board, may adopt rules related to telehealth that further clarify practice standards.

Patient Evaluations
If a telehealth provider conducts a patient evaluation sufficient to diagnose and treat the patient, the telehealth provider is not required to research a patient’s medical history or conduct a physical examination before using telehealth to provide health care services.

Patient Medical Records
Telehealth providers must use the same standard of maintaining patient medical records as used for in-person services. They must also keep medical records confidential, as required in ss. 395.3025(4), F.S.

Controlled Substances Prescribing
A telehealth provider may only use telehealth to prescribe a controlled substance for the following:

  • the treatment of a psychiatric disorder;
  • inpatient treatment at a hospital licensed under Ch. 395, F.S.;
  • the treatment of a patient receiving hospice services as defined in s. 400.601, F.S.; or
  • the treatment of a nursing home resident as defined in s. 400.021, F.S.

Out-of-State Telehealth Provider Registration Requirements
Health care practitioners with an out-of-state license or certification that falls under section 456.47(1)(b), F.S, qualify for an out-of-state telehealth provider registration number when they meet the following requirements:

  • Submit the completed Application for Out-of-State Telehealth Provider Registration;
  • Maintain an active, unencumbered license from another state, the District of Columbia, or a possession or territory of the United States;
  • Not have a pending investigation, discipline, or revocation on your license within the last five years;
  • Designate a duly appointed registered agent for service of process in Florida;
  • Maintain liability coverage or financial responsibility for telehealth services provided to patients in Florida in an amount equal to or greater than Florida health care practitioner requirements;
  • Not open a Florida office or provide in-person health care services to Florida patients;
  • Only use a Florida-licensed pharmacy, registered nonresident pharmacy, or outsourcing facility to dispense medicinal drugs to patients in Florida (pharmacists only)

FAQs

What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of synchronous or asynchronous telecommunications technology by a telehealth provider to provide health care services, including, but not limited to, the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, and monitoring of a patient; transfer of medical data; patient and professional health-related education; public health services; and health administration. Telehealth does not include audio-only telephone calls, e-mail messages, or fax transmissions.

What is a telehealth provider?
Telehealth provider is defined as an individual who provides a health care service using telehealth and who is licensed under s. 393.17; part III of chapter 401; chapter 457; chapter 458; chapter 459; chapter 460; chapter 461; chapter 463; chapter 464; chapter 465; chapter 466; chapter 467; part I, part III, part IV, part V, part X, part XIII, or part XIV of chapter 468; chapter 478; chapter 480; part II or part III of chapter 483; chapter 484; chapter 486; chapter 490; or chapter 491; who is licensed under a multi-state health care licensure compact of which Florida is a member state; or who is registered under and complies with s. 456.47(4), Florida Statutes. 

What information about out-of-state telehealth providers is published by the Florida Department of Health?
The Florida Department of Health is required to maintain a public list of all registered out-of-state telehealth providers, which includes the following information:

  • Name
  • Health care occupation
  • Completed health care training and education, including completion dates and any certificates or degrees obtained
  • Out-of-state health care license, including license number
  • Florida telehealth provider registration number
  • Specialty
  • Board certification
  • Five-year disciplinary history, including sanctions and board actions
  • Medical malpractice insurance provider and policy limits
  • Name and address of the registered agent designated for service of process in this state

Are there any exemptions from registering as an out-of-state telehealth provider?
There are two exemptions that allow an out-of-state licensee to perform telehealth for Florida patients without registering:

  • In response to an emergency medical condition, which is defined in s. 395.002, F.S.
  • In consultation with a health care professional licensed in this state who has ultimate authority over the diagnosis and care of the patient

Can Florida health care practitioners register as an out-of-state telehealth provider?
Telehealth provider registration only applies to health care practitioners who are licensed in another state, the District of Columbia, or a possession or territory of the United States. Florida licensees can already provide telehealth services to patients in Florida that they can treat in person. If a Florida licensee would like to provide telehealth services to a patient outside of Florida, they must review the laws and rules in the location of the patient.

Information provided by Florida Department of Health 

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