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Out-Of-State Providers Show Interest In Telehealth

Doctor speaks to patient on an online live chat
Nemours Children's Hospital- YouTube
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Florida Board of Medicine has received about 200 email inquiries about the state’s new telehealth law, with about half coming from out-of-state providers, members of a House health-care panel were told this week. 

But Claudia Kemp, staff director of the Board of Medicine, was hesitant to predict how many out-of-state physicians would register this year and begin caring for Florida patients as allowed under a new telehealth law.

“It takes a while for another state’s law to disseminate out to all the other states. I really can’t predict how much interest there is and what kind of flow we might have of volume of applications,” Kemp said when asked about interest.

The question came from Rep. Clay Yarborough, a Jacksonville Republican who sponsored the telehealth measure (HB 23) during the spring legislative session. Yarborough also asked a series of questions about the costs of regulation.

Because Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed another bill (HB 7067), the state’s medical licensing boards cannot charge out-of-state providers any registration costs.

Instead, the costs will be absorbed by existing trust funds, Kemp told Yarborough and other members of the House Health Quality Subcommittee. The balance of the trust funds come from licensing fees that health professionals must pay, as well as fines assessed against providers.

Yarborough inquired about the expected regulatory costs for registrations from out of state, but Kemp said she couldn’t answer the questions because the department hasn’t “started processing any applications.”

The law that passed this spring set up a regulatory framework for telehealth, which involves using the internet and other technology to provide care to patients remotely.