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State Senate signs off on telehealth prescription proposal

telehealth .
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The Florida Channel
Doctors currently are prohibited from prescribing controlled substances when using telehealth, except in the treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders, inpatients at hospitals and patients in hospice care or nursing home facilities.

The bill in part would permit physicians to use telemedicine when issuing a renewal of certain drugs that are classified as controlled substances, including ketamine, anabolic steroids and codeine.

The Florida Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a measure that would expand doctors’ ability to prescribe certain controlled substances when treating patients through telehealth.

Doctors currently are prohibited from prescribing controlled substances when using telehealth, except in the treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders, inpatients at hospitals and patients in hospice care or nursing home facilities.

The proposal (SB 312) in part would permit physicians to use telemedicine when issuing a renewal of certain prescription drugs that are classified as controlled substances, including ketamine, anabolic steroids and codeine.

Under federal law, doctors are required to have at least one in-person meeting with a patient before writing a prescription for certain controlled substances.

The Senate measure, sponsored by Hialeah Republican Manny Diaz, also would remove a part of a definition of telehealth in state law that excludes audio-only telephone calls.

The proposed change “does not impose a direct impact on Florida Medicaid but would allow Medicaid to elect to reimburse for audio-only telephone calls,” a Senate staff analysis of the bill said.

A similar House bill (HB 17) breezed through two committee hearings with unanimous approval and is awaiting a full floor vote. The House bill does not include the provision dealing with audio-only telehealth consultations.