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New Report Cites Loosening of Some Prohibitions in Telehealth Industry

American Fork, Utah, United States, June 11 2020 Published via (Wiredrelease) — Healthcare lawyers are scrambling to keep up with the latest legal implications of the current pandemic. They are being inundated by their clients with a huge variety of questions concerning the consequences of the new coronavirus, and have raised many intriguing questions amongst themselves about the changing face of regulations and laws governing the medical response on the city, county, state, and federal level. In general, there has been a loosening of some prohibitions and restrictions in the telehealth field, given the current orders for everyone not critically ill or injured to stay home and avoid visits to their clinic or hospital in person.

Let’s take a look at some of these questions, and responses from legal experts in the field.

Are there other limitations on telehealth that healthcare providers should still be worried about?

“Although the federal waivers help, providers must still comply with state laws that may restrict telehealth, including those that may require an existing physician/patient relationship, provider licensure in the state, limit telehealth prescriptions, or require specific consents,” said Kim Stanger, a heathcare partner with Holland & Hart in Idaho. “Some states have suspended those state regulations pending the emergency. For example, Idaho suspended enforcement of its telehealth restrictions and encouraged providers to engage in telehealth. He added “We are going through extraordinary circumstances; it is not clear whether the applicable standard of care would be lowered for telehealth encounters. Providers should assume that the same standard of care that would apply to an in-person visit would apply to a telehealth encounter.”

Are hospitals obligated to provide COVID 19 screening to emergency room patients?

Most legal experts give a qualified ‘no’ to this question.

The attending physician in the emergency room is ultimately responsible for whether or not a patient receives the test. In other words, the law right now is that if the attending physician deems it necessary to test, then a test should be done; but if the doctor or other healthcare giver believes the patient is in no danger of having the virus or of spreading it to others then no testing needs to be done. It should be added that detailed documentation of each emergency room admittance should be kept in case there are questions or investigations from the in-hospital attorney or an outside legal challenge.

It should be noted that all elective procedures for both medical and dental patients should be postponed until the state government gives the all clear, at the recommendation of professional medical associations. 

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Last Updated: 11-Jun-2020