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    Legalities of telemedicine

     

    The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

    To facilitate telemedicine nationally, the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) has been created by about 20 states to make it easier for doctors to communicate using telemedicine and to be licensed across state lines. “This represents a strong signal that the trend is moving in the direction of allowing this type of consultation,” Thiersch says.

    The trend also encompasses medspas being able to schedule initial consultations at a main site. “This will allow doctors and, potentially, nurse practitioners or physician assistants to be more available to a higher volume of patients,” Thiersch observes. “Thus, if you have multiple facilities, you do not need to have a doctor traveling to each location to see new patients. They can simply be in one facility, on a computer, examining patients.”

    Furthermore, telemedicine could permit physicians to better serve out-of-state communities that are rural or underserved. “However, physicians eligible for a Compact license must possess a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in their primary Compact state,” Thiersch states. “Also, doctors cannot have been disciplined by any state medical board.”

    The public also benefits because states are more easily able to share investigative and disciplinary information.

    Thiersch advises medspa practices to move cautiously and to check with a qualified local healthcare attorney to ensure that they are abiding by state telemedicine laws. “Typically, it is the state medical board that determines policy, but these laws can vary immensely from state to state,” he says. 

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