To date, Maine has not enacted any legislature that would define a telehealth/telemedicine policy — however, effective June 2014, the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, enacted new guidelines and protocols for governing the use of technology to deliver health care, and the practice of telehealth/telemedicine.
Maine’s legislature enacted parity laws, in 2009, requiring Maine Medicaid, state health employee plans, and private payers alike, to recognize and reimburse telemedicine services, at the same rates as the equivalent health care service provided in-person.
Physicians interested in providing telehealth/telemedicine services to patients in Maine, are required to obtain a Maine medical license, prior to commencing services. Regardless whether a service is an in-person encounter or conducted via telemedicine, the physician is expected to adhere to the same set of standards of practice for physician interaction, recommendations, prescription, and treatment. At this time, an in-person examination is NOT required prior to commencing telehealth/telemedicine service — a valid physician-patient relationship may be established by means of telemedicine. Remote prescribing, via telemedicine, may be used without the need for an in-person examination, however the prescribing of controlled substances is strictly prohibited.
At this time, Maine’s requirements regarding informed patient consent, are more stringent and complex, than other states, requiring that an informed consent include identification for both the patient and the physician; limits the types of telemedicine interactions/transmissions to include appointment scheduling, diagnosis, education, prescriptions and refills; enforces the use security measures, including the protection of passwords, encryption, and notification of potential privacy risks; acknowledges the possibility of technical failure and potential loss of information; and contains information pertaining to the emergency care and after-hour contacts.
Maine is currently one of five states — including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York — that does not require an in-person physical examination, to establish a bonafide patient-physician relationship. Instead, healthcare providers may not only establish patient relationships through telemedicine, but they may also prescribe non-controlled substances — the prescription of “dangerous drugs or devices” via telemedicine, may only be permitted if, an in-person examination is conducted first.
Maine is one of sixteen states across the United States, to have an informed consent policy, for telemedicine.
For the first time in history, qualified medical marijuana patients may now choose to see a marijuana doctor online, using medical marijuana telemedicine services for the purposes of obtaining a Maine medical marijuana evaluation.
If you are a qualified medical marijuana patient, living in Maine, you can now choose to: