AK Telemedicine

Updated on May 4, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Alaska Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Laws

Alaska Medical Marijuana Program: Telemedicine

In 2020, Alaska expanded telehealth coverage to all covered services of health care insurance plans in the individual and group markets. Services must be provided by a health care provider licensed in Alaska. A prior in-person visit must not be required.

Rules governing telemedicine in Alaska for prescribing medical marijuana are changing. Patients interested in getting a medical marijuana evaluation conducted in the privacy of their own home, or location of their choosing, can access it via a secure real-time, live-video connection here: https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/medical-marijuana-doctors/medical-marijuana-telemedicine-portal/

The state distinguishes between telehealth and telemedicine. The term telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services. Telehealth is a broader term that includes telemedicine, but can also refer to non-clinical services like using technology for preventative, educational, and health-related administrative activities.

In the State of Alaska, there are two types of “telemedicine practice” permitted:

* The Board-sanctioned practice by a doctor who is not physically present with a patient when, either: there is already an established doctor-patient relationship, founded on an in-person physical examination; or a licensed health care provider is physically present with the patient, to assist the physician with their diagnosis process and patient examination; the doctor in question is providing cross-coverage emergency or on-call care, and the physician has access to the patients medical records and history; or the patient being cared for is in a community where there is no physician, nurse practitioner, nurse, or community health aid, to assist the doctor in the patient’s examination; or the physician is either a pathologist or radiologist, only reviewing and interpreting films and test samples. While this type of practice does not require that the physician in question be situated in the State of Alaska, it does, however, require that the doctor practice in accordance with all the state’s practice standards and laws.

* And, under Alaska Statute (AS) 08.64.364, the practice of telemedicine by a physician either prescribing, dispensing, or administering a prescription medication, without initially conducting a thorough medical examination, is permissible if: the prescription drug is NOT a controlled substance; the physician in question is situated in the State of Alaska, or a licensed health care provider is available for follow-up care; or, the doctor in question, sends a copy of the patient’s medical records, to the patient’s primary care physician. Physicians are required to be located in the State of Alaska, in addition to the physician being required to practice in accordance with the state’s practice standards and laws.

In an effort to expand access to care, for many of the state’s rural population, Alaska legislature allows for the prescription of medication to patients, either via the phone or online.

All out-of-state health care practitioners intending to provide telemedicine services, to patients geographically situated in the state of Alaska, must first obtain a valid medical license, from the Alabama Medical Board, prior to commencing service — however, physician-to-physician (P2P) exemptions apply.

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