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CO Telemedicine

Colorado Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Laws

Colorado Medical Marijuana Program: Telemedicine

In Colorado, telemedicine is defined in terms of either an “originating provider”, defined as a provider where the patient is located, or as a “distant provider”, defined as a provider that is in a different location to the patient — telemedicine does not extend to visits by telephone or fax — and is a means to providing care to Medicaid clients, who live a significant travel distance from the closest healthcare provider, they may need to see. Telemedicine now gives patients the ability to access healthcare physicians and specialists, that otherwise would have been impossible, making telemedicine an ideal solution, for those patients who are unable to travel to, or for those who are too far away from, a provider.

Until recently, Colorado only had a partial parity law for private insurances — enacted 2001 — that extended coverage to rural populations only, however in 2015, Colorado legislation, passed House Bill 1029 removed the geographical restrictions from the parity law. Now, Colorado private payers are required to recognize and reimburse telemedicine services at the same rates as the equivalent health care service provided in-person. Colorado Medicaid has always provided coverage regardless whether a patient is rurally or urbanely located, ensuring all Colorado Medicaid patients are entitled to receive service* — *defined as all services already covered by Colorado Medicaid — through the use of telemedicine. Colorado Medicaid not only reimburses for telemedicine services at the same rates as in-person services, it also reimburses store-and-forward services.

As per the Colorado Medical Board, health care practitioners providing telemedicine services, are required to adhere to the same standard of professional conduct and practice, as health care practitioners of the same practice or specialty, providing services in-person — with the exception of remote prescribing.

Additionally, all health care practitioners providing telemedicine services, are required to first establish a physician-patient relationship with a patient, prior to providing a diagnosis or treatment — however, telemedicine may be used to satisfy this requirement.

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

On January 13, 2016, Colorado introduced legislature that if enacted, would allow the state to join the Interstate Medical Licensing Compact, expediting a pathway to licensure for qualified physicians, wishing to practice telemedicine in multiple states.

Using Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Services Online in Colorado

Qualified medical marijuana patients please be advised that for the purposes of using medical marijuana telemedicine services online, in Colorado:

The State of Colorado requires that, in order for a marijuana doctor to conduct a medical marijuana evaluation, the physician must first conduct a patient examination, in-person.
Although patients may not see a marijuana doctor online for the initial visit, patients may choose to use medical marijuana telemedicine services online for all follow-up visits.

If you are a qualified Colorado medical marijuana patient who has already established a bonafide relationship with a medical marijuana doctor, and want to see a marijuana doctor online and on-demand now, via the medical marijuana telemedicine portal, please click here. Furthermore, state law requires medical marijuana telemedicine doctors, in Colorado, must review the medical history of each patient, in order to certify that patient meets all the states qualifying requirements. And, conduct a yearly physical examination of the patient, in-person.

Useful Resources

Colorado Department of Health Care
Colorado Medicaid 12-36-106 Practice of Medicine
Colorado Medical Board Policy
American Telemedicine Association — Colorado
Center For Connected Health Policy — Colorado
Interstate Medical Licensing Compact — Colorado

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