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LA Telemedicine

Louisiana Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Laws

On June 17, 2016, Louisiana’s governor signed HB 570 into law. This bill changed the state’s acceptable forms of telemedicine to allow “interactive audio” in addition to “two-way video technology.” It also stated that telehealth “includes synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and forward transfers.” Patients can make an audio or video call (synchronous interactions) or send data to their doctor (asynchronous store and forward transfers).

Facts About Louisiana Telemedicine

Here are a few facts about Louisiana’s telemedicine offerings:

  • If the doctor doesn’t have to prescribe anything, they do not have to meet with the patient in-person before conducting a telemedicine appointment.
  • The doctor must decide they can provide the same level of care using telemedicine that they would during an in-person visit.
  • A medical provider from out-of-state may provide telemedicine services to a Louisiana patient. They must have the relevant healthcare license from their state and a Louisiana telemedicine license.
  • A doctor who uses telemedicine must establish a physician-patient relationship during an examination to continue providing services. However, they may use telemedicine to do so if the patient has access to the technology to conduct the examination.
  • Louisiana telemedicine law leaves plenty of room for ambiguity, especially in regard to patient records and required equipment.

Benefits of Telemedicine for Medicinal Cannabis Patients

Medical marijuana patients in Louisiana will enjoy the following advantages of telemedicine:

  • Accessibility: Medical marijuana treats a range of conditions that make everyday activities difficult. However, sometimes these ailments interfere with the patient’s ability to travel to a doctor’s office. Telemedicine lets homebound patients get quality care without worrying about travel.
  • Affordability: Telemedicine appointments often have lower out-of-pocket costs for the patient. While most patients consider the price worth it, medical marijuana care means paying for extra appointments and medicine. The lower cost of telemedicine mitigates the other payments involved in the process.
  • Convenience: Getting remote care means that you don’t have to deal with travel and waiting times. Patients who do decide to visit in-person benefit from the time and space freed up by telemedicine services.

Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Appointment in Louisiana?

Louisiana medical cannabis patients have the option to receive ongoing care using telemedicine. The Louisiana Board of Medical allows doctors and patients to have medical marijuana telemedicine appointments if they follow these requirements:

  • The doctor must maintain patient records for each visit with the same quality they would have for an in-person visit. These records must mention that the appointment was conducted using telemedicine.
  • Before issuing a recommendation, the doctor has to have an in-person visit within the preceding year. This rule matches telemedicine laws for prescribing any other controlled substance. Certain doctors with unrestricted in-state licenses don’t have to have the visits. Check with the physician’s office ahead of time before making an appointment.
  • If recurring appointments require special equipment, the patient must have access to a telemedicine-compatible form. Otherwise, they have to visit in-person.

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