The “Act Relating to Telemedicine,” Senate Bill 5175, was passed by the Washington Senate, on February 11, 2015 — and by the House, on April 08, 2015 — and, defines telemedicine as “the delivery of healthcare services through the use of interactive audio and video technology, permitting real-time communication between the patient at the originating site and the provider, for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, or treatment” — telemedicine does not include the use of audio-only telephone, facsimile, or email.
The enacted legislature also established parity laws, requiring Washington Medicaid, state employee health plans, and private payers alike, to recognize and reimburse telemedicine services, at the same rates as the equivalent service performed in-person. Effective January 01, 2017, all insurers will be required to provide coverage for live video, and store-and-forward technology — currently, Medicaid is only required to provide coverage, for live video services.
On January 13, 2016, Washington introduced potential legislation that 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.
Washington regulations require that all telemedicine services adhere to the same standard of professional conduct and practice, as per the Washington Medical Board, as healthcare practitioners of the same practice or specialty, providing services in-person — with the exception of prescription.
All health care practitioners are required to establish a bonafide physician-patient relationship with a patient, prior to providing a diagnosis or treatment — however, telemedicine may be used to satisfy this requirement. Telemedicine may also be used in lieu of an in-person examination.
All out-of-state health care practitioners intending to provide telemedicine services, to patients geographically situated in the state of Washington, must first obtain a valid medical license, from the Washington Medical Board, prior to commencing service — however, physician-to-physician (P2P) exemptions apply.
All health care practitioners providing telemedicine services, are required to first document and record a patient’s informed consent, prior to commencing service.
Washington is one of sixteen states across the United States, to have an informed consent policy, for telemedicine.
Qualified medical marijuana patients please be advised that for the purposes of using medical marijuana telemedicine services online, in Washington:
If you are a qualified Washington 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.
You may become a provider of medical marijuana telemedicine services online in Washington if you have are a:
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