While West Virginia does not currently have a telemedicine policy, there is legislature pending, that would regulate the practice — House Bill 4463 and Senate Bill 320, would permit the practice of telemedicine. HB 4463 defines telemedicine as “the practice of medicine using tools such as electronic communication, information technology, store and forward telecommunication, or other means of interaction between a physician in one location and a patient in another location, with or without an intervening healthcare provider.” SB 320 defines telemedicine as, “the use of synchronous video conferencing, remote patient monitoring, and asynchronous health images or other health transmissions supported by mobile devices (m-Health) or other telecommunications technology by a health care provider to deliver health care services at a site other than the site where the provider is located relating to the health care diagnosis or treatment of a patient.”
However, despite the state currently having no enacted legislature on telemedicine, the West Virginia Board of Medicine issued a statement concerning its policy relating to telemedicine on November 03, 2014 requiring all health care practitioners providing telemedicine services to West Virginia residents 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.
At this time, no parity laws have yet been enacted by the state, that would require private payers to recognize and reimburse telemedicine services, at the same rates as the equivalent health care service provided in-person — however, West Virginia Medicaid does provide coverage for live video telemedicine service.
On March 31, 2015, West Virginia passed HB 2496, enacting legislature allowing the state to join the Interstate Medical Licensing Compact, expediting a pathway to licensure for qualified physicians, wishing to practice telemedicine in multiple states.
On April 19, 2017, SB 386 – a bill that legalizes medical marijuana – was signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice. Under SB 386, individuals with qualifying conditions will be able to be certified by registered physicians for medical marijuana recommendations. In July 2019, the Bureau of Health will begin to issue medical marijuana identification cards.
West Virginia regulation requires that all health care practitioners first establish a physician-patient relationship with a patient for at least six months prior to providing a diagnosis or treatment and certifying the patient for a medical marijuana recommendation — however, telemedicine may be used to satisfy this requirement.
All health care practitioners providing telemedicine services, are required to first obtain a patient’s informed consent, prior to commencing service — the method by which, has yet to be defined.
All out-of-state health care practitioners providing telemedicine services to patients geographically situated in West Virginia, are required to first obtain a valid medical license from the West Virginia Board of Medicine, prior to commencing service — however, physician-to-physician (P2P) exemptions apply.
West Virginia is one of sixteen states across the United States, to have an informed consent policy, for telemedicine.