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Telemedicine and matters of discipline in Minnesota, P.1

We’ve been speaking in recent posts about the growth of telemedicine practice and the issue of reimbursement, which serves as a barrier to the growth of telemedicine. As we noted, more and more states are addressing the issue of interstate licensing, which will help with the growth of telemedicine practice.

Here, we wanted to look briefly at what Minnesota state law has to say about the practice or telemedicine. First of all, telemedicine is defined under state law as the practice of medicine when the physician is not in the physical presence of the patient. This includes advertising, prescribing drugs, diagnosing conditions, using hypnosis, and representing oneself out as a doctor or physician.

A physician does not actually need to be licensed in Minnesota to practice telemedicine in this state. There are a number of requirements which must be met for registration, though. Four basic requirements must be met for an out-of-state physician to register for the practice of telemedicine in Minnesota: (1) there must be no restrictions on the physician’s home state license; (2) the physician must not have had a license revoked or restricted in any other state; (3) the physician must not open an office, meet with patients, or receive patient calls in the state of Minnesota; and (4) the physician must meet annual registration requirements.

A physician may be exempted from the annual registration requirement if he or she holds a valid license in another state and only provide telemedicine services on an emergency basis, infrequently or irregularly, or provides services in subordinate consultation with a physician licensed in the state of Minnesota.

We’ll continue this discussion in our next post, looking particularly at discipline of physicians offering telemedicine services in the state of Minnesota.  

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