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Florida PT/OT Telehealth

April 15, 2020

Emergency Orders

Telemedicine Guidance for Therapy Services and Early Intervention Services

Medicaid Updates

Florida Medicaid Medicine Guidance for Therapy Services and Early Intervention Services

General Telehealth Law

Applies to PT and OT

Definitions

“Telehealth” means the use of synchronous or asynchronous telecommunications technology by a telehealth provider to provide health care services, including, but not limited to, assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, and monitoring of a patient; transfer of medical data; patient and professional health-related education; public health services; and health administration.

The term does not include audio-only telephone calls, e-mail messages, or facsimile transmissions.

 “Telehealth provider” means any individual who provides health care and related services using telehealth and who is licensed or certified under s. 393.17; part III of chapter 401; chapter 457; chapter 458; chapter 459; chapter 460; chapter 461; chapter 463; chapter 464; chapter 465; chapter 466; chapter 467; part I, part III, part IV, part V, part X, part XIII, or part XIV of chapter 468 (OT); chapter 478; chapter 480; part II or part III of chapter 483; chapter 484; chapter 486 (PT); chapter 490; or chapter 491; who is licensed under a multi-state health care licensure compact of which Florida is a member state.

Applies to both PT and OT

Practice Standards

A telehealth provider has the duty to practice in a manner consistent with his or her scope of practice and the prevailing professional standard of practice for a health care professional who provides in-person health care services to patients in this state.

A telehealth provider may use telehealth to perform a patient evaluation. If a telehealth provider conducts a patient evaluation sufficient to diagnose and treat the patient, the telehealth provider is not required to research a patient’s medical history or conduct a physical examination of the patient before using telehealth to provide health care services to the patient.

A telehealth provider may not use telehealth to prescribe a controlled substance unless the controlled substance is prescribed for the following:

    • The treatment of a psychiatric disorder;
    • Inpatient treatment at a hospital licensed under chapter 395;
    • The treatment of a patient receiving hospice services as defined in s. 400.601; or
    • The treatment of a resident of a nursing home facility as defined in s. 400.021.

A telehealth provider and a patient may be in separate locations when telehealth is used to provide health care services to a patient.

A nonphysician telehealth provider using telehealth and acting within his or her relevant scope of practice, as established by Florida law or rule, is not in violation of s. 458.327(1)(a) or s. 459.013(1)(a).

Medical Records

A telehealth provider shall document in the patient’s medical record the health care services rendered using telehealth according to the same standard as used for in-person services. Medical records, including video, audio, electronic, or other records generated as a result of providing such services, are confidential.

Reference

Fla. Stat. FS 456.47

Registration of Out-of-State Telehealth Providers

A health care professional not licensed in this state may provide health care services to a patient located in this state using telehealth if the health care professional registers with the applicable board, or the department if there is no board, and provides health care services within the applicable scope of practice established by Florida law or rule.

The board, or the department if there is no board, shall register a health care professional not licensed in this state as a telehealth provider if the health care professional:

    • Completes an application in the format prescribed by the department;
    • Is licensed with an active, unencumbered license that is issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a possession or territory of the United States and that is substantially similar to a license issued to a Florida-licensed provider;
    • Has not been the subject of disciplinary action relating to his or her license during the 5-year period immediately prior to the submission of the application;
    • Designates a duly appointed registered agent for service of process in this state on a form prescribed by the department; and
    • Demonstrates to the board, or the department if there is no board, that he or she is in compliance with paragraph (e). The department shall use the National Practitioner Data Bank to verify the information submitted under this paragraph, as applicable.

The website of a telehealth provider registered must prominently display a hyperlink to the department’s website containing information required below.

A health care professional may not register if his or her license to provide health care services is subject to a pending disciplinary investigation or action, or has been revoked in any state or jurisdiction. A health care professional registered under this subsection must notify the appropriate board, or the department if there is no board, of restrictions placed on his or her license to practice, or any disciplinary action taken or pending against him or her, in any state or jurisdiction. The notification must be provided within 5 business days after the restriction is placed or disciplinary action is initiated or taken.

A registered shall maintain professional liability coverage or financial responsibility, that includes coverage or financial responsibility for telehealth services provided to patients not located in the provider’s home state, in an amount equal to or greater than the requirements for a licensed practitioner.

A registered health care professional may not open an office in this state and may not provide in-person health care services to patients located in this state.

Exemption

A health care professional who is not licensed to provide health care services in this state but who holds an active license to provide health care services in another state or jurisdiction, and who provides health care services using telehealth to a patient located in this state, is not subject to the registration requirement under this section if the services are provided:

    • In response to an emergency medical condition as defined in s. 395.002; or
    • In consultation with a health care professional licensed in this state who has ultimate authority over the diagnosis and care of the patient.

Reference

Fla. Stat. FS 456.47

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