Arkansas' New Telemedicine Rules a Small Step Forward

25 August 2016 Health Care Law Today Blog
Authors: Nathaniel M. Lacktman Thomas B. Ferrante

The Arkansas Legislative Council’s Rules and Regulations Subcommittee approved, on August 16, 2016, proposed regulations which, if accepted by the Arkansas Legislative Council, will remove some restrictions on telemedicine providers in a state that enjoyed the lowest ranking among all states in the American Telemedicine Association’s most recent report.

Currently, Arkansas Code 17-80-117, enacted in April 2015, and Regulation No. 2(8), require an initial in-person encounter to establish a valid physician-patient relationship. Following the issuance of draft rules last October and the release of proposed amendments in April, the Legislative Subcommittee gave its final approval in August to amend Arkansas’ prior practice standards for telemedicine by revising the text of Regulation No. 2(8)(A) and (B). These amendments allow a doctor to establish a valid relationship with a patient, without the need for an in-person exam, if the doctor “performs a face to face examination using real time audio and visual telemedicine technology that provides information at least equal to such information as would have been obtained by an in-person examination.” The revised regulation will become effective August 26.

A second proposed rule concerning telemedicine known as Regulation No. 38 was also on the agenda of the Subcommittee but ultimately was withdrawn. The new Regulation would establish definitions for “store and forward technology” and “originating site” for a telehealth encounter. Both issues have been hotly contested in recent meetings of the Arkansas State Medical Board due to disagreements over the forwarding of patient medical records as a means to establish a valid physician-patient relationship and whether or not that qualifies as store-and-forward technology. See our prior May and February articles for a deeper look into the evolution of these new telemedicine rules.

While the approval of revised Regulation No. 2(8) clears the way for providers to connect with patients via virtual visits, the absence of Regulation No. 38 forces telemedicine to take place at a medical site such as a hospital or doctor’s office, not a patient’s home (care for end-stage renal disease is exempted). It significantly limits opportunities for patient in-home care. The Medical Board will hold a new public hearing on Regulation 38 in early October.

Telemedicine companies and health care providers providing services in Arkansas should be mindful of these pending developments. We will continue to monitor Arkansas for any changes that affect or improve telemedicine opportunities in the state.

For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, and virtual care innovations, including the team, publications, and other materials, visit Foley’s Telemedicine Practice.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services

Insights

Voting in the Age of COVID-19
26 October 2020
Coronavirus Resource Center:Back to Business
401(k) Fee Lawsuits: What Can a Plan Sponsor Do?
26 October 2020
Labor & Employment Law Perspectives
Department of Defense Formally Implements Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Requirements for Department of Defense Contractors
26 October 2020
Legal News: Government Procurement
FinCEN Takes Action Against Bitcoin Mixer for Violating the Bank Secrecy Act
26 October 2020
Legal News: Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations